Of all the gin joints in all the world, I’m glad I walked into this one. I’ve toured wineries, breweries, cideries, distilleries and dairies, but I’d never been walked through the gin-making process until Friday night.
Alpine Distilling is presenting a special series of Friday night dinners at 350 Main in Park City where Alpine Distilling founder Rob Sergent explain gin and—party favor!—help you select botanicals to flavor your own bottle of gin which they distill while you dine and which you then take home.
The dinner is limited to four couples, because that’s all the stovetop distillery equipment Alpine owns. The set-ups are, to put it in girly terms for such gents apparatus—adorable. Each little copper alembic produces a bottle of gin. Kind of like a Mr. Coffee for gin.
Meanwhile, guests are given four shot glasses of different gins, taste the differences (if they can) and compare them to ‘aroma sticks,’ each one a different pure smell. With no visual clues, it’s surprisingly hard to tell roses from angelica. Who knew what angelica smelled like anyway? It’s like a dinner party guessing game—you try to identify the pure aromas as you sip each gin.
Not surprisingly, this gets harder and harder.
Of course, the main flavoring in gin is—and by regulation must be—juniper. But anyone who’s tasted gins as different as Ransome’s Old Tom and Tanqueray knows there’s more to it than one evergreen bush.
At different steps during the process, we would each be served a thimbleful of our gin so we could taste the different stages along the way to the final product.
Our own gin is flavored with juniper, coriander seed, black cardamom, ginger root, licorice root, orris root, rosehip, grapefruit peel and dried grapefruit zest and Egyptian chamomile.
We think it’s delicious and enjoyed it first in an Aviator cocktail:
gin, crème de violette, maraschino cherry liqueur and lemon juice.
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