Gin Makes a Comeback: Cascade Mountain, Hendrick's, Reval and Van Gogh
by Staff

It's official- after a couple years of vodka craziness, gin has begun to regain ground among the spirits talking class. More and more articles are popping up and singing praises of gin. And with good reason. We prize vodka for being smooth or nutty and soft. We laud gin for its crispness. A perfect example- the other day one of our writers found himself in a balmy bar, shirt and jacket on, tie tight to his neck. Among business colleagues, he really couldn't afford to start

Van Gogh

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pouring sweat. When it came time to order a drink, he chose what might be the most cool and refreshing drink of all- an iced gin and tonic with lime. Sure, vodka and tonic is nice, but without the juniper and other cracking herbs, it just doesn't deliver the same chill. Below we've rated some interesting gins, some a little familiar, some brand new to the market, and one that's just odd.

Reval Gin (80 proof)- fresh from...Estonia? Yep- Estonia. And why not? Though many folks think that gin came from Britain, it's origins really aren't that clear. Indeed, more and more it sems that gin might have been frist cooked up in Holland. But who knows- the point being that no nation can claim any monopoly on producing good gin. The British, French, Dutch and now the Estonians have all done it. Reval is an almost vodka-ish gin. It is quite soft- nothing like the edgy Beefeater. It's viscous, and has a soft floral nose. The juniper is very modest. In the mouth it is, again, soft, and almost earthy. Though it did quite well in a gin and tonic, Reval is probably even better in a martini- one can just imagine how nicely an herbal vermouth like Vya would dance upon it. (Rating ***3/4) Reval is made by Remedia distillery in Kiiu, Estonia (who also make Mor vodka) and comes to America via Reval Trading International, Annandale, Virginia. You can read more about Reval at

Van Gogh Gin (94 proof) is a super premium gin from Holland made by Dirkzwager Distillery. It boasts ten botanicals, including grains of paradise, cassia bark, and cubeb berries. While we aren't sure what those taste like and so couldn't detect them, we can tell you that the juniper was prominent, as was coriander, almonds and liquorice, especially. A real explosion of flavor, and snappy crisp. A very impressive gin and one that is spectacular with tonic. Damn near perfect. (Rating *****) For more information on Van Gogh gins, surf to To order Van Gogh Gin, click HERE.

Cascade Gin (95 proof) comes from, imagine this, Oregon! Oregon has emerged in the world of wine, so why not gin? Cascade Mountain Gin is made by Bendistillery, the same artisans who craft Crater Lake vodkas and Desert Juniper Gin. Unlike nearly every other gin, it isn't utterly colorless- there's a slight straw tint, that is claimed to be the result of using natural juniper and not bothering to try to filter the color out. Cascade is a light flavored, drisp gin. One of our gin loving tasters described it as fabulous and swears by it, using it to make martinis and gin and tonics. Though 1 higher proof than Beefeater, it isn't bracing. It's soft. Nicely done. (Rating ****1/4)

For more information on Cascade Mountain Gin, surf to

Hendrick's Gin (88 proof) is one of the most interesting spirits we've seen in some time. The packaging is superb. It carries an image of "British" comedic, irreverance mixed with late Victorian scientism. A little pamphlet included in the cylinder contains diagrams showing brains, cucumbers, skulls attached to spines and little notes with dry comments like, "A strong backbone is often displayed by Hendrick's drinkers." All this Monty Python-like goofyness, yet, Hendrick's isn't quite English, it's distilled and bottled in Ayrshire, Scotland. Hendrick's describes itself as "A most peculiar gin." No argument there- it does taste of cucumber, but this is mild and balanced against juniper, coriander and rose. The Cucumber seems to give it an almost creamy texture. Thus, don't garnish it with a lime and make yourself a crisp gin and tonic, no, mix it with tonic and add a slice of cucmber. Strange? You bet, but very enjoyable and utterly different. (Rating ****1/2)

Hendrick's is imported by William Grant & Sons Ltd. of New York, NY. For more information on Hendrick's Gin, surf to To order Hendrick's Gin, click HERE.

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