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K&L Staff Recommendations
The romantic story of Monkey 47 gin is as follows: in 1951, a British man named Montgomery Collins moved to Germany's Black Forest and opened a guesthouse named "Zum wilden Affen" -- the wild monkey. A renowned gin drinker, Collins' taste for the spirit was not particularly renowned until renovation work at the country guesthouse led to the discovery of a weighty old wooden box containing a bottle and a letter. The dusty bottle had been labeled and decorated by hand, showing a sketch of a monkey and the words "Max the Monkey - Schwarzwald Dry Gin" in bla... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "The nose offers wave after wave of botanical and floral perfumes, with the end bouquet focused on cucumber and spring garden floral scents. The palate entry is moderately oily, semisweet and gently herbal; the midpalate stays spirity, vegetal and earthy. The aftertaste features juniper with a dry and minerally undertaste." (11/2006) K&L Notes: We love this new gin coming from Scotland. This handcrafted gin has been infused with cucumber and rose petals. Very aromatic with a smooth sweet flavor and very long length. Try it over ice with thin slices of cucumber!
From St. George distillery: Terroir Gin is our ode to the wild beauty of the Golden State. Distiller Lance Winters has a passion for exploring place and memory through distillation, and the aromas of the coastal forests on California's Mount Tam were what inspired him to start making gin in the first place. Terroir Gin has an intense earthy, woodsy nose and flavor derived from Douglas fir, California bay laurel, and California coastal sage complemented by bright, citrusy top notes. This is a unique and proudly Californian gin with a sense of place and po... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "Although the “Botanist” name might suggest a floral gin, instead the flavor profile veers toward herbs and spices. There’s a subtle, herbal scent, with anise flavors up front, backed by coriander seed and cassia bark on the spicy finish. Made by Bruichladdich Distillery, which is renowned for its Scotch, on a pot-still named Ugly Betty. Sold in an attractive, square-shouldered, gift-worthy bottle." (4/2012) K&L Notes: What happens when you take one of the great single malt distillers of all time, put him in a room with an old Scottish pot still and have him make gin ... Read More »
Specially bottled for Berry Bros & Rudd in London, this gin was created to exemplify the classic London Dry style. Unabashedly juniper-driven, the riveting No. 3 gets its name from the historic home of Berry Bros No.3 St James Street in London, where they've been operating continuously since 1698. The No. 3 pushes tradition to the extreme using a simple 3 fruit and 3 spice recipe. The nose is all citrus and piney juniper. On the palate the juniper is balanced perfectly with spicy coriander and verdant cardamom. The finish brings the earth telltale prick... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "Bartenders will want to experiment with this lovely, lightly floral gin for spring cocktails. It has a light touch, from the citrus scent to the sweet flavor that finishes with a bouquet of rose petals, violets and honeysuckle. One of a trio of new gins from this small-batch distiller." (4/2012) K&L Notes: From St. George distillery: "Botanivore Gin (our "botanical eater") earned its name because it's loaded with botanical ingredients. We distilled 19 different botanicals to compose this spirit (no small feat!) and the resulting gin is beautifully balanced and vibran... Read More »
We just picked up an exciting new local distiller called Venus Spirits, located in nearby Santa Cruz. Sean Venus has taken over the old Sarticious space and installed his own 600 liter Spanish alembic still to make a number of interesting concoctions. It's a snappy, fresh, citrus-oriented spirit at a very good price point. The creaminess of the gin is quite lovely and the lavender comes strong on the finish. Certified organic as well, so all of the botanicals come from a good place. Easily one of the most-polished and easy-to-like small production gins w... Read More »
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "A soft, classic gin, ideal for Negronis and a wide range of other drinks. Overall, the flavor is neutral, but it has a touch of sweetness and complex underpinnings of pine, citrus and black pepper. Because it’s so versatile, this workhorse is recommended for anyone starting to build a bar." (4/2012) K&L Notes: Plymouth Gin was started in 17933. Plymouth makes their gin on an ancient site, a 16th-century Dominican Friary where Miles Standish and the Pilgrim stayed the night before they set out for America. Plymouth Gin, at 82.4 proof, is a very smooth gin. It is trip... Read More »
I'm always amazed what can be accomplished with grain neutral spirit and just a few simple botanicals. In the case of Beehive's Jack Rabbit Gin, the addition of sage and rose petals to the standard juniper recipe creates an absolutely beautiful balance of spicy, savory, and floral. Located in Salt Lake City (not exactly hard liquor country), Erik Ostling and his team at Beehive Distilling have set up shop in one of the least-friendly places in America for alcohol production, yet have managed to thrive in spite of their challenges. The Jack Rabbit Gin sta... Read More »
96 points Wine Enthusiast: "*Top 50 Spirits of 2011* A soft and refined standout. Bright, citrusy aroma. This supersilky gin has a big licorice and juniper twang and a slight quinine flavor- in other words, it cries out for tonic water. The sweet, lingering finish evokes pink peppercorns, citrus peel and white wildflowers." (4/2011) K&L Notes: Citadelle Gin from France is filled with 19 different botanicals from all over the world. It is distilled four times and filled to the brim with flavor, this gin is clean, smooth and very refreshing. From the Beverage Testing Institute: "91 points. Layer... Read More »
Sipsmith is the first new copper-distilled London gin to actually be made in London in the last 200 years--as most production has moved to Scotland for economic reasons. The boys at the distillery have awoken a new movement of pride in London distillates the term "London dry gin" is actually a type of gin that can be distilled anywhere as long as it adheres to the rules. Sipsmith, however, is London through and through. Done in small batches on a copper alembic, the lighter, aromatic flavors shine through and the gin itself is more elegant and diminutive... Read More »
90-95 points Wine Enthusiast: "The nosing passes find generous notes of citrus zest, juniper berry, orris root, licorice, coriander and angelica. The palate entry is bittersweet, intensely grainy and speckled with licorice and orris root; at midpalate the flavor turns delightfully herbal. Finish is decidedly herbal/leafy/seed-like and, finally, bittersweet. An adult gin with an adventurous attitude." (9/2006) K&L Notes: No. 209 Gin is the brainchild of the Rudd family, who own both the Rudd Oakville Estate Winery and the gourmet market Dean & DeLuca. A departure from traditional, juniper-heavy gin... Read More »
Notes from Anchor: "Junípero Gin is made by hand in the classic "distilled dry gin" tradition, utilizing morethan a dozen botanicals in their natural state, in a small copper pot still at our little distillery on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. The history of gin goes back at least to the mid-1600's in Holland, but its true antecedents are much earlier, those first experiments in the ancient and mysterious art of distilling in the presence of herbs and spices. The predominant flavor and aroma of a modern gin will always come from juniper (dried berries of... Read More »
Very, very limited quantity! Get it while you can. K&L spirits buyer David Driscoll calls it the best gin he has ever tasted...ever. The botanicals in North Shore's No. 11 Gin add fullness without taking away from the leading role of the juniper berries. The balance is remarkable and lends itself well to classic cocktails from a time when gin was king. When it was first released this gin was available exclusively to restaurants and bars. But after numerous requests from consumers who had No. 11 at their favorite dining spots, North Shore was kind enoug... Read More »
This lovely new gin from the Raff Distillery on Treasure Island celebrates the lives of the two most famous dogs in San Francisco history. Luckily for us, it does not take it's flavors from the same story! Instead, they begin with 100% grape brandy from California. This is redistilled with a wonderful mixture of botanicals, Juniper Berries, Orris Root, Coriander Seed, Angelica Root, Bitter Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, Cinnamon Bark and Licorice Root. The product is an fully balanced, yet full powered gin with spicy undertones and a subtle finish. Just like t... Read More »
Batch two of Sean Venus's tremendous gin uses juniper, cardamom, orange, fennel, coriander, bay leaf, sage, peppercorns, and ages that formula in American oak for a mellow and creamier profile. The orange really gives it a lift. A Negroni is definitely calling my name.
Our newest product from the amazing Old World Spirits. It is a totally modern style of gin, focusing on citrus peel and coriander for the botanicals. Made locally (just down the street in Belmont), this is the ultimate gin for classic cocktails that use lemon or lime juice, as the botanicals in Blade really seem to enhance the citrus flavor of these drinks. Try making a Corpse Reviver #2 or a Blue Moon with some Creme de Violette and you'll see what we mean. This is the best gin to hit our shelves since North Shore!
94 points Wine Enthusiast: "A relative newcomer to the gin landscape, this is the proper gin to use for a Tom Collins cocktail. It intentionally leans sweet, but it’s balanced with the right amount of alcohol bite, a lightly piny scent, and faint herbal and citrus peel notes. If using this 19th-centurystyle sweetened gin for other cocktails, be sure to hold off on adding sugar." (4/2012) K&L Notes: Old Tom Gin is a botanically-rich and slightly sweet version of gin that results in a balanced and mild tipple. This is ideal for a variety of classic cocktails, such as the Martinez, a San Francisco... Read More »
This wonderful product from the wild mind of founder & beekeeper Todd Hardie, is one of the most interesting and innovative spirits I've tried this year. Using a base of grain spirit and juniper berries, this gin is intended to showcase the complexity of the Barr Hill Honey that Todd works so hard to cultivate. The honey is added just before bottling and adds a supple floral and slight earthen quality. It's absolutely not overtly sweet and really shows off the magnificent array of flavors that exist in nature's most delicious concentrated form of energy,... Read More »
Wine Enthusiast: "The 55% abv blue label is one of the strongest and most expensive gins on the market. Look for the trademark faint yellowish-saffron tinge and herbal scent, with assertive pine and anise flavors and a tart lemony touch. Serve this overproof gin tamed with ice and lots of tonic." (4/2012) K&L Notes: Old Raj Gin is distinctive in that it contains a measure of saffron, the rare and costly spice derived from the crocus flower. In addition to the slightly spicy flavor, this also imparts a pale yellow color. The subtle, aristocratic botanical mix (starring, of course, juni... Read More »
Aviation Gin is a unique partnership between Lee Medoff and Christian Krogstad of House Spirits Distilling in Portland, OR and mixologist Ryan Magarian of Liquid Kitchen in Seattle, WA. Believed to the first collaboration of its kind, Aviation Gin evolved from a friendship and mutual passion for the culinary artistry found within the realm of spirits and cocktails. Aviation Gin is made in the full bodied Dutch Style of days gone by with 100% rye grain neutral spirit and what can be simply described as a “botanical democracy” of Juniper, Cardamom, Cor... Read More »
Is it whiskey that tastes like gin...or gin that tastes like whiskey? The new release of the single barrel Rusty Blade Gin from local Belmont, CA distiller Old World Spirits is back in stock and better than ever. Davorin was so successful with his first little K&L experiment--aging gin in cask like a whiskey--that he decided to make it a full time production item! K&L still gets the largest allocation though because we were the first store to carry it. I believe this is one of the best and most unique gins ever made. Citrus, juniper, vanilla, baking spic... Read More »
With the revival of sweet vermouth cocktails like the Martinez, Negroni, and Tom Collins, comes the revival of the original sweet gin: Old Tom. Our own Anchor Distillery in San Francisco (just down the street from our store) is already renowned for its Junipero gin and now adds the slightly-sweet Old Tom recipe to its portfolio. Just a hint of sugar on the entry, before the herbaceous notes kick in and the spice picks up on the finish. For fans of gin cocktails with added sweetness, this is the dream gin you've been waiting for.
Handcrafted, hand-bottled, hand-labeled, and hand-numbered, this small batch gin is truly unique. First, it is an American gin. Master Distiller Todd Leopold handcrafts every batch in a small 40-gallon copper still, blending uniquely American botanicals like hand-zested Florida oranges and California pummelos. These components lend citrus notes to the gin, and help distinguish American gins from their English counterparts. Second, all the botanicals are distilled in fractions, meaning that each component of is distilled separately and then blended to cre... Read More »
Very, very limited. Get it while you can. North Shore's Gin No. 6 is extremely smooth, with a complex balance of citrus, spice and floral notes. North Shore creates No. 6 (90 proof) by infusing their grain-based spirit with hand-selected botanicals from all over the world, along with fresh lemon zest and lavender blossoms. If you have never tasted this gin, or you think you don't like gin, we strongly recommend trying it neat (straight) before mixing it into a cocktail or martini. This will allow you to smell and taste its complex nature. We know you wi... Read More »
92 points Wine Enthusiast: "One of a new trio of gins from this small-batch distiller, the Dry-Rye version has a bold, warm caraway scent and assertive notes of juniper and black pepper, finishing with peppy, lingering citrus flavor. Would make for a complex G&T." (4/2012) K&L Notes: From St. George distillery: Dry Rye Gin has twice as much juniper in its recipe as either of the other two St. George gins, and a base of pot-distilled rye that provides structure and spice. Warm bass notes of pepper and caraway give Dry Rye Gin an intriguing depth of flavor, while the rye provides a sweet maltines... Read More »
The story of Diep 9 Genever is particularly interesting. During World War I invading German armies stripped Belgian genever distilleries of copper stills and piping, melting down the metal for shell casings. This brought traditional genever production to a halt, almost ending a national tradition in Belgium. The distillery's founder, Frans De Moor, lost his life in 1914 when he refused to relinquish his copper pot still to German occupiers. He was executed in full view of the public on the town's bridge and stabbed with a bayonet to ensure his death. Aft... Read More »
Ransom spirits is a one man, artisanal distillery in Sheridan, Oregon run by Tad Seestedt. The Old Tom gin is all done on an alembic pot still, and it is an historically accurate replication of what people were drinking in the 1800s and during the golden age of American cocktails. (Cocktail historian David Wondrich collaborated on the project.) It has just a touch of sweetness, a golden amber color and is made from malted barley and corn. Make the original Martinez cocktail with the original Old Tom Gin. One of the most fun products we've played with t... Read More »
Notes from Anchor: Genevieve Genever-Style Gin is an offshoot of our research into the history and evolving production methods that led to modern gin. In the late 19th century, technological advances enabled distillers to produce neutral spirits at very high proofs. When re-distilled with complex blends of juniper berries and other natural botanicals, these neutral spirits were transformed into what we know today as modern "distilled dry gin". The earliest gins, however-which came to be known as "genever" (or "Geneva gin," or "Hollands gin," or "Schieda... Read More »
Miller's Gin is handcrafted and made in very small batches. It is then transported by ship to Iceland. Here, in the small village of Borgarnes, on Iceland's remote west coast, lies the Selyri spring, source of some of the purest water to be found on earth. This spring water is blended with the spirit to create a marriage of softness and clarity of taste. Westbourn Strength 45.2% abv. This is a delicious, herbaceous, London dry style gin that adds another great value to our shelves. Gin and tonics galore!
93 points Wine Enthusiast: "A soft, classic gin, ideal for Negronis and a wide range of other drinks. Overall, the flavor is neutral, but it has a touch of sweetness and complex underpinnings of pine, citrus and black pepper. Because it’s so versatile, this workhorse is recommended for anyone starting to build a bar." (4/2012) K&L Notes: From the Beverage Testing Institute: "Clear. Aromas and flavors of peppered cucumber, sweet custard, fresh herbs, lemon verbena, and vibrant juniper jelly with a satiny dryish medium body and a seamless, warming, white clay, pepper, pine, root and grassy herb a... Read More »
90 points Wine Enthusiast: "This gin features an astringent, lemony scent and crisp feel. At first, the flavor is sweet and piney, but finishes relatively neutral and dry. Gift-worthy, masculine packaging..." (4/2011) K&L Notes: Intense and vibrant, this new English gin has captured the hearts of gin lovers worldwide. This gin is "Cold Distilled" where a vacuum is used to reduce the pressure within the still. This lowers the boiling point to an incredible -5 degrees celsius. By not using any heat to distill, Oxley captures the puriety of its botanicals like no other product available.
Sean Venus has agave azul from Jalisco crushed and cooked in Mexico, but then contracts a tanker of liquid to be trucked up to Santa Cruz where he can ferment it at his distillery. He then distills a 100% blue agave "tequila" from that fermented juice. It's peppery, savory, spicy, and FANTASTIC. So creative and so delicious. I LOVE this stuff. (David Driscoll, K&L Spirits Buyer)
Eleventh generation heirs, Carl Jr. and Bob Nolet collaborated with their father, Carolus Nolet Sr., tenth generation distillery owner, to create a fresh take on gin that appeals to a new generation of gin drinkers. Floral and fruit-forward, the Silver uses some unique ingredients like Turkish rose, peach and raspberry. Perfectly integrated and delineated, these flavors work wonders together and can be coexed to the foreground by a thoughtful mixologist. A modern twist on the classic dry gin designed to enhance all you classic cocktails and inspire you t... Read More »
From Luxist: "Lucas Bols, the world's oldest distilled spirits brand originally established in 1575 in Amsterdam, has relaunched its Dutch Genever gin, a white spirit created almost two centuries ago. The word 'gin' has disappeared from the new bottle in favor of 'grain neutral spirits.' as the old world Genever bears little resemblance to the dry London gins we're familiar with these days. Bols Genever is made by blending a unique distillate called maltwine with a carefully selected secret blend of botanicals; the result is a superior quality spirit wit... Read More »
This high-octane, full-throttle gin is loaded with herbacious character and tons of bitter citrus peel. Even at 57%, it doesn't feel overproofed, but rather in total balance. This is not the standard Leopold formula with more alcohol. It's an entirely new formula for people looking to make serious cocktails. Try it in a Tom Collins or gin and tonic and taste how wonderfully concentrated the flavor is!
During World War I invading German armies stripped Belgian genever distilleries of copper stills and piping, melting down the metal for shell casings. This brought traditional genever production to a halt, almost ending a national tradition in Belgium. The distillery's founder, Frans De Moor, lost his life in 1914 when he refused to relinquish his copper pot still to German occupiers. He was executed in full view of the public on the town's bridge and stabbed with a bayonet to ensure his death. After seeing Frans De Moor shot and stabbed to death, his wi... Read More »
The Genius Gin from Austin, Texas is one of the best new craft spirits I've tasted in years -- and the price is right where it should be at $29.99. Austin is one of the most up-and-coming cities in the United States, with a cocktail scene and farm-to-table culture that now rivals San Francisco and New York. In 2011, Charles Cheung and Mike Groener created Genius Gin -- a cane-based spirit made entirely from scratch in a tiny warehouse with a tiny still. Utilizing years of tech industry experience, Genius ferments, distills, and bottles with immaculate at... Read More »
One of the best bargains for quality spirits we carry at K&L in any category. The Royal Dock Navy Strength gin is bottled at 57% alcohol because that's what "Navy Strength" was to the royal seamen working on behalf of her Royal Majesty. Gin rations were once a right of all serving officers and to make sure the crown wasn't watering down their hooch, they took it at full blast. Try making a gin and tonic with this lovely, herbacious and expressive gin and watch the sparks fly!
In the holday spirit, our friends at Beehive Distilling in Salt Lake City had sent us a special batch of their new Barrel Reserve gin in thanks for being their sole California outpost. Made with "wood, fire, and patience", the barrel maturation brings out the baking spices and softens the sage into a delicate and easy-to-drink flavor. We've seen this type of thing before with the Rusty Blade and Ranson Old Tom, but never has it been this inexpensive and this tasty. A real holiday treat for gin fans.
Inventory: Redwood City
A delicate and lighter style of London dry styled gin made in France. An improvement to the well-liked Citadelle and packaged in a beautiful bottle.
Inventory: Redwood City
Caledonia Spirits has a commitment to producing products that showcase their incredible reliance and relationship to the land. These are truly agricultural products that use the highest quality locally grown inputs. This wonderful Old Tom style gin is aged for 3-4 months in new charred oak barrels. Using the same technique to integrate the honey perfectly into the spirit that the standard gin uses, but with a bit more sweetness and all those wonderful charred oak flavors. It's truly a special spirit. Unfortunately, the numbskulls at the TTB have decided ... Read More »
Mahon, like Plymouth, is one of the few gins to have a geopgraphical designation. Gin de Mahon is made on the island of Menorca, one of the Balearic Islands which can be found to the East of the Spanish peninsula, and has been in production there since the 18th century. It can only be made from two ingredients: juniper and alcohol. For that reason, the Xoriguer gin is one of the purest juniper flavored gins available. By the 20th century, a number of brands began to emerge such as Xoriguer, increasing the popularity of the gin across all of the Balearic ... Read More »