From Farm to Bar: New York State Gins for Gin Lovers
Updated: Jan 19
In this most unusual of summers, we have stayed local to New York and explored our backyard distilleries. Upstate New York has amazing scenery, beautiful lakes, and a trove of unique wineries, farms stalls, and of course distilleries. Each distillery brings its own signature to their products and the taste compilation is a romantic effort. Here are three favorites among our recent discoveries.
Lockhouse Sakura – Buffalo, New York
The creators of Lockhouse Sakura is the Lockhouse Distillery located in Buffalo, New York. They are proud to boast that they are the first distillery to operate in Buffalo since Prohibition. Unique tastes abound in their repertoire of barrel aged gins, amaros, liquors, and even bitters. We were fortunate to try their Sakura gin, which is gently distilled with cherry blossoms and other botanicals. The taste opens with the light botanicals that is clearly refreshing. At the end of the sip, there is a mild earthy finish that rounds out the taste. Although a little light on the juniper, the other botanicals give the gin a well-rounded taste as a martini. We enjoyed it with a garnish of a sprig of thyme.
Isolation Proof Gin – Bovina Center, New York
This has to be one of the most aptly named gins for these times, but it also is one of favorite discoveries this year. The botanicals are the star in refreshingly crisp gin. Bovina Spirits claims that its gin is distilled in isolation one batch at a time in a barn located in the Catskills. This secluded approach works to bring out the hint of citrus from the lemon peel which softens the juniper, coriander, and angelica. The unique addition of the peppery cubeb — a possible intentional throwback to the early Dutch genever — adds that hint of spice to awake your palate as it makes a wonderful martini.
Core Gin – Hudson Valley, New York
Harvest Spirits uses apples from Golden Harvest Farms in upstate New York to produce a gin that is uniquely New York. The gin is produced through a four-step process in which hard apple cider is distilled three times before botanicals are added in the fourth and final step. As a result, the crisp taste of apples remains front and center. Our preferred gin cocktail is a martini. The boldness of the apple is overpowering for a classic martini, but we found that it was the perfect base for a gimlet. We made a special birthday cocktail for a close friend who loves gimlets, and she adored her celebratory drink. Lime juice and simple syrup mellowed the apple taste without disguising it. Paired with the right tonic and an apple garnish, this gin would also make a brilliant gin and tonic.