America loves innovation; especially when it comes to taking what someone else perfected and making it, well, more American. Gin, distilled gin, and London gin all have something in common: the recipe has been the same since basically the beginning of time. American gin, however, following American ways, is almost dazzling in the vast array of flavors and aromas being offered by little American distilleries. The main ingredients stay the same – juniper and alcohol – but what else gets added can be as crazy as the imagination allows. Below we’re going to look at the top five American gins, what makes them unique, and of course, where to buy them.
Bourbon Barrel Gin: Watershed Distillery
Just in case you have had a bad experience with gin, as quite a few people have, we’re starting this list off with a gin that seems to wish it was something else. The Bourbon Barrel Gin from Watershed Distillery is exactly what the name implies: a gin that is aged 12 months in a barrel formerly containing bourbon. Not only is this gin aged uniquely, this corn-based gin is also infused with a light a playful citrus flavor due to the fact that Watershed’s Four Peel Gin is what they place in the bourbon barrels.
Karner Blue Gin: Flag Hill Distillery & Winery
Another citrusy gin is the Karner Blue Gin from Flag Hill Distillery & Winery. Lemon and grapefruit flavors surround the classic juniper center, but the really unique element of this gin is the fact that it isn’t distilled with a grain but rather with apples. The juniper taste remains distinguishable amongst the citrus and apples, so you won’t lose sight of the fact that this is still gin, and therefore it works well neat or in a cocktail. If you’re not normally a gin fan you may want to pick up a bottle because who knows, you could surprise yourself.
Waterloo Gin: Treaty Oak Distilling Co.
Featuring a unique citrus flavor and aroma, the Waterloo Gin from Treaty Oak Distilling Co. is probably the most botanical forward of the gins listed so far. Incorporating lavender, pecans, lemons, oranges, anise, juniper, and a few other botanicals, Waterloo boasts a full-bodied flavor for “A Gin as Big as Texas.” The botanicals used are all indigenous to the Texas landscape, which arguably makes this gin as American as it gets. It has similarities to classic London dry gins but is still uniquely American without being overpowering.
City Bright Gin: Greenbar Distillery
You will taste the flavors of Los Angeles in this gin with notes of juniper, citrus and pepper that deliver complexity and add life to cocktails if you so desire. The best part about American gins, and what makes them so diverse, is the fact that the botanicals can range in amount from 3 to 31. The City Bright Gin from Greenbar Distillery contains no less than 22 different ingredients, which is how it is able to bring you from Asia with the aroma to Mexico and the Middle East with the floral and earthy flavors.
Bummer & Lazarus: Raff Distillerie
With less ingredients but a higher alcohol content, Bummer & Lazarus Gin from Raff Distillerie is made from California grapes then distilled with a slew of botanicals including juniper, cinnamon, and lemon peel. With hints of citrus and floral notes and a spicy finish, Bummer & Lazarus adds a kick to any gin-calling drink. Bummer and Lazarus changed the way San Francisco viewed strays, which might just be what Raff Distillerie is trying to do for gin.