Spring has FINALLY sprung here in Minnesota, and to celebrate the warm weather we have received a few new limited edition gins just in time to celebrate! Letherbee’s always popular Vernal gin has hit the shelves, along with Tanqueray’s third release in three decades of their cult favorite Malacca, and Citadelle has released the first of their Extremes Collection. All right in time for patio season!
Hailing from Chicago, Letherbee Distillers make a bold, floral, and herbal style of gin that has been a hit at France 44 over the last few years. Even more, they make two seasonals per year- one in the spring (vernal) and one in the fall (autumnal) made to evoke the flavors of the season and then they never make the same profile again. We try to obtain as much of these passing unicorns as we can before they’re all gone. This spring their release is infused with freeze-dried strawberries, Madagascar vanilla beans, and locally grown eucalyptus from Chicago proper. This gin is bright and fresh from the strawberries while also garnering a creamy note from the vanilla beans, all while not being too sweet with the addition of the eucalyptus. This gin is screaming to be put in a beautiful gin and tonic or a Tom Collins but it may be even better served with a mélange of fresh fruit and club soda to let it shine on its own. We have only received five of 265 cases worldwide, so pick it up while you can.
Tanqueray Malacca is a gin of lore. Malacca was a forward-thinking gin made by Tanqueray 1990’s where they dialed back the juniper and brought the citrus, floral, and spice tones forward. It is a unique take on a classic old tom gin, even by today’s standards. A beloved gin by bartenders and enthusiasts alike, it was unceremoniously discontinued in 2001. Due to scarcity and uniqueness, this gin quickly reached cult status. It was brought back momentarily as a special release in 2013/14 and was quickly snatched up by people in the know. Fast forward five years later and this gin is back in full effect, unfortunately by the looks of it for a limited time once again. Malacca is low in alcohol at 82.6 proof but packs a punch of floral rose, jasmine, lime citrus, and West Indian spices of clove and peppercorn. Perfect in any cocktail, but really shines through in martinis and negronis. Of course, a splash of good tonic never hurt this one!
The first release of Citadelle’s Extremes lineup is an Old Tom Gin made with aged brown sugar. Crazy, right? Citadelle toasts and caramelizes demerara sugar in copper cauldrons before thinning, alcoholizing, and aging for a few months in oak casks. They then blend it with Citadelle’s reserve gin and age it for a few more months all together. This gin has a superb balance of florality and citrus with a rich layer of sugar and oak on top that gives it a rich almost creamy texture. Made for whiskey and gin drinkers alike, there are only 3,000 bottles in existence. Sip it neat, throw it in a Negroni or a Martinez–this is a gin to be savored.
With the warm months are finally upon us here in Minnesota, please check in with our spirits staff for new tropical and refreshing spirits to lift your patio cocktail experience to the next level to entertain your palate as well as your friends and neighbors. Look for more updates as summer comes!