140-character booze review: Lord Wimsey Gin

A Measured Spirit public service: Time-saving booze reviews with no room for preening, blather, and B.S!

1st gin from Md.-based maker. Think 1/2-hearted flavored vodka. Juniper-free; odd orange nose. Desecrates Wimsey name. Weak debut. Buy? Ha!

Notes on tasting notes: Green Hat Navy gin vs….. Bols Genever????

Why my brain connects a beverage dating from the Napoleonic wars with a thunderously flavorful contempory-style gin

Not long ago I was at D.C.’s New Columbia Distilleries, a young and ambitious gin mill, makers of the ascendant artisanal brand Green Hat gin.

Let me rush to admit I love the stuff — it’s an unapologetic powerhouse in the contemporary style, rich with botanicals, citrus, and florals.

Yet it’s very well-crafted. A distillation that in other hands might have become an idiot flavor riot lands in the glass as an intriguing, complex elixir.

With Fever Tree it makes a magnificent gin & tonic, and it diverts an Aviation delightfully from its flight plan.

Green Hat Navy Strength Craig Stoltz A Measured Spirit
Green Hat Navy Strength: So much flavor, it’s nearly a bottled cocktail.

An explosion in the glass

At my most recent visit I tasted a newer product, Green Hat Navy Strength gin.

There’s a wonderful story, possibly true, about British sailors fearing that the ship’s officers would water down the day’s ration of gin. When alcohol reaches 114 proof, it is said, will explode gunpowder. And so the sailors would attempt to ignite the gin. If it exploded it was cheers all around, and mutiny was put off for another day.

Speaking of exploding, that’s pretty much what happens when you drink Green Hat Navy Strength, which is indeed bottled at 114 proof. It’s got all the flavor complexity of the flagship product, plus more, plus — let’s be plain — a giant wave of ethyl at the snout.

But mellowed on a fat ice cube it opens wide, and you taste all kinds of spices and citrus, something sweet. Plus, I think, some pepper. Anise, maybe.

Bol’d over

But as I was sipping I picked up something totally unexpected: The distinct malty, sweetish undertones of genever, the Dutch proto-gin made by Bols.

This is not a bad thing, but a surprise nonetheless. Genever is to gin what Neanderthal is to homo sapiens — a bit wobbly as a first go, but full of promise and destined to develop into greater things.

Continue reading “Notes on tasting notes: Green Hat Navy gin vs….. Bols Genever????”

The Algonquin: No Sirree!

A classic that’s leave-it-on-the-kitchen-counter-when-the-host-isn’t-looking bad.

Algonquin cocktail review Craig Stoltz
Three people walk into an elevator at the Algonquin hotel. One of them farts.

I’m generally no bellyacher. But in my blunderings through cocktail literature I just surfaced a real stinker, and feel compelled to sound  an amicus alarm.

The decoction I refer to is the Algonquin cocktail, which shows up on diligent lists of American Classics — A sip of history! A brush with greatness! Etc. Etc. Etc.

The drink is named after the venerable New York hotel where a group of early 20th century literati famously assembled at the restaurant’s “Round Table.”

Most members of the “Vicious Circle” were hotshot columnists, critics, editors, and writers [Alexander Woollcott, Dorothy Parker, Harold Ross], with a few playwrights and, on a good day, Harpo Marx.  Continue reading “The Algonquin: No Sirree!”