Raise the Flag

Staying on the topic of Gin. Here is a bit of history from the fine folks at 33 Books…

“While researching 33 Jiggers of Gin, I became fascinated with a historical tradition of the British Navy based around a triangular piece of fabric known as a “Gin Pennant.” As the story goes, officers of one ship would raise it to invite officers of nearby ships for cocktails (usually gin-based, because England).”

Now I just need flags for beer, cider and bourbon.

Time for Old Tom

I am an inveterate gin dabbler but I have two glaring historical holes in my learning, Genever and Old Tom. Finally, thanks to Barkeeper in Virgil Village in L.A., I have ticked the latter from my to-do list.

I picked up the beautifully attired Hayman’s Old Tom.

As the English distillery describes it, “Today it’s a less familiar style of gin, but it is still a bartender’s favourite when making cocktails such as the Martinez, Tom Collins and Ramos Gin Fizz. The generous quantities of botanicals used in our family recipe create a bold citrus and juniper pine character that is smooth and beautifully delicate with a subtle underlying sweetness.”

The nose of this is quite hot. Clears the mind and the sinus for sure. Once past that, this is a delightful gin. Super smooth and quite perfumey. Not getting citrus but there is a slight bit of lavender that is great. For me, this is one of the very few gins that I could drink straight. But I think it would make a really nice martini.

Pool Shark

Not a land shark, though that would be a logical brand extension, but Pool Shark a gin cocktail from Portuguese Bend Distilling in Long Beach.

They offer PBD rum, vodka and gin cocktails. Each can is two cocktails so when you get quoted thirty bucks for two cans, remember to divide by four and not two. I am a gin fan so I went for the spicy and fruity Pool Shark.

The jalapeno spice is there but the mango cuts it down to size as does the gin and lemon. It is a bit muddy orange in complexion but hazy IPA drinkers have seen worse. This is quite tasty and it does make me want to try the Rum Punch and Suga Suga cans as well.

Hounded for Gin

I received a lovely little classic gin sample from Spirit Hound Distillers in Lyon, Colorado.

Here is my review….

Straight up, this is very bright and clean. I get a touch of spice and later citrus but this is almost smooth, no burn at all and easy to drink without a cocktail. Proper British is the best description.

In G&T form, it doesn’t try to steal the show. Maybe it should just a touch more as the balance is a little tilted towards the quinine. But it does really bring a big orange citrus note forward which I quite enjoy.

The “Hounds” also produce a straight malt whisky, a cask strength malt whisky, a Colorado honey whisky, a rum and two other types of gin.

Flaviar – Test Drive

I have been meaning to do a test subscription to Flaviar. And at the beginning of the month, I hopped onto the lowest price that I had seen. And I received…

An etched bottle of Islay (Scotland) gin that I had eyed for awhile, a magazine with short punchy articles that I thought were good plus QR codes aplenty. Finally, the centerpiece was a container with three rye whiskies.

This variety trio had Copper Fox, Rossville Union and Bender’s included. Very fancy packaging and a healthy sample of each plus note coasters with flavor profiles for you to help guide your tasting.

Bender’s was my winner with nutmeg and cinnamon spicing and Copper Fox my least favorite owing to its being a smoke bomb. Rossville Union was too smokey for my taste but at least had a balance as other flavors like chocolate and vanilla shone a bit as well.

I bought this myself so I am valuing this on my own dime. The packaging and information makes this worth it and the fact thar you can explore through many spirits and sub-styles is great. My suggestion is to by a big bottle of a spirit you need or of something you know you will use and then use the tasters to explore and find that bottle you want to go big on later.


Now here is where seltzer finally comes in handy! Zaddy’s has a new range of gin drinks that have a foot in both the canned cocktail realm and the world of seltzer. Meaning, low alcohol (4.5%) and low in the calories too.

They kindly sent me samples and here are my thoughts…

Gin Sonic – Neither the gin or the tonic shone through in the Zaddy’s take on the G&T. I get mint on the nose and a nice mojito-esque taste. This is quite refreshing but less mint and more tonic would have improved this for me.

Gin(ger) Fizz – Lovely ginger aroma to this one. A little balance of lemon to a big hit of ginger flavor is here. Again, this is a tasty drink but the gin is absent to me. I wish it would peek out a bit.

Corpse Reviver – This is my favorite of the trio. The aroma is heavenly. A smoothed fennel greets the nose. That spice with seltzer really works well. Also working in its favor is that I have never had this particular cocktail before so this is a new experience to me.

Those capsule reviews may seem harsh but that is only if you look at them as their cocktail analogues. On their own, without previous exposure to the drinks, these are solidly tasty. I would take these over a hard seltzer every day of the week.

12 Ounces Long

This new RTD is being promoted at the right time. Canned cocktails are a growing segment of beverages and one with a story and a Hollywood connection will certainly get more play. For me The Finnish Long Drink sounds like an interesting way to incorporate gin without going the staid G&T route .

Review – Gin Rickey from Firestone Walker

Long time readers of the blog will know two things. One, that I am a fanboy for Firestone Walker and two, that I like me some gin. And when I saw that the barrel wizards of Paso Robles has a gin barrel-aged beer, I was on it opening weekend.

With a hearty barley wine base, I figured it would be a knockout. The base is fine, offering a nice, almost creamy texture. But the lime is not there, overcome by an Indian spicing that is new to my beer drinking experience but is too heavy handed to let anything else shine. I would add though that this might, if handled with care, be an interesting dessert pairing due to the alcohol level.

Gin Rickey

Three letters is all it took for me to want to drive to the Firestone Walker Propagator to pick up beer. G I N. I love beers that use gin barrels but they are hard to come by and temperamental as tequila barrels can be. But this latest cocktail beer sounds perfect for summer.