To be called gin a product must have juniper in it, but beyond that all bets are off. Traditionally-made gins often have botanicals like coriander, cardamom, citrus peel, and licorice root to provide aromatics, a depth of flavor, and a long finish.
For a few years now, new flavors have been showing up in new brands of gin; particularly floral and new citrus flavors. Several years back we saw the introduction of Hendrick's gin, with its essence of rose, the cucumber-rich Martin Miller's gin, the lavender-forward Aviation gin, and the flowery grape-based G'Vine gin.
As these were so different from old-world gin, some people have decided to call this recent category "new Western gin." These are typically less stodgy and juniper-forward than traditional gins. As this term doesn't appear anywhere on the bottle, I don't suppose there is any need to memorize it.
In recent months, several more new Western-style gins have hit the market.
- Nolet gin is creamy and juicy, almost like orange rhubarb, with a strong floral aspect.
- No. 3 gin is closer to a traditional London dry gin, except it seem to have doubled up on the cardamom, giving it a bright, fruity flavor. Fans of Tanqueray No. 10 will probably enjoy this gin.
- Roxor gin is so far only available in Texas, but with its dominating grapefruit flavor and spicy finish I have a feeling it will catch on in other areas soon.
- CapRock Organic gin uses an apple spirit as its base, instead of the typical grains like wheat.
All the brands mentioned here are worth a try. Some of these gins might seem a bit too flowery for your typical Martini, but will probably perform better in a Gin & Tonic or a fresh lime Gimlet instead. Or you can try the recipe below for the delicious cocktail that was sent to me by Nolet's gin. Of course it comes with a catch: even if the new gin is available in your local liquor store, you'll still have to find some feijoas.
NOLET’S Silver Feijoa Spritz
1.5 fl. oz. NOLET’S Silver gin
1 Feijoa fruit
.5 fl. oz. Elderflower Liqueur
Remove the skin from the fruit and muddle the core with Elderflower liqueur before adding NOLET’S Silver and giving the cocktail a dry shake, which means shaking without ice. Pour the contents over ice in a rocks glass and top with soda water. The fruit’s green outer layer or a lime wedge can be added to the side of the glass as a garnish.
Preservation tip: Once the skin is removed, the fruit can be put in a lemon water solution to slow the oxidation process.