Saturday, November 7, 2009

Barfly's Beat: TNT - Hendrick's Gin

Hendrick's Gin from Scotlandby Fredo

Last Tuesday, I scampered out of work early and made my way to Alphabet City. My destination, the weekly Tuesday Night Tastings series at Louis 649 bar. I arrived early and secured a coveted bar seat. My usual "dug out" spot was already taken but I was hardly deterred. There was gin to be tasted. There was gin lore to be heard. And I knew the crowd was coming due to the write up in Tasting Table.

Jim Ryan, Hendrick's Gin brand ambassador, was behind the bar mixing up an autumn Pimms/Hendrick's punch as the place filled up. By sunset, Louis 649 was at capacity with thirsty folks. The packed house included bartenders from notable cocktail bars, drinks bloggers, spirits aficionados, industry folks, booze hounds, and the curious.

Once the punch was sorted out, Ryan presented the history of the hallmark brand from Ayrshire, Scotland. Hendrick’s is a small batch gin distilled produced by William Grant & Sons (the Glenffidich/Balvenie Scotch manufacturers). According to their website:

"The unusual distillation process combined with our oddly delicious set of infusions yields a one-of-a-kind gin that is passionately loved by a tiny yet growing handful of individuals all over the world. No other gin tastes like it because no other gin is made like it."

Jim Ryan spins Hendrick's tale
As Mr. Ryan described the narrative behind the Hendrick's brand, he encourage the crowd to participate in naming the botanicals which make up the gin. Thus, the tasting part of the evening commenced. We detected cucumber (of course), orange peel, elderflower, and juniper amongst many others. Understanding why this gin is special is an important part of the Hendrick's story and their "unusual" marketing strategy. They are not trying to compete with the other London dry gins, Plymouth, or the newly in vogue Genever or Holland gin. Hendrick's stands on it's own taste-wise because unlike other botanical heavy gins such as Bombay Sapphire, the infusions do not overwhelm the base spirit. Which means you can add this gin into a cocktail and it will add to the flavor profile not become it.

Jim's Autumnal Punch (Hendrick's Gin, Pimms No 2, Honey,allspice berries, cucumber slice garnish, block of ice)

Once our taste buds were awaken, Mr. Ryan concocted several Halloween inspired cocktails that I must add are tasty all year round.

Corpse Reviver 2009

3/4 oz Hendrick's Gin
3/4 oz Solerno Orange liquer
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz Lemon juice
Dash of Kubbler Absinthe

Combine ingredients in shaker, add ice, then shake rigorously. Strain into chilled coupe, no garnish required.

Satan's Whiskers
1/2 oz Hendrick's gin
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz dry vermouth (Jim substituted Lillet)
1/2 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
Dash orange bitters

Combine ingredients in shaker, add ice, then shake rigorously. Strain into chilled coupe, no garnish required.

: Louis 649 also announced the beginning of food service in November, so you can nosh while imbibing delicious libations. According to Eater: "they're letting local purveyors curate menu items, including herring from Russ & Daughters, pickles from Rick’s Picks, charcuterie from The Bklyn Larder, Washugyu beef sashimi from Japan Premium Beef, cheese from Saxelby Cheese Mongers, empanadas from Barnyard, and chocolate from Nunu Chocolates."

Louis 649

649 East 9th Street @ Ave C
New York, NY

Disclaimer: Loungerati was not paid nor received any gifts from Hendrick's Gin or anyone associated with the brand or Louis 649 in exchange for this write up. We frequent the TNT at Louis 649 to learn about spirits and experience well crafted cocktails.

1 comment:

  1. I don't find Hendricks that easy to mix with at all. It's way too perfumy and the rose and cucumber are not real infusions like real London gins, they are artificial. Once you have done the basic cucumber martini you find its a restrictive gin. Better of sticking with the real Londons.