Saturday, March 01, 2008
What is more refreshing than a good gin? Cool and reviving in the summertime, elegant and hearty in the wintertime, gin has a year 'round character for me. I've tasted many excellent gins but one stands out to me purely for its winning ability to woo gin lovers and critics alike.
I was on a press check in 2005 when I spent a fair amount of press downtime in the care of my b+b's cozy, rustic bar. There I waxed alcoholic with a refreshingly knowledgeable barman who introduced me to a sublime new spirit. After ordering my standard Sapphire and tonic, we waxed alcoholic. We talked about the classics; Winston Churchill and Boodles, Casino Royale and Gordons. We chatted about the current marquis players; Sapphire, Tanq Ten. Gradually I could see he was making a case for a bottle he had up his sleeve. Out came Martin Miller's London Dry Gin.
Never heard of it? Me neither. Miller's has the apparently rare distinction of being batch distilled - like single-malt Scotch for example. The spirit is distilled in Great Britain and after is taken to Iceland where it is blended with the region's glacial waters. According to Miller's, the soft purity of the region's waters aids in the drinkability of the finished product.
He poured it neat for me to taste. I was blindsided. It has a bountiful bouquet for a gin. Floral, sweet, but complex with a make-up of several essences. My second glass I had on the rocks with no mixer. It's that smooth. (That's frequently how I pour it for the uninitiated.) The flavor derives from juniper of course, but includes a range of other ingredients like citrus, liquorice, and coriander. Imagine a silky, easy drinking spirit without the hard corners and eye-squinting finish of typical gins. This isn't a power-gin, it's more subtle, but the flavor is undeniable and unmistakable.
You can find Miller's London Dry Gin at Holiday Market in Royal Oak or wherever fine liquors are sold.