Ready for a liquor cart refresh? Take a virtual tour of the wonderful world of gin with five of our favorite global brands hailing from every corner of the world.
Featured: Dorothy Parker American Gin
OK, so it turns out that Dorothy Parker didn’t actually say that martini quote so often attributed to her (“I like to have a martini, two at the very most. After three I’m under the table, after four I’m under my host.”) But we’re still pretty sure the poet, writer, and critic would have been a most enjoyable drinking companion.
Unless you have a time machine handy, Dorothy Parker American Gin is the next best thing. Made by the New York Distilling Company in Brooklyn, New York, this delectable tipple straddles the line between traditional London dry gin and more contemporary concoctions. Botanicals like juniper, elderberries, citrus, cinnamon, and hibiscus give it a delicate floral character underpinned by brisk evergreen and wintry spice.
We love Dorothy Parker American Gin in cocktails with a touch of sparkle–think a Gin and Tonic, French 75, or Ramos Gin Fizz. There’s just something fitting about pairing bubbles with a spirit named for a dazzling wit.
Need a vacation? Even if a big trip isn’t in the cards in the near future, a brilliant blue cocktail made with this remarkable gin from a luxury hotel in Victoria, British Columbia, is the next best thing. A collaboration between Victoria Distillers and the legendary Fairmont Empress Hotel, this vibrant gin has a flavor as memorable as its color.
The producers call Empress 1908 Gin a “Pacific Northwest style gin” that dials down the juniper in favor of other, more subtle flavors like the Fairmont Empress’ exclusive tea blend, grapefruit peel, coriander seed, cinnamon bark, rose petals, and ginger root. The last botanical, butterfly pea blossoms, contributes that incredible indigo color while also playing a flavor role similar to angelica root in other gins–warm, herbal, and soft.
Cocktails made with Empress 1908 Gin are truly dazzling. Different mixers produce slightly different hues, with acidic ingredients like lemon juice or tonic water turning the spirit a brilliant fuchsia. Just know the color will slowly fade over time, so the producers recommend keeping your bottle out of bright light and finishing it within a year. (Although this gin is so delicious, we’d be surprised if it kept that long.)
Fans of gins with strong juniper flavor like Bombay Sapphire or Plymouth Gin will love this totally unique bottling. Procera Gin is made in Nairobi, Kenya, and features a rarely-seen variety of juniper called Procera juniper (hence its unusual name), which only grows in the high-altitude regions of Kenya and Ethiopia. Procera juniper berries have a sweet, nutty, earthy flavor, and they give this gin a distinctive character unlike anything we’ve ever tasted.
Complementing the Procera juniper is a full assortment of African botanicals, including pink peppercorns, Selim pepper, Pixie oranges, Swahili limes, cardamom, Moroccan orris root, and acacia honey. It’s distilled in a German pot still using a “secret” distilling process invented by master distiller Roger Jorgensen, then bottled in a distinctive hand-blown bottle, elegantly adorned with a hand-carved palm wood stopper and leather label.
Procera Gin is far from just a novelty. It snagged two back-to-back gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition for its deliciously unique character, and routinely garners glowing praise from top bartenders around the world. Try it in a martini to fully appreciate its one-of-a-kind flavor.
Finland really seems like a great place for drinking. The winters are dark, cold, and long, leaving plenty of time for firing up the sauna and kicking back with a whisky. Then, 20-hour summer days bring endless stretches of sunshine–and we all know sunshine means gin and tonics.
Even if you’re situated at a more central latitude, this Finnish gin is the perfect choice for seasonal drinking of all stripes. Full-bodied and herbal, it includes Finnish botanicals like sea buckthorn, cranberries, and birch leaves alongside the requisite juniper and other traditional gin botanicals. The base spirit is distilled from rye, adding a spicy, refreshingly bitter dimension to its flavor. Try Kyrö in a gin and tonic garnished with cranberries and rosemary to amplify those herbal and berry tones.
We also love the scrappy origin story of the Kyro Distillery, which also makes rye whisky. Launched by five friends after–surprise!–a boozy sauna session, Kyro got its start in a parent’s living room and quickly grew to be a cult favorite.
Ebra Gin is made on the California coast, but it gets its inspiration from Spain, where the gin and tonic reigns supreme. But not just any gin and tonic. Spanish gin and tonics are special. They’re served in oversize balloon goblets filled to the brim with ice and abundant garnishes. Often, they arrive with the gin in the glass but the bottle of tonic on the side for the drinker to add as much (or as little) as they wish.
Ebra Gin’s founder, Caitlyn V. Krug, designed her flagship gin to shine in Spanish-style ginebra y tonica. Even the name Ebra, a shortened version of ginebra, is inspired by Spain. Distilled by her contract partner Coastal Spirits in the San Francisco Bay Area, Ebra gin is made with a grape alcohol base infused with botanicals like juniper, lemon peel orris root, violet, and citrus, giving it a floral, earthy sweetness.
No surprise, it’s great in a Spanish-style gin and tonic. To make one, fill your biggest wine glass with plenty of ice, then stir the ice for several seconds to chill the glass. Garnish lavishly with herbs, lemon or orange peel, and peppercorns, making sure to squeeze, slap, or pinch each garnish to release the aromatics before adding them. Add your gin, then finally top with your favorite tonic water – Fever Tree is a favorite.