Gin Gents

Everything about gin!

Forgive us..we have ginned: A Christmas gift idea!

So far, Gin Gents has not accepted any advertising and we continue that policy with this post.

Thanks to Google, Amazon and a dozen other sites that track ‘cookies’, 80% of the free world knows I like gin.

“I” being Russ!

So it was not surprising that ads for these tee-shirts started popping up on numerous websites I frequent!

I loved it and I think some of you will also.

Here’s the link for the men’s shirt:

The ladies shirt can be found here:

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays from the Gin Gents!

And no, we didn’t receive any compensation for this post!

Denver Dry Gin is a mile high winner


Gin: Denver Dry Gin

Distillery: Mile High Spirits

Price: $19.99 in Colorado, $20-$29 elsewhere

ABV: 40%

Style: London Dry



Story and Photos by Jim Trotman

Jim’s take.


Tale tell that Russ was fond of this one is that it arrived at my doorstep (actually a little faux hard plastic bench, painted to resemble one made of mortar so when you go and sling it over your shoulder to move it to the next location  has those around gasping in awe, jaws drop audibly at your manliness) only about 40% full.

We put the bench there because if Russ just set it on the concrete when he was done, well, that just isn’t Kosher.

I discovered it midday on a Wednesday. As I still had work to do, I decided a taste would come later, but a little sniff wouldn’t hurt anybody. That sniff was clean, pure and light. I thought at the time that all signs lead to me liking this one.

I do.

I poured a tad into a shot glass. A swirl left the barest hint of viscosity. A sip gave the immediate sense of combustibility. A gin drinker doesn’t go into this business looking for a fire extinguisher. He or she looks for kindling with some decent fat wood to guarantee a spark. Denver delivered.

On the rocks, the deliciousness came on full force, in a deliberate, balanced manner. Boom! There’s the juniper. Boom! There’s the coriander. Boom, there’s the mint? (Just a note, but present) Boom! There’s the refined pepper. Boom! There’s the citrus note. And overall, tongue-hugging warmth that lingers, lightly.

As a big fan of the great state of Colorado, I am happy to report this gin brings back the glory that was clouded by Golden Moon a couple of reviews back.

I’m good for 4 Winstons.

It appears the bottle has been redesigned since we purchased our sample. Photo from, where, if you don’t live in a state that prohibits out-of-state retailers shipping in those spirits, give it look here:

Russ’s likes it too…


Photo by Jim Trotman

Jim was right. (Sheepish grin). I passed on less than half the bottle and it was damn hard giving that up!

We’ve tasted two gins from Colorado that didn’t pass our smell (or taste) test making Denver Dry a welcome change of pace.

Straight up in a shot glass, the gin revealed a juniper and pine nose with light citrus and pepper notes. Denver Dry was crystal clear, evoking images of pure Colorado mountain water.

On the palate, the one attribute the Gin Gents hold dear–a central (but not overpowering) role for our beloved juniper. In synch with our favorite London Dry gins from across the pond, the requisite berry was well balanced with a nice mix of citrus and– as on the nose– hints of pepper. And as Jim stated, the citrus note that stood out for me was lime rather than the lemon hints the distillery says are present.

But no matter.

This is a smooth gin and I put it through its paces. Shaken as a martini, a style I tend to avoid. On the rocks. In a gin and tonic with the quinine heavy Schweppes, where it held its own, and then with the lighter touch of Q Tonic, where the flavors and smooth presentation were able to shine and show why this gin can hold its own with some of the U.K.’s finest.

All of that testing also serves as an explanation of the reduced rations passed on to my Gin Gent brother. I felt the gin required a full exploration before I could strongly endorse the stuff.

My favorite cocktail for Denver Dry turned out to be in the classic and all-but-forgotten Gin Rickey–a drink composed of freshly squeezed lime, club soda, and, optionally, simple syrup. Refreshing was an understatement.

And the price, especially for those in Colorado, is a bargain as a check of several online shops revealed $19.99 as the going rate. I had to buy this one in Virginia and it must have been a special order for the state-owned ABC store, as it sat all by itself on the ‘special’ rack, priced at $26.

No matter what cocktail recipe is your favorite for gin if you want to save some money and try “Made in the U.S.A” Denver Dry is a winner, If I ever come across it again, I’ll buy multiple bottles if they’re available.

4.5 Churchills!

The GrabOpener: Another cool gin (or other beverage) accessory

By: Russ Lay

A few years ago I was attending the Outer Banks (NC) Brewfest in Nags Head, NC.

While the two dozen craft brewers from North Carolina and other nearby states were the primary reason I attended, the vendors offering other products from koozies to Yeti-style drinking vessels are also some of my favorite stops.

And that is where I found the GrobOpener, a pretty novel tool for prying off bottle caps as well as stubborn flip tops on cans.

But let’s be realistic. This is a bottle opener we’re talking about, and at around $16 a throw, it’s also an extravagance.

Most of us who have a serious interest in beer probably have a ton of bottle openers in that kitchen or bar junk drawer, including some novelty varieties from bars and breweries.

And in a pinch, most of us have used flathead screwdrivers, slots on the wheels or hubcaps of cars, a counter ledge or even a ring on your finger if strong enough.

And yet, the GrabOpener is still a pretty cool tool.

Its design utilizes leverage in such a way that a bottle cap can be dispensed with using only one hand for the entire operation. And the tab under the hole where the index finger goes can be used to get under and pry open those tabs on cans, particularly useful for those who keep their fingernails short and have trouble prying some of those tabs upwards.

The GrabOpener also comes in six colors for the $16 basic model. For $20 there are two colors with a scratch-resistant coating and if you upgrade to the $30 version, the prying mechanism is steel-toothed, guaranteed to open, I suppose, titanium bottle caps with ease.

You can even find a special edition pink version with the breast cancer symbol on it that is no longer available. I found one on eBay and when originally offered, a portion of the proceeds was donated to breast cancer research.

The openers are magnetic, allowing them easily adhere to the fridge or any other metallic surface. The magnet also holds the bottle cap to the GrabOpener, reducing litter and easing disposal of that which separated you from your beer, soft drink or in the case of my video, a fancy-schmancy bottle of tonic water.

Do you need a GarbOpener?

Absolutely not.

But it’s a fun little device and like the gin & tonic diagram glasses we featured last month, a great conversation starter.

Their website can be found at and they are also easy to find on Amazon and at craft beer shows and specialty beverage shops.

Feeling lazy? Gin and tonic glasses for dummies

By Russ Lay

I admit it.

Sometimes I can be incredibly lazy and eliminating even one small step from mixing a drink is worthy of investigation on my part.

After all, every second one spends crafting and mixing a cocktail is another second you could be drinking the cocktail.

And so a few Christmases ago, my sister gifted me a pair of gin and tonic highball glasses from that took away not only one step in the mixing process, but also some guesswork if you want to mix a fairly accurate G&T.

Called ‘Diagram Glasses’, the outside of the highball glass is labeled for the correct amounts of ice, gin, tonic, and even the lime wedge.

Just fill the glass with ice to the top of the ice cubes drawn on the exterior, add your gin to the level indicated, then the tonic to its marked level.

Put a lime wedge on the rim and you’re done. No pouring gin or tonic from bottle to shot glass and then to highball glass.

I find I usually don’t even need to stir the drink as the shape of a highball glass forces mixing once you add the tonic water.

The glasses not only remove the guesswork from mixing a G&T (and yes, I realize it’s not super-difficult to make a G&T with a shot glass) but they’re relatively attractive and I find them to be conversation starters.

While women almost always ask me where I got them, a few guys also thought they were cool and did their own research to discover they also make diagram glasses for a vodka tonic, margaritas, mojitos, and even mimosas.

I’ve only seen them on the uncommongoods website, where you’ll also find a short biography of the designer, Alyson Thomas, a former Department of Homeland Security attorney!

They sell for $25 a pair and you can read all about them and their creator by clicking here!

OPIHR Gin: A spicy London Dry

OPIHR “Oriental” London Dry Gin

Distillery: G & J Distillery, Warrington, U.K.

Price: $32-$36

ABV: 40%

Style: London Dry



Report and Photos by Jim Trotman


When my eyes first connected with this bottle, I totally missed the “Oriental” under the name. When you see the letters, “OPIHR” you are going to be occupied trying to figure out how to pronounce it. I did, however, spot the lettering, in an electric blue,“London Dry Gin,” and it made me smile.

“Oh thank you, Jesus, we are back in the realm of realness! “

Somehow, I managed to totally not register the funky psychedelic elephants>

Got her upstairs and pulled the cork. “Ah!” Reassurance we were onto something good.

It does smell great. Would it be a sin to dab a little as aftershave? There it was, the scent of a solid London Dry…. But hey, what is that? Something hinting toward the exotic? Something a little smoky?

Poured the slightly viscous gin into a shaker, tossed in some ice and gave a shake until the vessel was too cold to hold. Poured it into a tall martini glass and took it all in.

Great mouthfeel. Velvety and luxurious. A few notes of, what? Pepper? Yes! There, right with it is the toasty, sweet kiss of coriander.

About the pepper, this isn’t your frat rat buddy’s Pepper Flavored Vodka, which is most often the birthplace of very bad decisions. This is a pepper note akin the scent you get at the first grind of a pepper mill filled with Indian Tellicherry peppercorns, which turns out to be exactly what they use.

Add to that the warm embrace of cardamom and a hint of citrus.

(He glanced again at the label.)


(He rotated the bottle around.)

There on the back was a map, a simplified chart of the ages-old spice trade centering on India. Well, Duh! Now it all made sense.

One’s imaginations (set free by the clear elixir) might land a one in the bar car of the famed Oriental Express, being handed a neat Opihr, and feeling happy about it, even if the route only took you as far as Istanbul.

A little web research reveals a few insights that are fun. On, I learn quite a bit. For instance, “Opihr” refers to a port somewhere along the Spice Route. King Solomon is said to have obtained all sorts of goodies from there including, but not limited to, apes, gold and peacocks.

So there is that.

All that said, this would be a “sometimes gin” for me. It packs a lot and more than two in an evening would be overkill. But one must admire the skill to slide a solid London Dry over just a skooch into the spiced gin realm.

Russ’s Review

Like Jim, I was finally glad to return to a gin that at least claimed the label of “London Dry”.

And Opihr didn’t disappoint.

Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering, it’s pronounced “Oh-Peer.”

I won’t repeat Jim’s recap of the spices involved and the Oriental connection the gin, he provides an excellent background.

But I will add some trivia before the tasting notes.

We’ve reviewed one other G&J Gin, Greenall’s and while it didn’t knock our socks off, we still enjoyed it and recommended it, especially for gin newbies.

I also learned from G&J’s corporate website that the company’s Master Distiller is Joanne Moore, one of the first females in the world to earn the Gin Master Distiller designation. Moore is responsible for Opihr’s creation and she oversees the distillation of Greenall’s, a gin which preceded her arrival.

Now–the tasting notes.

My experience was exactly the same as Jim’s.

When I popped the cork and poured a shot, black pepper and juniper were the first two notes I picked up.

On the palate, served over ice, there was my beloved juniper, out front, but sharing the spotlight with fresh cracked pepper with a hint of citrus, which I suspect comes from the coriander.

Joanne Moore, one of the first females in the world to earn the Gin Master Distiller designation. Moore is responsible for Opihr’s creation and she oversees the distillation of Greenall’s, a gin which preceded her arrival. (Photo from G&J Distillers website)

I actually finished my gin on the rocks, a style I usually avoid and enjoyed it immensely.

Next in the batter’s cage was my go-to gin option, the gin & tonic.

I tried it first with Schweppes tonic, a mass-producedOpihr tonic that is a little heavy on the quinine.

Opihr stood up to the challenge and not only did the juniper rise above the tonic, the pepper and coriander were present also.

Changing to one of the tonics that are marketed as higher end, in this case, ‘Q”, the essence of Opihr was even more noticeable as the quinine plays a lesser role in this brand of tonic.

Again, I found myself drawn to the pepper–not in a hot or burning manner, but expressed more as a slightly warm sensation that came across more like a light spice note on the nose and palate, while letting the juniper and citrus shine through in a nicely balanced beverage.

One more time into the fray, this time with El Guapo bitters mixed with club soda.

Bitters such as El Guapo are a new trend, using citrus and other herbs to offset the quinine’s bitterness. In this case we brought out El Guapo’s British Colonial Style Tonic Syrup.

This is a slightly thick concoction and must be used sparingly, about a 1/4 shot for a G&T is enough to add flavor to the club soda and not overwhelm the gin.

Once again, Ophir rose to the occasion.

Jim is a martini/rocks guy, and I can see where the pepper might be a tad much over the course of a night where your gin imbibing might pass two drinks.

But my style, to blend a gin with something else, be it tonic, lime juice, bitters, and club soda, this is a great twist on the London Dry.

It gave me the London Dry, juniper-forward taste I crave, but added pepper, citrus, and a lightly spiced overall mouthfeel to differentiate it from Bombay, Boodles and a host of other standards, go-to London Dry varieties.

I’ll be buying it again for sure!

Four Churchills!

And hats off to Ms. Moore for a fine gin!

Golden Moon Gin: Perhaps it should be called Tarnished Moon Gin


Distillery: Golden Moon Distillery, Golden, CO

Price: $40-$46

ABV: 45%

Style: Unknown


All photos by Jim Trotman

What Jim thinks…


There was a time, way back, when I was much more interested in rocks than anything else and was considering applying to the Colorado School of Mines for college.

There, young budding scientist and geologists are groomed to become those imbued with special expertise in the development and yea, even stewardship, of the Earth’s natural resources.

Then I picked up a camera and the dream changed. But back to Colorado…

The Colorado School of Mines is in Golden, Colorado. Golden is also home to Coors Brewing Company, the Colorado Railroad Museum and is the birthplace of Jolly Rancher candies. What’s not to like?

It is a dandy spot of real estate. Interestingly, though it was settled during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush in the 1850s, it was named, not for the yellow ore, but for one Thomas L. Golden.

It is located west of Denver and is notable for its two table mountains, forming its eastern boundary. The moon rises occasionally between these plateaus and the appearance gives rise to the charming term, “Golden Moon.”

The town motto is “Where the West Lives.”

Sadly, it is also Where Gin Dies. This is because when you open a bottle of Golden Moon Gin, born of that esteemed locale, you are met with a scent-rush of funeral flowers.

Now, Mom always said that if you can’t say something nice. Don’t say anything.

Well, I can say the label is pretty great. It is heart-shaped. We all love the heart shape, right?

And the graphic is way cool. It appears monotone in most aspects, but turn the bottle to an oblique angle to the light and dang if that moon does not indeed turn gold. That is as sweet a trick as one can possibly create on a gin bottle label.

But we were fooled before. Uncle Val’s has an equally cool label.

I think we could leave it at that. But, well, maybe one short photo series to end on a high note. This is yours truly having a sip of Golden Moon.

…And Russ is even less generous


Tilt the bottle sunward and the moon turns gold. Or golden. Whatever. The gin still tastes bad, however.

I’m flipping through my tasting notes and here’s what I wrote down:

“Lavender and earthy on the nose. Perfume also. On entry more lavender, a bare hint of juniper and some mint lingers on exit. Maybe some lemon. A little earthy in the mid-palate, maybe some corn? Reminds me of White Tiger from South Carolina. Something in the background reminds me of clear whiskey or a mild bourbon. Got to be the corn.

Oh yeah–this stuff sucks as a gin. ”

I’m not sure what this ‘stuff’ is supposed to be and I probably tipped Jim off a bit when I handed over to him, after my taste tests, a bottle that was 85% full instead of half (or more) empty.

I kept my mouth shut and allowed Jim to come to his own conclusions, which is how we do things at Gin Gents.

His first text, a few days later went something like “Oh my God, WT(offensive letter of alphabet  omitted) is this?”

He didn’t make a reference to the gin but I guessed and texted in response “Talking about that gin?”

Jim: “Is that what it is?”

Russ: “You could tell from the amount left in the bottle I wasn’t sorry to part ways”

And so it went.

I then looked at the online reviews.

I always visit one gin site that will remain unnamed, although it rhymes with “The Gin is In” and I wasn’t surprised their review almost exactly mirrored the description the distillery had on their tasting notes. The site that rhymes with “The Gin is In” almost always finds their tasting to match the tasting notes of the distillery.

Even if the distiller claims their gin tastes “vaguely like the ice and small rock particles in the rings of Saturn”, those guys will taste it.

But we don’t do that. We’re willing to flirt with the Dark Side. Darth, Voldemort, Reality TV. That kind of stuff.

I can assure you this tastes nothing like gin if your idea of gin even remotely comes close to, well, gin.

Nope. This gin is how I imagine lavender-scented laundry detergent would taste like if one could drink that safely.

Or, as Jim hinted when he mentioned the word funeral, it tastes as if every flower at a funeral had its scent extracted into liquid form and poured into a bottle labeled “gin.”

Hell, over ice the stuff turned milky white in both our tastings.

And tonic water, whether cheap, expensive or one of those fancy stand-alone mixers like El Guapo failed to get rid of the floral nose and palate.

But as a flavor infused vodka or a product to add to your lawnmower’s gas engine to give off a nice floral scent for your neighbors while ramping up your engine rpm’s, Golden Moon is your go-to not-really-a-gin gin.

Just don’t garnish it with a flower. The flower won’t be able to compete.

We give it 1/2 of a Churchill only because it didn’t kill us. So far.

Warwick Rustic American Dry Gin-A worthy addition

Warwick Rustic American Dry Gin

Distillery: Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, Warwick, NY

Style: Amercian Dry Gin

Price: $30

ABV: 40%

Availability: Northeast U.S. primarily


Words and Photos by Jim Trotman

We are clawing our way out of hibernation. Or Hiatus. We have lately been“Men-of-pause.” However you want to color it.

So Russ texted over our rather dusty connection and said he had a new one to try. “Well, g’head,” was my response.”

I got the bottle and read the label. “Warwick Rustic American Dry Gin.”


Been there with American gins, done that. Never got the damn t-shirt. But that is okay. I have been, on more than one occasion, surprised in a good way.

That was the case with Warwick.

Spent many a day searching through senior adult living complexes for my mother a few years ago. I must have stumbled across the name “Warwick” six times. Warwick Gardens, Warwick Estates, Warwick Arms. The name plays well for folks looking for a nebulous bond to a place embodying old world charm.

But the provenance of this gin indeed Warwick, New York. From Google Images, the little hamlet looks like as charming a spot as could be found in New York State. Warwick is also imbued with American historical significance. George Washington actually slept there.

That bottle is attractive, in a stout, roly-poly, old buddy of yours kind of way. The thumb-sized stopper lands home with a satisfying smoosh. The label is attractive.

American gins are a mixed bag, unlike, say, London Dries. One can become cynical after a tasting a couple of dozen with flavor profiles ranging from Bubble Gum to Pineapple to Aunt Betsy throat lozenges. Folks, this is what vodkas are for.

But here we have that occasional surprise. Warwick has that faintly medicinal smell of a good alcohol, with a waft of warm citrus. Sipped on ice, the mouthfeel is most pleasant and the aromatics step forth. Juniper remains the star but the cast is roundly supported with lime and lemon peel, coriander, and angelica root with a guest star role played by anise.

The ratio of this combination is a traded secret of course, but the sum total leads to an almost vanilla accent. Very rounded flavors of the sort you want to just snuggle with under the covers.

In this way, Warwick is a bit of an odd duck, but a fairly tasty odd duck. Very good in my opinion.

Well done, lads.

Russ’s take


As we’ve said umpteen times, we’re not big fans of the phrase “American Dry Gin”.

When I see a gin labeled “London Dry’ I know exactly what I’m getting. A juniper-forward gin that makes use of a handful of primary botanicals in addition to juniper, plus a few proprietary ingredients that fall outside the normal quiver of added flavorings.

Think Tanqueray, Boodles, Bombay and while each presents a slightly different twist, they still taste more the same than incredibly different–like the difference between Coke, Pepsi, and RC Cola.

‘American Dry Gin’ on the other hand seems to define nothing and encompass only the fact that the gin was ‘born in the U.S.A. and the result can be a gin that tastes like apple cider, a lavender flavored syrup or a spruce tree. Now we’re comparing Coke to Fresca or Pommegranite juice but placing all of them under the moniker “American Dry.”

All of which tends to make the Gin Gents more apprehensive than excited when we score a new bottle of boutique American gin.

Luckily, this time, Warwick, while an odd-tasting gin, came off a winner in our book.

The New York state-based winery/distillery only produces Warwick in small batches of 50 cases using a copper kettle.

What I noticed upon opening the bottle was a more citrus-forward nose–lime and lemon with some licorice or vanilla.

On the rocks, the lemon and lime hit you first, followed by the juniper. Not far behind, and lingering on the exit was the definite presence of licorice, which means that for me, the anise was very detectable. Others may walk away with a different take.

Regardless, the juniper still was quite noticeable and overall, Warwick presented itself as a good martini candidate that most gin drinkers would probably enjoy as a change-of-pace choice.

Mixed with standard, industrial strength Canada Dry tonic water, Warwick held its own and was able to overtake the tonic water and preserve its essential lemon, lime, juniper, anise characteristics.

Moving on to one of those boutique tonics you mix with a splash of club soda, in this instance, El Guapo, (https://www.e(, Warwick really shined and the result was a pleasing combination of tonic flavors mixing with the gin’s citrus, licorice and juniper notes tomy great enjoyment.

4 out of 5 Churchill’s for this one.



Distillery: St. Petersburg Distillery, St. Petersburg, FL

Style: New World/Florida emphasis

ABV: 45%

Price: $28-$30, hard to find outside of western Florida


Jim’s Review

Some endeavors you just have to love. St. Petersburg Distillery’s hometown pride is obvious. Sure, it would be easy to make hay on a location, but a once-over of their website and it is easy to see their civic love is genuine, and not just marketing schmaltz.
Okay… restraining myself from slipping too far into my Aunt Esther’s Yiddishisms but that may be difficult given subject environs.

Oy veh… For this, they made a gin? Okay. Really. I’ll stop.

Actually, this may be the most charming labeling on a gin ever. Yet on that count, we have been burned before. One of the best labels we have encountered, Uncle Val’s [Horses whinny in the background a la “Frau Blucher”) let us down. It seems sometimes the most plain and simply packaged gins win out. See Boodles (new label) Dingle, No. 209, etc. Those with more filigree tend to disappoint, with rare exception. That’s my schtick, anyway.

Not to be a noodge, but I will say here that this one lands in the middle. I will not seek it out, but for fans of American style gins, where juniper is but a sub-note and where florality is a big plus, Old St. Pete will find an audience. And, it has its merits.

For one, it is entirely welcoming on the first sniff. Pleasant floral tones backed up with citrus leaning heavy to grapefruit beckon. Now, when I want a gin, grapefruit isn’t tops  on my list of flavorings, but I also understand that dinosaurs like me are becoming scarcer and I don’t want to step on toes. No one is gonna call me a schmuck.

On a quick taste, one could chock up all the intermingled flavorings to being mostly anise, and I’d have a hard time talking you out of it. That was my first perception as well.

But on closer, undivided attention to tasting all alone with no interruptions, I found a more mellow, pleasing mouth-feel and was able to discern the some of the various flavorings and they were not altogether off-putting.

Still, as with other floral-heavy gins, that long aftertaste was a dud for me. I don’t mean to kvetch. Those who like flowery-herbal aftertastes will disagree. And I’m good with that, although those guys are Meshuggah.

Lucky for me, I had some Booth’s around to follow it up and wash that lingering stuff away. Gin should come, conquer, and vanish. These American gins just can’t seem to end their presence in a timely manner. If they can pull that off, they may get more converts from the London Dry community… as if they cared to.

Russ’s Review


I don’t usually like to poke fun at websites, but one gin-reviewing locale described Old St. Pete thusly:

“Crisp and clean on the nose, coriander chiefly, but a smidge of juniper on it as well. A little bit of sweet spice underneath it as well.

Assertive palate with loud botanicals. Juniper, sweet citrus, floral coriander, turning citrusy/spicy (but still coriander) mid-palate. Bitter grapefruit zest, orange and lemon a bit later, a momentary flash of anise/fennel, with a long spice-laden finish, cardamom rising from the ashes with peppery hints of nutmeg/allspice on the edges as well.”

Yes, and I’m surprised the soupcon of #2 pencil escaped them, as did the fact the lemons carried the distinct flavors only found in Mrs. Smerzanky’s small 3-acre lemon tree grove just outside of Estero. And, of course, all of those notes are on the product’s website, so no wonder they tasted them!

But let’s get down to the real world, where flavors don’t ‘rise from the ashes’ but go down in a gulp. Afterall, this is gin, not a single-malt whiskey. Or is it whisky?

But I digress.

On the nose Old St. Pete shows the promise of being a London Dry gin. There is a hint of juniper and citrus. And alcohol, which the folks at the other website apparently missed. Not sure how. It’s mild but present.

The label touts the use of Florida botanicals in addition to the usual suspects, in this case lemons, oranges and grapefruit. And all of that impart a ton of flavor, and I agree with Jim that the anise is there in some quantity. It comes across as licorice to me and I’m not a big fan of that in gin or those southern European liqueurs either.

I tried it as a martini and came away confused.  It is neither harsh nor hot—alcohol isn’t the problem. Nor is it overly floral or spicy. It it smooth with no bite.

But its damn robust and there are so many flavors in there it just doesn’t qualify as a gin martini in my book with OSP in the mix.

So I went a different route.

I tried it with Q Tonic, industrial strength Canada Dry tonic, and also mixed it into a Tom Collins.

It holds its own here and then some. Juniper is barely a trace, so it loses some interest for me right off the bat.

The cardamon isn’t rising from the ashes, it’s the lemon flavor and maybe a bit of cinnamon on the nose if you want to go that far sniffing your gin. You don’t need to dig deep to seek it out, but most of us just want to shake our gin gingerly over ice and pour into a martini glass, or add it to tonic water and expect it to taste, well, like gin.

When all is said and done,  the citrus elements seem just right for the torrid summer Florida heat, and it was in St. Pete where I sampled this during a very hot July visit. It does overpower the tonic and almost anything else you might mix it with, and some may think the anise and the aroma of cardamon might come across as floral.
I liked it enough to give it another whirl, but it isn’t a gin I’d go to first. But for some variety, it’s one I’d keep around when I wanted to change the pace.

My rating:


Tamiami Gin

Distillery: Florida Cane Distillery, Ybor City, Tampa, Florida

Price: $25

ABV: 43%

Style: ‘Above and between Old Tom, London Dry and New World”- Flordia Cane website description. Who are we to argue?


Photos by Jim Trotman

Jim’s Review


Holy Smokes. Tasting this small batch gin from Florida was a treat and interesting. Juniper was in there, but more subdued than say, a Booth’s, a crisp bit of cucumber made itself known, but as far as major flavors go, I must say it was smoke.

Yes, smoke.

Or was that an impression?

Or was someone burning something between Russ’s house and mine and I just caught a whiff of that?

The company stresses the base of a pure sugar cane spirit for the base. It should since the maker is the Florida CANE Distillery of Ybor City.

The folks at FCD are quite adamant (and proud) that this gin has only 4 botanicals to supply its flavor profile and not a word about any of them being smoked. Those ingredients, besides the cane neutral spirits, are: Organic Coriander, Cucumber, Juniper and Tangerine (yes, Florida tangerine.)

Like other distilleries who dabble in the gin world, their main product lines are several flavored vodkas. These folks also produce moonshine and whiskey. But I would not know anything about how those taste.

The gin was quite pleasant. My one qualm being the smokiness I detected was a little bit of a distraction, a distraction that I got over as the resulting empty bottle can attest.

The price of $24.99 for a 750 ml bottle places it right beside our gold standard, Boodles in affordability. My figuring is that Tamiami Gin will appeal to folks familiar with that region.

Fun fact: The name Tamiami is not a reference to any long gone American Indian tribe, but a contraction of the phrase, “Tampa to Miami.” I suppose that is better than the other way around.

Maimpa just doesn’t have that swing.

Russ’s Review

I was lucky enough to visit the distillery with my wife while on vacation, so we were able to sample everything–from their flavored vodka’s, which includes the aptly named Fire Ant, and a host of flavored moonshines.

Even with small samples, our palates were burned out so we purchased a mess of their products from the liquor store and brought them back to North Carolina, where one would have better odds of being hit by space junk than finding any Florida gins in our state-owned liquor stores.

I didn’t notice the smoke as much as Jim.

What I did discover was a fine balance between the juniper-forward style we love and citrus, which I’m beginning to appreciate as a background note.

Happily, it didn’t taste like a fruit-flavored vodka and even with coriander, it avoided any floral sensations.

I often describe wines that are light, reds and white, as “quaffable” versus the heavy, tannin-laden reds one pairs with steak, or the buttery, oaky chardonnays that pair with creamy sauces over pasta, seafood and the like,

Likewise, some gins are meant for sipping, especially in a martini, where you’re basically drinking gin straight up, others taste like jet fuel, and then there are those gins that are happy on the rocks without accompaniment, shaken and poured, or mixed with a tonic or other elixir.

Tamiami fits in there well. Sip it in the winter, or pour it into a tall glass with your favorite tonic and hang out by the pool.

Hell, I might even mix it up on the rocks in my 36-ounce Yeti and hang out on the deck all day!

As I noted, the juniper holds its own, with just enough presence to comprise three of the five basketball players on the court.

My next sensation was the presence citrus, which makes sense since we have Florida tangerine and coriander in the mix, but it was definitely in the background, where it belongs. And the citrus didn’t express itself as tangerine as much as it did a more bracing zip to the gin. It balances the juniper.

Exiting, the cucumber was there, but nothing as overwhelming as Hendrick’s, one of the few non-juniper forward gins I can drink.

It’s incredibly refreshing and I really want to get my hands on some more since I love the Tampa area and can pretend I’m enjoying it on a 70-degree winter day in Florida while it’s blowing a gale in 30-degree weather here on the Outer Banks.

I give this gin four Churchill’s.





ABV: 46

PRICE: $30



Russ was confused…but it got better!

Photo by Jim Trotman…this is the bottle at the time we tasted….

The first time out, I wasn’t much impressed.
Out of the bottle and on the nose it seemed to have a chemical/medicinal aroma, with definite floral notes.
It was hard for me to detect juniper or other typical gin notes.
But we were at a party and there were other distractions, especially to the palate.
A week or so passed and there was still three-quarters of a bottle left, so I popped open some Fever Tree tonic, sliced up a lime and gave it a second shot.
Hmm. This time it worked. Better. Not awesome. But improved enough I’d try it again if I lived in a state that wasn’t a desert of alcohol selection.
The distiller’s notes say both tarragon and anise are present. I like both in small quantities, but they both can be bitter and maybe that is what put me off with the medicinal or harsher aroma.
This time I could detect some vanilla and pepper and juniper. The juniper was more subtle than I like, but it was no longer overly floral to my nose or palate and it held up well to the tonic and lime.
It was growing on me.
Hints of orange came through, and yes, cinnamon.
It’s not juniper-forward enough for me to make it top shelf, but it retains enough juniper and traditional botanicals to keep its gin street cred..and if I can ever find another bottle–a second try.
But it still falls a tad short of the kind of gin I’d recommend without hesitation.

For now, 3 of these cigar-smoking Prime Minister’s, which means you should try it and see for yourself!

The bottle then traveled to Jim’s abode….

The batch and bottle # in case the distiller’s ever find our meager website! Photo by Jim Trotman

I must confess this is my second take on Brandon’s. At an informal get-together at Russ’s place last month, I sampled this Arkansas gin. I was put off by the smell, I didn’t like the taste and hated the aftertaste. Giving it a sniff, I got a nose-full of what I can only describe as medicinal. Like that mineral

At an informal get-together at Russ’s place last month, I sampled this Arkansas gin. I was put off by the smell, I didn’t like the taste and hated the aftertaste. Giving it a sniff, I got a nose-full of what I can only describe as medicinal.

Like that mineral smell you get from opening a bottle of vitamins…
But I went home with the bottle, to visit it again when in a proper reviewer mindset. Still, when I re-sampled it, I still didn’t like it. And I wrote about it. And I put it aside, with the notion to hand it off to Harold at a later date.

This Labor Day weekend, I found myself on Saturday with only about an ounce of my regular gin left and with the ABC store closed for Hurricane Hermine. How dare they?

So, while the winds were whipping, bending the trees to horizontal and whatnot, I reached for the Brandon’s bottle. And I deleted the previous review.

Now, I’m not totally reversing gears here, but I am making a slight turn from my earlier dismissive take. I willfully put myself in a floral, herbal mood to get past those first scents. Letting the

Apparently this os the new bottle as it is featured on the website.

I willfully put myself in a floral, herbal mood to get past those first scents. Letting the gin linger awhile on the tongue finally let the juniper come forward, but with a wicked heat. After four sips over ice, I decided this was a gin that begs one to explore the complexity of its botany. It is work and for some people, it may be worth it.

I’ll hand it to the folks at Brandon’s, this is a gin that will challenge you. All in all, the long lasting aftertaste, for me anyway, will prevent me from giving this one a thumbs up. Seriously, fifteen minutes after my last sip, and it is still there.

But I think very many others may actually like that sort of thing so I’m not going full negative here.

Don’t worry Harold, there’s still plenty for you to try left in the bottle.

Harold liked it too–even without noticing any juniper!

I like Brandon’s!  Who would have thought a good gin would be made in Little Rock?!?

The initial cork pop scent is a combination of fruit, cloves, cinnamon and other spices.

From a shot glass, it was pleasant, smooth, (especially for 92 proof) and a little spicy—interesting enough that I tried more, and liked it more.

On the rocks, plain (my normal) it was really nice – not traditional gin tasting but pleasant and very smooth.

I can’t decide if it’s more flavored vodka-like or a really smooth gin like Boodles, although Boodles is clearly more distinctively gin.

I liked it so much I never added tonic.

Although I detected no Juniper, but a lot of fruit and spice flavors, they balanced well,  and I could drink a lot of this one!