Barr Hill Gin: made with raw honey
Vermont-based Caledonia Spirits distills Barr Hill Gin in their custom-built botanical extraction still. They use only three simple ingredients: base corn spirit, raw honey and juniper berries. (The raw honey comes from Todd Hardie’s 1,900 hives.)
The addition of honey in the recipe does, technically, make Barr Hill Gin part of the Old Tom Gin style. This style includes a sweetening process originally used to mask the harsher, rough under-distilled base spirit. Since Barr Hill uses a neutral corn spirit as the base, the honey sweetens as well as adding additional flavours, depending on when the honey is harvested. (Honey character varies from season to season).
In this sample, Barr Hill Gin pours a lovely light yellow – almost like a white wine colour. Rubbing alcohol overpowers the nose, softened by notes of pine and cucumber. It is off putting at first, but settles once your nose gets used to it. In the mouth, it burns (probably due to the 45% ABV), so don’t drink it straight if you have dry lips… or recently burned the roof of your mouth on pizza. After you’ve recovered from the shock of the first sip, you’ll find pine notes in the mouth with honey and juniper playing along the palate. The pine flavour bursts into the foreground when it’s mixed with tonic. It’ll linger for quite some time.
Barr Hill Gin is truly a gin lovers gin. It also works very well in cocktails (try one of Caledonia Spirits’ Kettlebell recipe below).
Barr Hill Gin / $75.50 per 750ml bottle
1.5 oz. Barr Hill Gin
0.75 oz. Amaro Meletti
0.25 oz. Luxardo Maraschino
0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
0.5 oz. honey syrup (2:1 by weight)
2 dash grapefruit bitters
Combine ingredients in mixing tin, add ice, shake, and double strain into coupe. Garnish with an orange twist (also a thyme sprig, if available).