springtime has finally come and my thoughts naturally
turn to Gin and the coming spirits of summer. What were you
expecting? At my age sex comes in a strong second right behind
booze and money and no I haven't forgotten how to count to
two, there are just many more manic numbers contained in my
ever increasing madness. In my world Gin is a summer drink
best enjoyed in deep shade on a hot sunny day either pool
side or ocean side but definitely includes some sort of massive
body of water and a woman in a bikini without a massive body
and that's all I'll say about that before I get in trouble.
gotta love the French and the Italians; they have such a way
with the humble little grape. If they weren't the first to
coax all sorts of flavor and alcohol out of this fruiting
berry then they just might have been the best to ever do it
(yes I've heard of a place called Napa). I believe today's
offerings just might show off that skill set.
me start by making a rather profound if not offensive statement;
Gin actually starts out as vodka and then is flavored with
all sorts of botanicals in order to turn it into Gin. In the
first place you have to take any fermentable plant product
such as grain or in the case of G'vine, grapes
and distill it to produce neutral spirits which of course
describes vodka to a "T".
you add juniper and all sorts of other botanicals in one way,
shape form or another, to give it that unique gin like flavor.
Depending on how you go about all this science and magic,
it produces one of 4 different styles of gin; Juniper-flavored
spirit drinks, Gin, Distilled Gin and London Gin. And you
thought Gin was just Gin, HA!
prove my point, G'vine gin is made in France
using 10 botanicals; the rare vine flower, juniper berries
of course, nutmeg, licorice, ginger roots, cubeb berries,
lime, coriander, cassia bark and green cardamom.
Amaro Siciliano Liqueur (that's a mouthful even of
itself) is a liqueur made from a secret recipe dating back
to 1866 and I'm willing to bet you probably has just as many
ingredients as G'vine gin if not more. After all, even KFC
has 11 secret herbs and spices.
so let's get down to the tasting as all this information and
mis-information has made me very curious and very thirsty.
the G'vine gin, it comes in a plain transparent
bottle with green and black accents and has a rather classic
look. The nose of this straight up gin has an overall menthol
aroma highlighted by the juniper and quickly followed by the
licorice, the coriander and the lime. If I had a chest cold
I would rub this stuff all over my chest. This nose is very
strong and very spicy smelling and quite sharp. You can almost
detect all the essential oils combining into one robust aroma.
The palate is oily and sharp highlighted by the flavors of
licorice and juniper and quite complex overall. The finish
is piquant but not spicy and overall smooth and lasts quite
a while leaving a tingling sensation.
is really quite a lot of flavor going on here that is very
strong and could easily accommodate any type of mix. It is
almost too flavorful to sip straight up.
the rocks everything settles down and plays nicely together
with all the flavors mingling and complimenting each other.
Also, it is not quite as sharp and the menthol effect has
subsided. It leaves a pleasant astringent aftertaste in the
finish. It really holds its own with tonic water and that
just might be the way I would recommend this gin.
Averna Amaro Siciliano is next and comes
in a clear tall bottle that shows off the dark brown spirit
within. The label is reminiscent of old world Italian design
and is predominately red and gold. The nose is inexplicably
mild and fruity for what one would normally consider a bitter.
It even has highlights of chocolate and lemon and I could
swear a touch of Absinthe. As hard as the nose is to peg it
sorts itself out on the palate and begins with bittersweet
notes followed by the taste of true bitters but done in such
a way as to be very interesting and even semi-sweet but finally
ends in a true bitter finish that is less bitter and more
better. This is a very complex bitter and one of the best
I have tasted and again this is strong stuff and a little
bit will go a long way.
let's see what kind of trouble I can get myself into. A Negroni
is normally a cocktail made of equal parts of Gin, Campari
and Red Vermouth. Well I would love to try this with the G'vine
gin since it is so flavorful and substitute the Averna for
the Campari and of course I will use the bottle of red vermouth
I bought 40 years ago that has seen duty in nearly 467 drinks
during that time. As you might surmise I am not a big fan
of vermouth and, in my mind, I believe that merely passing
the unopened bottle near the intended cocktail constitutes
fair usage. Well, my, my, this makes for one hell of a cocktail.
The Averna is perfect in this combination and after pouring
the second drink and adjusting the G'vine gin back a bit I
get a very nice, very complex summer sipper. I guarantee you
that this drink will not disappoint.
(80 proof) can be had for around $29.97 per 750 ML bottle
while Averna (58 proof) is available for about the same price,
$30.00 per 750 ML bottle.
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