Ever since a bad experience with some dodgy gin in my college years; I've approached this spirit with tremendous caution. But the charm and expertise of David Wilkinson, head distiller for Edinburgh Gin, persuaded me to give gin another chance.
David was recently spreading the gin gospel across the United States on an educational tasting tour sponsored by Frederick Wildman & Sons Importers. I caught up with the tour on the Williamsburg, Brooklyn stop at Belle Shoals. The lone media attendee, I was surrounded by a rapt group of NYC area bartenders who are big fans of Edinburgh Gin and came to learn more about this premium & small-batch spirit. Without a doubt, I was in the right place to overcome my gin phobia.
Not a bad day - yours truly with gin distiller extraordinaire David Wilkinson and Tim Master (Director of Specialty Spirits at Frederick Wildman & Sons)
At its essence, gin is produced when a neutral spirit is infused with flavors via distillation. Juniper berry is the essential botanical component that gives gin its unique flavor, but David taught me that other key botanicals include coriander, angelica root, licorice root, and orris root. But the really exciting thing is that gin can be distilled with almost any botanical. Edinburgh's various gins include quintessentially Scottish botanicals such as heather and milk thistle and unexpected flavors such as Szechuan pepper. Really, the possibilities are limitless and a maestro like David has the expertise to balance the flavors. Whether you're a gin novice or an aficionado, Edinburgh Gin is an elegant and delicious addition to your spirits library.
The classic Edinburgh Gin ($35) is a great introduction to their style and a delicious example of what a premium gin should taste like. Distilled from the finest Scottish grain, this crisp & clean juniper forward gin is 43% ABV and includes a total of 13 botanicals; including citrus peel, coriander seed, pine heather, and milk thistle. Beautifully balanced, this smooth gin makes an excellent martini. Bottled in fine Italian glass, the art deco inspired bottle pays homage to the golden age of gin - the 1920's.
Edinburgh Cannonball Navy Strength Gin ($45) takes it to the next level! This 57% ABV libation resurrects an old style of gin commissioned by the British Navy but with a unique twist - double strength juniper and Szechuan pepper give this gin a powerful but elegant kick. It makes a mighty fine Negroni (equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, with an orange peel garnish).
If you're planning a trip to Scotland, Edinburgh Gin Distillery offer tours, tastings, and gin making classes. Cheers!