There’s nothing like a gin and tonic to kick off a hot summer evening. Pick your poison from these newcomers to Ohio’s liquor agency shelves.
This small batch gin is distilled using botanicals from Scotland. Aromas of lemon peel, mint and juniper mingle with herbal notes. It’s smooth and bright with plenty citrus flavor.
86 proof; $36
We cheered when we saw that this San Francisco gin finally made it to Ohio. We tasted it years ago in its hometown and lamented that we couldn’t get it here. Now we can. Very piney with hints of lime, this favorite has a pretty strong kick of alcohol, so watch out!
98.6 proof; $36.75
Kentucky Wild Gin
This offering from the Bluegrass State is distilled from New Riff rye spirit and classic gin botanicals with some local, foraged native “seasonings” added. We noted a floral, lavender aroma with mild juniper notes, but the juniper really comes out on the palate. An excellent addition to the craft spirits niche.
94 proof; 29.99/375ml
Kentucky Wild Gin Bourbon Barreled
Pale gold in color, this gin has a mellower aroma with a hint of mint and delicate roasted nut. Made with locally foraged wild juniper plus classic gin botanicals, it’s silky smooth with just a touch of caramelized vanilla and hazelnut flavor from the barrels.
94 proof; $32.99/375ml
Langley’s No. 8 Gin
This London-style gin is made in small batches – in a copper pot still named “Connie,” no less, after the master distiller’s mother. Juniper dominates the taste, but you can’t miss the sweet citrus peels from Spain or Indonesian cassia bark. Intriguing layers of flavor.
83.4 proof; $42
It Takes a Classic to Make a Classic
New, trendy spirits are constantly appearing, but, thankfully, the tried and true are still around – made even more popular by the current classic cocktail craze.
One of those brands is Cinzano Vermouth, which was founded in 1757 in Turin, Italy. To commemorate its long history, Cinzano has released Cinzano 1757, a small-batch, handcrafted blend of botanicals and aromatics that is rich, smooth and satisfyingly bitter.
Try it in the classic Negroni cocktail:
1 oz gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz Cinzano Rosso 1757
Shake with ice and strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with an orange slice.
Then there’s Green Chartreuse, made in France since the 1600s by Carthusian monks using 130 alpine herbs in a secret formula. The only liqueur that has lent its name to a color, Chartreuse is delightfully complex. Enjoy over rocks with club soda or tonic garnished with lime.
Or try it in our favorite Chartreuse/gin cocktail, The Last Word:
1 oz gin
1 oz maraschino liqueur
1 oz Green Chartreuse
1 oz fresh lime juice
Shake with ice and pour into a chilled martini glass. No ice. No garnish. Just straight-up rapture in a glass.
Molly’s Crafted for handmade flavor
Cleveland-based Molly’s Crafted makes non-alcoholic cocktail mixes and shrubs using local and organic ingredients whenever possible. No high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, flavors or additives means these are the real deal and as close as you can come to handmade without doing all the peeling and chopping yourself.
Molly’s produces three cocktail mixes: Molly’s Crafted Honey Beet, $15/16fl oz; Molly’s Crafted Summer Crop, $15/16fl oz.; and a limited edition Kicked Up Concord, $20/16fl oz., that includes jalapenos.
Molly’s Apple Ginger Small Batch Cocktail Shrub, $15/16fl oz, is made from apples, organic sugar, apple cider vinegar and organic ginger. A spicy, zingy elixir when mixed with soda for a non-alcoholic refreshment, it also makes a fine base for a cocktail:
1 oz Molly’s Crafted Apple Ginger Shrub
4 oz water or club soda
1-2 oz alcohol of your choice
Mix and enjoy over ice.
Prices may vary.