Alcohol owes a lot to oak. Cognac and whiskey wouldn’t be the same without aging in its barrels. But gin? Distilled from grain or malt with flavoring from juniper berries, it is one of the most beloved of the clear liquors. Why would you add oak to the mix?
Answer: Because it’s delicious. The Netherlands actually made the connection 400 years ago with Jenever, a predecessor to gin sometimes called “Dutch gin.” Now it’s reaching America, where its practitioners include Breuckelen Distilling.
As the name suggests, they are based in Brooklyn and use local ingredients to produce whiskey and gin. Their gins include a more conventional offering, as well as “Glorious Gin: Oaked” (roughly $50 depending on your retailer). All of them are distilled from wheat grown in New York “in such a way to retain the honey and buttery characteristics of the grain” before they “redistill our base spirit individually in batches with juniper, fresh lemon peel, fresh grapefruit peel, ginger and fresh rosemary.”
Some of that Glorious Gin is then set aside for “resting” in oak barrels. The resulting dark liquor both looks and tastes like a magnificent mash-up of gin and bourbon.
To learn more about it and possibly get some for yourself, go here or just pick up your own oak barrels, start pouring in random booze and hope for the best.
Oh, and if you’re particularly interested in Breuckelen, watch the video below.