Warwick Rustic American Dry Gin
Distillery: Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, Warwick, NY
Style: Amercian Dry Gin
Availability: Northeast U.S. primarily
Words and Photos by Jim Trotman
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.
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(lguapobitters.com), 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.