A snow covered package from the frozen wilds of Maine recently arrived at the Good Spirits office, filled with an interesting selection of hand crafted products. Read on to hear what I have to say about these tasty items.
Bitter Cranberry – These are spicy, tart bitters like fresh berries mixed with the flavors of Christmas. They have a dry, and somewhat bitter quality (not surprising) that will work exceptionally well with gin, vodka and bourbon. I would even go so far to say that if you try these in a Cosmopolitan, it will bring the drink up a notch in terms of brightness. GSN Rating: B+
Bitter Blueberry – These bitters have a dried blueberry flavor profile. Again there is a heavy Christmas spice quality here that tames the fruit flavor. Definitely in the style of an aromatic bitters, but different enough to make you take notice. I can see these working well with regular or most fruit infused vodkas. GSN Rating: B
Back River Gin – The nose is juniper forward with notes of pine, lemon citrus, and a light woodsy fragrance. The first taste is reminiscent of fresh cut cedar. As the flavor moves on it becomes quite sweet with a musky herbal overtone. There is a dark quality that seems to overshadow the nuances of what you find in a typical English Dry style gin. This is strongly juniper tho’, so if you are using it in a sour based cocktail, be aware that the flavor will “pop” through. Great as a mixer, but for a gin martini it competes with the dry vermouth. I like this gin quite a lot, but it almost tastes as if it has been infused a bit longer than necessary and as a result ends up somewhat unbalanced. The distillate itself is a beautiful cut from the heart of the spirit. I’d recommend trying this in a G&T or some of the sweeter fruit based cocktails like a Bronx or a Singapore Sling. GSN Rating: B+
Sweetgrass Farm Winery & Distillery also creates fruit wines and ports, as well as flavored gin, rum and fruit brandies. You can order online from their website at www.sweetgrasswinery.com