When most people think of gin, certain characteristics come to mind. There’s citrus there, and a good deal of herbs and botanicals. If it’s cheap gin, there’s the sting of ethanol piercing your nose. Perhaps most common is the notion that gin is clear. What you don’t think of too often, and it’s something that distilleries across the country are currently playing with, is gin that is not clear, where the typical citrus and herb nose is muted by warm notes of oak or vanilla.
What makes barrel-aged gins stand out from their crystalline comrades is their sippability. Where most gins you see on shelves you would not want to drink straight, the characteristics imbued in these barrel-aged gins from their time spent in barrels (and the type of barrel varies from distillery to distillery) beget a beautiful, nuanced spirit that works well in a cocktail such as a Martinez or a modified Manhattan. If you’re a fan of darker liquors–especially whiskies, scotches and bourbons–then give a barrel-aged gin a try. You’ll be more than surprised with how much you many enjoy it.
Check out these barrel-aged gins to add to your home bar today:
2. Smooth Ambler Barrel-Aged Gin – Half of this gin is aged in new bourbon barrels and the other half is aged in Old Scout bourbon barrels for three months, giving it burnt caramel flavors.
3. FEW Spirits Barrel Gin – With hints of fennel and pepper, FEW Spirits retains the flavor of gin while adding the smoothness you’d find in an aged bourbon.
4. NY Distilling Company’s Chief Gowanus New Netherland Gin – Another historical recipe developed with David Wondrich—though from a time much earlier than the Old Tom Gin—the Chief Gowanus is modeled after a recipe for “Holland gin,” that was based on American rye whiskey.
(Featured image of a Manhattan by Jeremy Brooks)