Wednesday, November 9, 2011

mind the gap

1 1/2 oz No. 3 Gin
3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice
3/4 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
1/2 oz Cardamom Syrup
1/4 oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail coupe glass.

Last Thursday, I attended the No. 3 Gin release party at Eastern Standard. After having one of the three cocktails, the Mind the Gap which I will discuss in a moment, I had a chance to speak with Dennis Carr, the VP of Sales from Anchor Distilling, and Gregory Fitch, the local rep from Preiss Imports. While discussing the gin which they represent and distribute, they acquired me a tasting sample in addition to describing the gin's genesis.

The botanicals in the gin are described as three fruits, three spices. The fruits are juniper, orange peel, and grapefruit peel, and the spices are coriander, angelica root, and cardamom. While there is a lot of implication that the recipe is stripped down and simplified, it is nowhere as minimalistic as Death's Door Gin which in juniper, coriander, and fennel seeds, but less than say Beefeater which has 9. From the first whiff of No. 3, there is no mistaking that this is a gin. In crafting the spirit, the distillers did not shy away from juniper like many of the newer gins on the market like New Amsterdam. One of the other notes that came across rather robustly was a delightful grapefruit peel that was stronger than the orange peel one; indeed, the grapefruit here was much more intense than in Beefeater 24. The coriander notes helped to supplement the citrus flavors and also donated peppery notes that worked well with the cardamom. Angelica root is the 6th ingredient, and this earthy note has always been difficult for me to pick out; it has been described as a botanical which functions to tie the others together. I am not sure which of the six ingredients reminded me a lot of Bombay Sapphire, but it was the lingering herbal clean note; it is a note that I associate more with Gin & Tonics than cocktails for some reason.

The name No. 3 has a lot of symbolism for the brand. The easy answers are the 3 fruits and the 3 spices, the event was held on the 3rd of the month, and the 3 drink cocktail list. The gin was created for Berry Bros. and Rudd who are London's oldest wine and spirits merchant with 3 centuries of experience (actually 313 years). The real No. 3 relates to their address on St. James's Street in London. The gin itself is not made in the UK, but in Schiedam, Holland, where they make it to Berry Bros. and Rudd's specifications on pot stills. So far I have seen the gin in a few liquor stores around town including Ball Square Liquors in Somerville and Marty's in Newtonville for $40 per 750mL.
The first cocktail I tried was the Mind the Gap that bartender Kevin Martin made for me. The drink's name pays tribute to the merchant's London address through a reference to their subway system's warning. The recipe was crafted to accent the gin's grapefruit and cardamom notes. With no twist garnish, the Mind the Gap's aroma was strikingly juniper forward. The sip offered the grapefruit and the sweet vermouth's grape flavors, and the swallow presented the gin's juniper, the syrup's cardamom, and the Angostura's spices. Of all the combinations, I was most impressed at how well the grapefruit and cardamom flavors interacted here.

1 comment:

Dagreb said...

Grapefruit & Cardamom, eh? Hmmmm....