With a seemingly endless array of ways to combine botanicals, citrus and spice to create unique flavor profiles, it’s no wonder that new craft gin distillers—and old-line producers trying new tricks—are popping up in droves across the globe. The first-ever Japanese gin producer, The Kyoto Distillery, opened its doors last year. In the U.K. alone, 49 new gins were introduced in 2016. And the U.S. embraced with open arms everything from hyper-locally harvesting of ingredients (think: wild juniper, blueberries) to seasonal releases and barrel-aging.
One of the bartenders leading the gin charge in the U.S. market is Natasha Bahrami, who operates The Gin Room in St. Louis, Mo., and goes by the name (what else?) The Gin Girl on social media. This year, though, Bahrami is taking it one step further. In March 2017, she, along with a handful of the gin industry’s leading women, launched GinWorld, an international festival of all things gin hosted in four cities across the U.S. and U.K. throughout 2017, featuring tastings, cocktail competitions, seminars and more.
Below, Bahrami picks five new gin bottles worthy of attention, along with tasting notes and a little bit of history about each unique spirit.
“This gin is a celebration of spice blends from female distiller Nicole Hassoun. The botanicals include a two-year dried Italian juniper for a stronger juniper notes combined with caraway, cumin and olive oil. Black mission fig is then added for sweetness, hops for bitterness, acid from macerated lemon peel, orris root as a binder, and, to finish it off, fresh mint and hibiscus.”
“This hibiscus gin has a beautifully pink hue and is perfectly summery with subdued cranberry and citrus. When mixed with tonic, the hibiscus nuances of this gin shine.”
“Utilizing the local harvest of Michigan’s agriculture, Blue Haven was rested on blueberries harvested from head distiller Brad Kamphuis’ family farm. Coriander- and citrus-forward, this gin has a juicy blueberry nose and delicately rounded botanicals on the palate—another massive hit for porch sipping on a warm summer afternoon.”
“This is the first release of the Machine Series launched at the end of March. Bold, savory notes linger throughout, while the oak age mellows the botanicals and creates a multi-layered experience that’s enjoyable on a rock with a twist or perfect with vermouth in a Martinez.”