The old saying goes, “gin will make you sin”, and while I could argue that both ways from personal experience, my general belief is that sometimes it’s good to be a little bad. My first attempt at drinking outside the box was actually a gin cocktail, the Tom Collins, maybe you’ve heard of it? The mixture of botanicals along with the citrus of the lemon and crispness of the club soda pretty much put me on my path to becoming a professional drinker. With the cocktail industry trending more and more towards flavored spirits, it’s funny that we sometimes forget about thee “original” flavored spirit.
This week we had a chance to sample a small batch gin from a spirits company based out of the midwest. Two Birds Artisan Spirits, a Michigan-based craft spirits producer, is the brainchild of Nate Jonjevic and Ryan Bailey, two Michigan natives passionate about crafting unique, delicious, small-batch spirits. Their debut spirit, Greyling Gin, was a Gold Medal winner at the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and is easily helping give Michigan another thing to be known for. The name itself, Greyling, comes from the silver scaled fish, once plentiful in the waters of Michigan. They’ve since gone extinct from pollution and over-fishing.
When I first saw the name “modern” in it’s title, I actually was a bit worried. We’ve had more than our fair share of fly by night brands and flavors using gimmicks that promise a unique twist on a favorite, and usually ending up screwing it up. So what makes Greyling “modern”, and why is it different or better than the rest? That’s what we wanted to find out…
Tasting Notes: The theme for Greyling is simplicity. It isn’t over the top with an abundance of botanicals, which can make or break your gin. Instead, it focuses on a select few that give it an amazing taste and aroma. The unmistakable sweet & floral notes of their Michigan grown lavender are what really make this gin, not surprising considering the popularity of lavender in American gins.
The difference in this one starts on the nose. What’s the first thing you notice about a gin? The smell. Its pretty distinct and can even be perceived as harsh. That’s the juniper making its presence known. With Greyling, the usually harsh juniper berries are mellowed out with a soft floral aroma. We opened up a bottle of Sapphire for comparison and the difference in aromas are distinct. The trend continues in its taste. It’s definitely still juniper forward, but the sweet lavender and citrus balance it out well with coriander in the back end. Important to note here is none of the botanicals overpowers another and all serve a purpose. When it comes to mixing cocktails, we loved the taste of Greyling. We enjoyed it in a classic G&T, but we can imagine it would work well in a citrus-y gin punch as well. I even recommend trying it on its own with just a few ice cubes and maybe a squeeze of lime.
Price: $28 (750/ml)
Overall: So I guess there’s more to Michigan than football and craft beer. Can’t think of anything bad to say about this one. It’s tasty, its versatile, its local, and its at a decent price. Greyling is now available in Missouri, Michigan and online. If you are interested in finding out more about Greyling or how to get it in your local bar, liquor store or restaurant please feel free to visit them at www.twobirdsartisanspirits.com