Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Damson Gin Coming to U.S.

England likes gin. They have London Dry Gin, Plymouth Gin, Sloe Gin, Damson Gin.

Wait. What was that last one? Damson Gin. It's similar to Sloe Gin, only it's made with damson plums, not sloe berries. Damsons are smaller, tarter and more acidic than regular plums. On this side of the pond, we all know damsons from the higher-priced, imported jellies and jams we see lining the shelves of our local boutique food purveyors. But in England, Damsons are also used to make a sweetened, gin-based liqueur. Plymouth used to make a Damson Gin.

There is currently no Damson Gin in the U.S., but that will change in the next few months. Scott S. Krahn, who represents Eric Seed's Haus Alpenz catalog of unique liquors, has been toying with a recipe for the stuff in upstate New York, where damsons are grown. The fruit comes from a farm in Geneva, NY, and he enlisted Finger Lakes Distilling to execute his formula, which he expects to release commercially in July.

The Damson gin is lighter, tarter and has more of an alcoholic bite that Sloe Gin. (Krahn bottles it at 33% alcohol; Plymouth Sloe Gin, by contrast, is 26%.) I cautiously predict that it will quickly become the cocktail mixer of the moment soon after it hits the shelves. It delivers a flavor profile unlike no other currently available liqueur.

The product currently has no name. (See the bottle with the blank label above.) It will be priced at $25.

And speaking of Sloe Gins, Hayman, of Old Tom Gin fame, has a fine Sloe Gin, but at present it's only available in the UK. It's lighter, less viscous than the Plymouth version. Worth bringing in one of these days.

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