JUNIPER GREEN ORGANIC LONDON DRY GIN
The bottle’s label — in its retro fontage and botanical illustration — rocks. And with a taste, I’m swooning over the delicious spice of this green-hued spirit. Spence Nelson, resident master sabreur at Brookline’s Wine Gallery, declares Juniper Green “a rich, yet light, style of gin with a slightly lesser proof. The nose is of dry, spicy juniper, with a good dose of angelica on the palate.” In addition to mixing the gin into martinis, take a shot at constructing a most stellar G&T. Splurge for Stirrings sugared tonic — and avoid corn syrup. “I find that Juniper Green likes to be tonicized in a rocks glass, about 2 1/2 ounces gin to the same quantity of tonic with a slice of lime,” concludes Nelson. “An organic lime, that is.”
Half-shaken Martini, courtesy of Spence Nelson Fill your shaker with ice and add 1 1/2 ounces of dry vermouth. Shake gently a few times to coat the ice and then strain out all of the vermouth. The vermouth can be poured down the drain, since the amount left clinging to the ice cubes is sufficient to flavor the drink. Now add 3 1/2 ounces of Juniper Green gin and stir gently (this doesn’t melt the ice so quickly) until cold. Strain into a well-chilled martini glass and give it a couple ginormous Spanish olives.
[Available at Wine Gallery, 375 Boylston St., Brookline. 617.277.5522. $24.99/750 mL. wine-gallery.com]
SQUARE ONE ORGANIC VODKA
“It should smell somewhat like a bakery,” remarks H. Ehrmann, Square One Organic Vodka’s brand ambassador, during our tasting. While sipping the 100 percent rye vodka, which is distilled in North Dakota with water from Idaho’s Snake River, I taste notes of spice, rye and sweetness. It finishes cozily, leaving the palate with zero burn. Even though I tend to prefer gin over so-smooth-it’s-bland vodkas, Square One deftly turns the tables with artisan distillation.
The grassroots mentality runs deep. Launched in June 2006, Square One is comprised of four employees, with the corporate headquarters based in founder/CEO Allison Evanow’s house in California. Ehrmann owns and runs Elixir, San Francisco’s first and only green-certified bar. And Square One’s eco-consciousness is all-encompassing — even the post-distilled rye is formed into cakes to be sent to organic farms to serve as animal feed.
We scored a sneak-sip of their organic cucumber vodka, due out in October. The flavor is spot-on, the effect green and refreshing. “We’re only a success if people like the quality of the product,” Ehrmann says. “What it comes down to is what’s in the bottle.”
Country Thyme, courtesy of H. Ehrmann
In a mixing cup, add a handful of fresh berries (blue, huckle or black) and 1/2 ounce organic lemon slices. Muddle to juice both. Add 1 ounce Square One Organic Vodka, 1/4 to 1/2 ounce organic agave nectar and ice. Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds. Take three sprigs of fresh thyme and slap it between your palms to release the oils. Place two sprigs in the bottom of a 10-ounce highball glass and fill with ice. Strain the cocktail over ice and place the last thyme sprig on top of the cocktail as a garnish; it should stick out a bit, like a small straw.