This weekend sees that annual display of brawn in American football's Super Bowl, which is this year celebrating its 50th anniversary with a showdown between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers. [Ed: We now know that The Denver Broncos emerged victorious - although we still think Beyonce was the real winner...]
While we’d be the first to admit we’re not exactly aficionados of the sport, this all-American celebration has got us thinking (of course) about some of the great American gins we’ve come across recently.
Just as we’ve seen a huge growth in the numbers of craft gin producers in the UK over the past few years, so too have our US cousins been undergoing a similar craft revolution. And, just as everything is always bigger in America, the choice on offer over the pond is overwhelming.
There is also a huge diversity in American gin making – while there are some producers creating gins in the classic, London Dry style, many US producers use different methods, such as experimenting with barrel ageing gin, rebalancing traditional botanical mixes and using a wider range of grains to create different base spirits.
Known as ‘New American’ or ‘New Western’ style gins, there is debate in some quarters about whether they should be called ‘gin’ at all. Whatever your stand point though, there’s no denying that there are some really exciting and original spirits being produced in the States within the gin category.
While many of the smaller producers have yet to begin importing on any large scale to the UK, we reckon that won’t last long, so keep your eyes peeled for some of these beauties in your local gin joint...
Death's Door Distillery, Middleton, Wisconsin
This classic style gin is made with just three botanicals - Juniper, Coriander and Fennel - and uses Death's Door's own wheat and malted barley vodka as a base.
FEW Breakfast Gin
Few Spirits, Evanston, Illinois
This gorgeous variation from FEW uses Earl Grey tea to impart a hit of bergamot and citrus - and if you want to take the 'Breakfast' name literally, who are we to stop you...
New York Distilling Company, New York, New York
Names after our favourite, acid-tongued gin fan, this delicious gin combines classic juniper notes with cinnamon, hibiscus and elderberries to create a fragrant, floral tipple.
Koval Dry Gin
Koval Distillery, Chicago, Illinois
Launched in 2008, Koval was the first distillery to open in Chicago since before Prohibition. This light, crisp, summery gin was worth the wait - and we love the label too!
Waterloo Antique Barrel Reserve Gin
Treaty Oak Distilling Company, Austin, Texas
This barrel-aged gin has a dark, caramel hue, which is reflected in its sweet, almost rum-like aroma. The taste is smooth, spicy, woody, even leathery - as the producers say, "A gin made to drink like a whiskey may sound crazy, but wait until you try it."
Aviation American Gin
House Spirits Distillery, Portland, Oregon
A New American style of gin and proud, Aviation combines ingredients including lavender, Indian sarsparilla and cardamom with traditional juniper to create a beautifully balanced gin that works perfectly in its namesake cocktail, the Aviation.
Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Sheffield, Massachusetts
Name the best US Craft Gin by the New York Times in 2012, the deceptively simple labelling of this London Dry style gin belies its complex flavour, which includes a surprising hint of liquorice.