The Twilight Lounge – February 4, 2017
If you are a regular reader, you know that I like, no make that love my gin. So, this review is far, far overdue, considering that a friend gave me this bottle of Rehorst gin for my birthday last year. Check that, Rehorst Barrel Reserve Gin (Batch No. 10, for the record).
So, just what the heck is this from the Great Lakes Distillery? It starts as Rehorst Gin, itself an interesting gin that includes sweet basil and Wisconsin Gingseng among its 9 botanicals (including the usual juniper). Then the gin is aged in oak barrels to impart an additional layer of complexity not normally found in gin. It is indeed limited, as only one barrel a month is bottled and released.
So how did Great Lakes Distillery do? Pretty damn good in my estimation. On the nose it is not as juniper forward as London Dry or even Plymouth style gins. The oak has mellowed the botanicals out, smoothing their edge. Sipping it there is not the heat I’d expect from a liquor that is 94 proof. The oak comes through along with spicy hints, not unlike black pepper and rosemary, with the juniper on the finish. With the oak aging, sipping this neat or on the rocks is akin to doing so with a good bourbon (and something I don’t typically do with gin). Adding a twist and few ice cubes makes this a treat and a viable substitute for my traditional martini.
What else can you do with this gin? Fortunately for you, I experimented with a number of combinations, some traditional and some new. It made a great gin and tonic, spicy, woody and better with a lemon wedge in place of the classic lime. As a martini it comes off almost like a Manhattan. As a variant to the perfect Manhattan (1/2 sweet vermouth, 1/2 dry vermouth) it was divine! Mixed with ginger beer was even better than having it with tonic water, a real treat. The most interesting cocktail I concocted is what I call the Asian Gin Ginger:
Asian Gin Ginger
- 2 oz Rehorst Barrel Reserve Gin
- 1 oz Tyku
- 1/2 oz Top Note Ginger Beer Concentrate
- Dash Bittercube Blackstrap bitters
Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Spicy, darkly sweet defines the Asian Gin Ginger. Floral hints from the gin and Tyku make this not a truly boozy cocktail, but a sickly sweet one either. Refreshing, I could drink several of these in an evening (and I did!)
My bottom line is that this is a terrific addition to the liquor cabinet. It doesn’t replace the London dry gin in mine, but it is there in addition. I give the Rehorst Barrel Reserve Gin two thumbs up!