Jumping Junipero Gin!

10 Feb

After I am done being a lawyer, I would like open up a coffee shop where I could help people wake up to hot cups of artisanal coffee.  I would also like to open restaurants, a jazz club, bookstore, a bar or two, and, if my other money-draining schemes have not bankrupted me by that point, open a winery, brewery, or distillery.

If I chose to open either a brewery or distillery, I would do well to take as an example the esteemed Anchor Brewing Company, the world-renowned San Francisco establishment that started the craftbrew movement (with the help of Maytag heir Fritz Maytag, apparently!).  Not only are they great at brewing delicious, delicious beers such as my personal favorite, Liberty Ale, but they are great at distilling quality, small-production spirits like whiskey and gin.

junipero-ginNow, about the gin.  Funny story about the gin.  I went down to the post office on M Street with my friend Bill and, quite on a whim, decided to visit Bell Liquor and Wine Shoppe, which happens to be right across the street.  I bought a bottle of chenin blanc from Francois Chidaine that I’ll be saving for some Thai food, but while heading up to the counter to pay spied a few bottles of the Junipero Gin from Anchor (in its incarnation as Anchor Distilling Company).

I had heard a lot about this gin, notably from Eric Asimov’s gin-tasting column in The New York Times.  Junipero Gin ranked high in that tasting, and was characterized as “smooth, clean and very dry with assertive, classic flavors of juniper and citrus: a martini with one eyebrow raised.”  They did drink their gins in martini form, however, while I simply tried some of the gin first on the rocks and then with Fever-Tree tonic water.  (I was too lazy to cut up a lime.)

Wow.  Assertive, definitely, sort of like me with the ladies after a few drinks (heh heh heh…).  On the nose juniper and a bit of pepper; smells high-alcohol.  This gin clocks in at 49.3% alcohol, which means it’ll get you drunk pretty damn fast.  I’m feeling it already, even after just a glass of gin and tonic.

The two most significant things about this gin: very assertive juniper taste with a grapefruit/citrus finish, and a full, oily mouthfeel.  I don’t mean these in a bad sense.  These are very, very good, and make for good drinking even on the rocks.  The taste, if you were to have it on the rocks or neat, is very similar to bisongrass vodka, though instead of ending on spice and pepper you end on citrus, and instead of a jagged burn you end with a smooth warmth down your throat and into your stomach.

I like this gin.  I would serve it alongside Tanquerey, which is still my favorite “common” gin.  Tanquerey is much lighter and cleaner, with a more pronounced mint/citrus profile.  Tanquerey is more refreshing because it is lighter and would thus make a better summer drink.  The Junipero is something I would drink in a classy bar, or, in this case, shirtless at my desk at 12:10 am.  Get a bottle if you can find one!

RETAIL: approximately $30-$35

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4 Responses to “Jumping Junipero Gin!”

  1. theeatenpath February 11, 2009 at 12:33 am #

    Wow, $35? That’s a steal compared to Old Portrero 100% rye at $70. I’ll have to go find some Junipero and try it with the St Germain…

  2. greg November 11, 2009 at 12:42 am #

    having a junipero martini now with some french vermouth and some jalepeno olives.

    very very dry and delicious. Love anchor beers and the gin is great!

  3. Gillis Heller January 21, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    Tastes like crushed juniper berries in vodka — way too strong a taste with dry vermouth, much less neat. But in a martini with sweet vermouth and a large, briny olive it’s interesting. Juniper Green is a lot easier.

    • vinicultured January 24, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

      You know, I really enjoyed this gin on the rocks with a large squeeze of lime. Although I didn’t make this into a martini, I think I would agree with you that the resultant taste would be overpowering.

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