Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary.

Searching for the world's best drinks and what makes them extraordinary. EZdrinking is a drinks blog by Eric Zandona that focuses on distilled spirits, wine, craft beer and specialty coffee. Here you can find reviews of drinks, drink books, articles about current & historical trends, as well as how to make liqueurs, bitters, and other spirit based drinks at home.

Filtering by Tag: Aged Gin

Review: Ableforth's Batch 2 Pedro Ximénez Aged Bathtub Gin

Ableforth's Batch 2 Pedro Ximénez Aged Bathtub Gin was macerated, and aged by Ableforth's  for That Boutique-y Gin Company and bottled at 43.3% ABV

Price: $3.92 for 30ml

Ableforth's is a self described "Madcap creator of unique, small-batch spirits." In the US, Ableforth's would be described as a rectifier, in that they purchase spirits, and then modify them by macerating botanicals, fruit or maturing the spirit in special casks. In the late 1800s the term rectifier took on an negative connotation in the US from the bad practices of some companies that would buy well made bourbon or rye and dilute it with neutral spirit, prune juice and even acids. However, there is a responsible way to be a rectifier and Ableforth's demonstrates that. They are well know for their Bathtub Gin which takes neutral spirit and macerates juniper, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, orange peel and clove. The result is a gin with an yellow or amber tint from the botanicals. For this bottling, That Boutique-y Gin Company took some of the regular Ableforth's Bathtub Gin and aged it in a Pedro Ximénez Sherry cask.


Nose: The nose has a very pleasant aroma of of cherries with baking spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The nose is rich with notes from the sherry supported by juniper and the citrus. 

Palate: On the palate the gin is smooth and full bodied. There are notes of coco, orange zest, cinnamon, and a slight undertone of brightness from the juniper.

Finish: The finish is medium long with concurrent flavors of juniper and citrus followed by deeper flavors from the wood.

Conclusion: It is hard to do this gin justice in writing but Ableforth's Batch 2 Pedro Ximénez Aged Bathtub Gin is one of the most amazing and wonderful spirits I've had the pleasure of drinking. The gin is a complete treat. The gin picks up a wonderful sweetness and complexity from the sherry while still allowing the juniper and other botanicals to sing. This gin should be enjoyed neat or use in an amazing Martinez.

Thank you to Master of Malt and That Boutique-y Gin Company for providing the free sample.

Review: Cotswolds Batch 1 Cask-Aged London Dry Gin

Cotswolds Batch 1 Cask-Aged London Dry Gin was distilled and aged by Cotswolds Distillery for That Boutique-y Gin Company and bottled 46% ABV

Price: $46.40 for 500ml or $5.07 for 30ml

The Cotswold Distillery was founded by  Dan Szor, a native New Yorker how fell in love with an Englishwoman and the pastoral hills of Cotswolds northwest of London. In addition to malt whisky, Szor also produces a London Dry Gin on a 500 litre hybrid still made by Arnold Holstine. Starting with a neutral spirit made from wheat, the Cotswolds London Dry Gin is made by macerating juniper, coriander, and angelica for 12 hours then distilling that with an addition lavender, bay leaf, grapefruit, lime black pepper and cardamom.

For this bottling of That Boutique-y Gin Company, they took the Cotswold London Dry Gin and then aged them in ex-bourbon and ex-red wine casks. These are the same types of barrel are the same ones used for maturing their new make malt spirit into English Malt Whisky.


Nose: The noes has bright notes of juniper and lemon with an underlying floral character almost like rose petals. As the gin sits, the nose opens up and shows more of the wood character from the barrel.

Palate: On the palate the gin has a medium body that is warm on the tongue. The gin flavor tastes of oak with notes of pine and white pepper.

Finish: The finish is long and warm. As the flavors fade, notes of pine and lemon balm linger until the next drink. 

Conclusion: Cotswolds Batch 1 Cask-Aged London Dry Gin is a very good example of an aged gin. By this it clearly shows the influence of the barrel without being overpowering.  The botanical flavors are enhanced and augmented by the maturation in wood not obscured by them. This gin would work well on the rocks, in a slightly oaky Gin & Tonic or even a Martinez.

Thank you to Master of Malt and That Boutique-y Gin Company for providing the free sample.

Negroni Variations with Aged Gin

In preparation for the upcoming Negroni Week (June  5-11, 2017) I decided to create a few Negroni variations  with some of the gin in my liquor cabinet and see how the drink changed. The classic negroni is equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. For these variations I used Alessio Vermouth di Torino Rosso, Campari and three different aged gins. 

Negroni #1: This was made using  FEW Spirits Barrel Gin (46.5% ABV) which is an aged gin distilled with an undisclosed number of botanicals which includes juniper, bitter orange and lemon peel, cassia and angelica. As a negroni the noise was woody, with fruity bubble gum notes. The Negroni tasted of sweet berries and orange with a strong whiskey character. The finish started sweet, dried out from the wood tannins and closed with notes of black pepper grapefruit zest, charcoal and menthol.

Negroni #2: This was made using High Wire Distilling Hat Trick Barrel Rested Gin (44% ABV) which is an aged gin distilled with crushed juniper berries, fresh lemon and orange peel. As a negroni, the sweet vermouth came through on nose with bright citrus from the Campari. The flavor was a dance of sweet spicy and bitter. The finish started strong with juniper and faded into bitter grapefruit and sweetness. Really nice.

Negroni #3: This was made using Old World Spirits Rusty Blade Single Barrel-Aged Gin (60% ABV) which is an aged gin distilled with 11 botanicals including cilantro, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, orange, lemon, tangerine and steamed juniper. As a negroni the nose had notes of sweet cherry and fresh orange. The cocktail tasted of maraschino cherry, sweet grapefruit, and mid palate spice notes of clove and cinnamon explode with slight bitterness. The finish was spicy dry and mildly bitter with notes of juniper and grapefruit zest.

Review: Stonecutter Single Barrel Gin

Distilled and aged by Stonecutter Spirits and bottled at 45% ABV.

Price: $53-$65

Located in Middlebury, Vermont, Stonecutter Spirits was co-founded by Sivan Cotel and Sas Stewart. Before Cotel and Stewart began making gin, Cotel got a masters degree in psychology and then went to work in finance, while Stewart worked in fine dining and branding. Through a series connections, Cotel started working at WhistlePig early on in the company's life and helped them build their brand and became fascinated with the process of maturing spirits. After leaving WhistlePig, Cotel worked as a consultant in the spirits industry but he and Stewart decided that rather than give away their best ideas they would use to build their own distillery. 

Both Cotel and Stewart love gin and whiskey so as they developed the idea for their company they focused in on making the types of spirits that they would want to drink. Combining their passions for whiskey, gin and the barrel aging, Cotel and Stewart decided to make an aged gin.

Some aged gins on the market are essentially made as an afterthought, a distiller makes gin so they put some in a barrel an bottle what comes out. In contrast, Cotel and Stewart started thinking about the common barrel notes that come from ex-bourbon barrels and what botanicals would pair well with those. After a number of trials Cotel and Stewart settled on a botanical mix that includes juniper, cardamom, orange peel, green tea and a few others. The botanicals are distilled in a pot still with a neutral spirit made from corn. Fresh off the still, Cotel says the botanical are not quite all in sync but after spending four to five months in once used Kentucky bourbon barrels they harmonize and compliment each other in a new way.

The intentionality that Cotel and Stewart demonstrate in their aged gin makes it one of the best I've ever had and makes me excited for their whiskeys.

Tasting Notes

Nose: There is no hiding that this is a gin. The nose has clear aromas of juniper, and citrus such as orange rind, lemon zest and lemongrass. These are supported by more subtle herbal notes like coriander and tarragon floating on a bed of sweet vanilla.

Palate: Even at 45% the gin is soft, with a medium body and while it warms the tongue it is not hot. Juniper and rosemary like flavors are complemented by barrel notes of oak and sweet caramel.

Finish: The finish is bright (read acidic) with a dry minerality, and a lingering herbal character that makes you want a second drink. After swallowing there is a slight bitterness and zing from the alcohol that holds onto the back of the tongue.

Conclusion: In my mind there are two ways to approach aged gin: one, to use a short maturation which adds a little color and some barrel character to complement the botanical mix; and two, to do a long maturation so that the gin picks up a lot of color and has time to breath and transform the botanical character. In my opinion Stonecutter Spirits Single Barrel Gin is one of the best examples of how a short period in oak can complement and enhance the gin rather than being dominated by it. The gin is well balanced and overall a very nice gin. Because the gin isn't dominated by oak I could see it working very well in a Martini, G&T, and even a negroni. Stonecutter's Single Barrel Gin can be purchased in Vermont or online through DrinkUpNY.

Review: Spirit Works Barrel Gin

Barrel Gin, distilled by Spirit Works Distillery and bottled at 45% ABV.

Price Range: $50-$60

Spirit Works Distillery is owned and operated by the husband-and-wife team, Timo and Ashby Marshall. Ashby is their head distiller and Timo works as tour guide, operations manage, brand ambassador and a number of other roles. 

Spirit Works Distillery is located in downtown Sebastopol, in a newly developed business district called The Barlow. In addition to Spirit Works The Barlow brings together a number of local art, food and beverage producers including a winery, a brewpub and coffee roaster. I highly recommend taking their tour and visiting some of the other cool shops.

Timo told me that at first they hadn't planned to make an aged gin but I am glad they did. Barrel Gin starts off as their regular gin which is distilled with juniper, orris root, angelica, cardamom, coriander, hibiscus and hand-zested orange and lemon peel. Some of the botanicals are macerated in the still and some are place in a gin basket. After the gin has been distilled, some of it ages in new American White Oak barrels for several months. 

Tasting Notes

Nose: Barrel Gin smelled of dried orange peal, baking spices, and a faint, underlying sweetness like maraschino cherries.

Palate: Barrel Gin tasted of bright citrus, with a smooth sweet flavor of fresh table grapes.

Finish: After swallowing the flavors lingered for a little while and my mouth had a pleasant warm sensation without any burn.

Conclusion: For those who like aged gins, Barrel Gin is a great addition to any liquor cabinet. I particularly like how the nose has begun to develop some of the rich spicy notes that come from barrel aging while maintaining some of the fresh flavors of their regular gin. Very well executed and Barrel Gin makes me even more excited for their upcoming whiskeys.