If the martini is the true test of a juniper-forward gin, the gimlet is the gauntlet for the lighter stuff (apologies to the gin and tonic). It’s a simple drink: gin, lime, simple syrup (I guess the original gimlet called for Rose’s lime juice, but the stuff that comes to America is basically HFCS and artificial preservatives… I’ll make my own, thankyouverymuch), and it’s oh-so refreshing. And unlike the daiquiri, which is the exact same drink with rum instead of gin, you won’t get looks from the spring-break crowd when ordering one.
Daiquiri? Oh, so you like girly drinks. Gimlet? Isn’t that a podcast company?
In the blue corner, we have Caskwerks Gin, the winner of BvsB 8 and BvsB 9. It’s a 90-proof gin from Tempe, AZ made with Portuguese juniper, orange and lemon peel, coriander, cinnamon, and hibiscus. It’s nice and light, with a noticeable lemon flavor in cocktails. In a lime-forward drink like a gimlet, I’m imagining a Sprite-like lemon-lime pairing made in heaven.
In the red corner, we have #Gin from OHSO Distillery in Scottsdale, AZ. From their website (the bottle is very hipster minimal, just like #Rum from BvsB 4), #Gin is distilled from sugarcane, is polished with coconut carbon. In an article from the Phoenix New Times, it’s said that the gin “changes shape with each sip, starting out crisp and citrusy, then heating up a little with a dash of cinnamon and finally rounding out with a nice, earthy punch of juniper.” Shape-changing gin? Can a rigid glass bottle handle such a strange concoction?
2 oz gin
1/4 oz simple syrup
1/2 lime, pressed
Notes: Make it just like a daiquiri. Shake all the ingredients till the shaker gets a little frosty, then strain into a coupe glass. The colder it is the better.
To help with this BvsB, I had Matthew (of BvsB fame) and his wife Christine (it was her first drink post-pregnancy). While making the drinks, I quickly learned a lot about the audience:
Christine: “I love gin!”
Matthew: “I really only drink bourbon.”
The first sip came from the challenger, OHSO’s #Gin. And it… was… limey. And clean. And though it smells a bit like juniper, it was completely gobbled up by the lime. In fact, if I had to guess what the drink was, I would’ve guessed it was a daiquiri using #Rum. But… I love a good daiquiri, and I also loved this drink.
My tasting team seemed to be having similar thoughts. Lots of yum-faces – even Matthew seemed to be drinking it with ease.
The Caskwerks had a different vibe though. Instead of being a smooth-lime concoction, it gave off some indescribable funk. Maybe the hint of lemon poking through the lime knocked the cocktail out of balance?
Christine didn’t quite agree. “I like this one, but I like gin,” which hinted that maybe we were looking for the cocktail to hide the booze. I don’t know if I agree, but maybe subconsciously I like a summer drink to taste like summer.
She doubled down, “The other one doesn’t taste like anything after this. It’s too fruity. This one has some personality.” It is fruity, this is true. And the Caskwerks does have personality. Hard to argue there.
Matthew, having tasted both a number of times, said, “I don’t know if this is right, but (Caskwerks) is more like a push pop. The #Gin gimlet is smoother, but (Caskwerks) is more candylike.”
It’s a split decision, but I’m comfortable saying the #Gin gimlet was the smoother, more drinkable cocktail. To Christine’s point though, it didn’t give off any real personality, which simultaneously disappointed and delighted. More gin battles will be needed to see what all this means.