November 14th, 2009

cap, captain miss america

American Gins: Two Gins, Two Cocktails

Over the past two weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of tasting two very distinctive American gins, both from Massachusetts.

The first one is Greylock, from Berkshire Mountain Distillers in Great Barrington.

If you’re not a big fan of gins, or if you’re a connoisseur looking for something new, I would highly recommend Greylock: it has a delicate floral flavor that is a touch sweeter than the average gin and light on the juniper.

The second is Gale Force, distilled by Triple 8 of Nantucket, who also make Hurricane, one of my favorite rums.

Gale Force has a much more potent flavor than Greylock– heavy on the juniper, peppery, with a bit of a burn to the finish. I don’t want the “burn” bit to scare you away, because unlike a lot of “burny” liquors, this one still goes down smooth!

The challenge with these two gins was to create drinks that would compliment their very unique flavors. Here’s how I did it:

Grey Fog


For 2 cocktails:
6 oz Greylock gin
1 oz Black Duck Cranberry liqueur
1 small Seckel pear (Seckel pears are tarter than other varieties)
Scant 1/4 cup whole sage leaves

Chill two martini glasses.
Reserve 2 slices pear and 2 large sage leaves.
Dice remaining pear very small, add to shaker.
Rub sage between hands to crush, add to shaker.
Add Black Duck
Muddle contents with wooden spoon.
Add gin, shake.
Strain into glasses, add pear slices and sage leaves for garnish.

(In this case, the sage flavor balances the sweetness– Greylock in a sweeter cocktail might be overpowering, but with something very savory to balance it, you can concentrate on the floral flavors)

Port in a Storm


For 2 cocktails:
6 oz Gale Force Gin
1 oz Amontillado Sherry
6 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
1 generous tablespoon fruit jam (I used red current & rosemary)

Chill two martini glasses
Add gin, sherry, bitters, stir
Add jam and stir
Shake briefly
Strain into glasses

(in this one, the Amontillado cuts the “burn” at the back end of the drink. The Peychauds’, which has a nutty, sarsaparilla flavor, and the fruit jam complement the peppery flavor of Gale Force, giving it the same kind of balance you’ll get in a “hot & jammy” Red Zinfandel or Pinot Noir.

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