I learned to drink from my grandfather. I watched the class and panache with which he drank and understood that he enjoyed it, deserved it and its what men of his era did. And the bottle he reached for was always one containing gin, a spirit that I have since had a tremendous soft spot for in my heart.
As I walked through the aisles of the Kosher Food and Wine Experience a few weeks ago I came across a booth run by Distillery No. 209, a San Francisco based company that makes a kosher for Passover gin distilled from sugarcane. Aside from my predisposition to like gin what really caused their booth to catch my attention was that they had distilled down the different flavors contained in their gin into essences. By inhaling those essences anyone sampling their gin could better understand the subtle nuances of what they were tasting. This behavior is very representative of Distillery No. 209’s attitude about their product. They understand that many in my generation have turned to scotch and vodka after finding gin to be too medicinal tasting, so they help customers to understand that not only can gin be every bit as flavorful and complex as scotch or as versatile as vodka, in many instances it can even be even better than both.
Distillery No. 209 has a very rich juniper scent that hints at a bit of sweetness. The flavor begins sweet on the tongue building with juniper flavor but then is reined in by strong citrus and spice with just a bit of bay leaf. The sweetness and citrus make the No. 209 gin a prime spirit for traditional cocktails like a Tom Collins, a Gimlet or even James Bond’s signature Vesper. Distillery No. 209 also has a list of cocktails created by friends of the distillery that pair well with their brand of gin.
My favorite way to drink this gin is on the rocks with a twist of lemon, but I also experimented with cocktails and offer the following recipe.