Dr. Drink's Apothecary

Because we serve people, not drinks.

Sin & Gin


I have a friend and colleague in Austin who has a few ‘truths’ he lives by when drinking.

1. You can drink them cute, but you will never drink them skinny. (For the sake of my wife’s liver, I need to get back in the gym.)

2. Never attend events with open bars. Always pay for drinks. It’s much safer. (I understand this, you understand this. Remember your cousin’s wedding reception last fall? No? Point made.)

3. Gin, gin, it’ll make you sin. (I’m a sinner.)

We are awash with gin these days. Plymouth has returned, Genever is back behind the bar, and New Westerns keep introducing botanical potpourris. It’s goddamn Sodom & Gomorrah behind the stick.

You think you hate gin. Your wrong. What you really hate is the college memory of mixing cheap gin (that was barely better than the bathtub variety of Prohibition past) with purple KoolAid and the deserved reaction of your body expelling it. You hate it because, besides the KoolAid incident, the only time you’ve had gin is in a Gin & Tonic and it was made with cheap gin and artificial tonic water out of the bar gun. And you think you hate gin because your local bartender’s only skill set is opening bottles of beer (my seven year old can do this, he’s not a ‘bartender’) and has no idea on how to mix a proper cocktail. Find a real bartender.

Ok, a quick primer and history of gin.

1. It’s flavored predominantly with juniper berries (you knew that) usually harvested in Tuscany where Italian monks first began infusing spirits with it to combat the Black Plague during the Middle Ages. Didn’t work, but patients probably were less concerned about their erupting boils and bleeding orifices if they drank enough.

2. The Dutch rule the seas and spice trade in the middle of the last millennium. They have lots of spice in storage. Plant based items go bad if in storage too long. If you store such items in high proof spirits, they don’t go bad. If you store juniper, cassia, cardamon, and citrus fruit peel in spirits you’ve made gin.

3. The English hate the French. They start taxing imported spirits (Cognac) heavily. They allow any citizen to distill their own booze. Juniper covers up bad kitchen distillates, so does turpentine and it kinda tastes like juniper. Everybody does it. Everybody is drunk and poisoned. England rethinks its position on unlicensed distilling.

4. Guy in Scotland invents column still that produces very clean spirits. Guy in Ireland patents it. Guy in England starts using column still and distilling traditional gin botanicals in the third pass through the still. He invents London Dry gin.

5. The cocktail is invented in the US. Bartenders use malty Dutch gin and sweetened Old Tom in recipes. England doesn’t understand cocktails, or ice in drinks. But, they have a lot of people ‘civilizing’ India. It’s hot in the jungle, they keep getting malaria, and their teeth fall out from scurvy. Copious amounts of gin lets them forget about hot jungle filled with tigers, tonic water contains quinine which helps with the malaria, lime contains vitamin C which keeps their teeth in their head. The Gin & Tonic is born.

6. Prohibition declared. Poor distillates abound on the Black Market. Sears & Roebuck sells juniper oil in their catalog. Juniper covers up bad taste of poor spirits. The bathtub has a new use.

7. Three Martini lunches. Everybody is very sophisticated.

8. The rise of Vodka nearly kills gin and whiskey in the US. Vodka begins to infuse flavors. Unfortunately its with Bubble Gum and Whipped Cream artificial flavors.

9. Bartenders around the world start teaching people to drink better. Gin is saved.

10. Dave Rigo & Greg Lehman release their bourbon barrel aged gin from Watershed Distillery.

Ok, so maybe that last one won’t go down in all of the history books. But it’s great gin. Myself and a few bartenders on the North Coast got a sneak peak of it before its release into the wild next month. The Cliff Notes on it is that they are aging their signature Four Peel gin for one year in used Wild Turkey barrels. They will be using their own bourbon barrels once… Oops, thats still a secret. Anyways, I was truly impressed their aged gin. The botanical’s edges round out and the florals on the nose are accentuated. We mixed some up as a variation on the Martinez and it showed wonderfully. I’ve always liked using their gin in the Rosewood Snapper and look forward to trying it with the aged version. Now, fair warning, only two cases a month are coming to Cleveland for a while and it may be hard to find. You might want to book a tour of Dave and Greg’s distillery in Columbus and try to talk them into selling you a bottle.

Now go sin.



33 comments on “Sin & Gin

  1. Mei
    August 25, 2012

    I love your friends three “truths”! Especially #1….which reminds me…I should hit the gym to make up for this weekend. :/

    • Joseph DeLuca
      August 26, 2012

      Thanks for taking time to comment Mei; the ‘truths’ have served me well.

  2. SassyCat
    August 25, 2012

    Reblogged this on Hot Child in the City and commented:
    I used to drink gin, back in the early 90’s. Gin & I had a falling out. Maybe, I just might need to try some gin again just as something different to drink when I go out.

    • Joseph DeLuca
      August 26, 2012

      Thank you so much for the reblog. When I have the privilege of teaching young bartenders or guests I always encourage them to have a spirit or cocktail they have never had as their first drink of the night; they can then return to their Popcorn flavored vodka and Miller Lite for the rest of the evening. You never know when you’ll find a new love!

      • SassyCat
        August 26, 2012

        pretty tired of the same ol stuff. flavored vodka and not a beer drinker at all. yuk. I tend to lean towards, fruity, sweet drinks. Go through moods where I will drink a certain brand for a while. Then I get bored and start to look for something new. Oh, you’re welcome for the reblog :)

  3. bigyogalove
    August 25, 2012

    Thank you for this post. Often, I hear others decrying gin rather than descrying it. It is a wonderful, variable spirit, which my in-laws always encourage me to explore. Right now (as in right this very moment as I type right now) I’m enjoying Spy Hop Gin, brewed in the San Juan Islands and full, very full, of florals, and given to me by my sister-in-law. Gin is so much fun. Nice post and congrats on the F.P.

    • Joseph DeLuca
      August 26, 2012

      Thanks for commenting and sinning with gin. Remember what Papa said about drinking and writing – “Write drunk, edit sober.” Now I have to search out Spy Hop…

  4. Katherine
    August 25, 2012

    I love those rules! Theyre so true!

    Personally, I’m more of a rum drinker, but I will have to give gin a try.

    • Joseph DeLuca
      August 26, 2012

      Aaah, a ‘Kill-Devil’ fan. I’m a fan of myself, the funkier, the better. Find a good bartender that can pull off a real Singapore Sling; made with gin, it is a faux tiki drink that most people think is made with rum.

  5. Time-traveler
    August 25, 2012

    I always said that Gin will make you walk funny. Like the post, and congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    • Joseph DeLuca
      August 26, 2012

      Ha! Thanks for the congrats – nobody is more surprised than me.

  6. wewerenothing
    August 25, 2012

    Hello???? No mention of Hendricks? Now THAT’s a sin!
    P.S. Cali way, we have a gin distilled in very small batches, called Junipero. Check it out sometime!!!

    • Joseph DeLuca
      August 26, 2012

      Wow! Anchor’s Junipero and Hendricks are the opposite ends of the spectrum of gin expressions. You must be a sinner!

  7. Tom Domzalski
    August 26, 2012

    Yeah, I’m with you on the near death of gin with all of these rotten flavored vodkas available. The last atrocious combination I heard was from a gym rat friend of mine who only drinks water by day because “anything else is just empty calories.” She favors blueberry vodka and pineapple juice with a splash of tonic. I responded by saying that a Hendricks martini will do you better.

    I also like your axiom that gin will make you sin. I’ll add that to collection which currently includes…if tequila makes your clothes fall out, then whiskey makes the truth come out.

    Great entry.

    • Joseph DeLuca
      August 26, 2012

      “If tequila makes your clothes fall out, then whiskey makes the truth come out.” – This is certainly going to be the title of a post very soon! Thanks for the encouragement.

  8. theinfinitejourneyblog
    August 26, 2012

    Lol @ not drinking them skinny!

  9. abhuxley
    August 26, 2012

    At long last sir, an article concerning gin! Whilst I am chuffed that you have beaten me to the post I am overjoyed at the quality and readability of your piece. Cheers sir, this one’s for you.

  10. samamuella
    August 26, 2012

    Not that.. I’m even old enough to drink. But 1. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed and 2. Your voice. I loves it.

  11. Kerry Dwyer
    August 26, 2012

    I love Gin, and the French. I have a French husband who gets very drunk on my gin and tonic Jelly each time I make it. He hasn’t quite got used to having alcohol as food. I do use top quality gin and good tonic when I make it with a little lime. Nothing like it!

    • Joseph DeLuca
      August 26, 2012

      As I first read this I was thinking US jelly not UK jelly and wondering what my children’s school would think if I used this on the wee beastie’s toast tomorrow… What a great idea; Ferran Adria would be impressed.

      • Kerry Dwyer
        August 26, 2012

        Yes I think so.
        hmmm – Gin and tonic jelly sandwiches, that would keep them quiet for an hour or three.

  12. Blaze Farrar
    August 26, 2012

    I just toured St George’s Spirits in Alameda, CA. They have 3 gins, all interesting! Loved 2 of them… ;)

    • Joseph DeLuca
      August 26, 2012

      I love St. George, they are leading the way for small batch producers in the US.

  13. brokenballerina
    August 26, 2012

    … Makes me wish I was over 21. Thanks though! It was truly informative and gives me something interesting to look forward to. I think that alcoholic drinks always have a history and for all that past, there should be a museum. Might be a problem with all the things to taste, the history at the end might be slightly neglected. I wonder how many kinds of drinks there are… Oh, now I am rambling. Thanks for the post!

    • Joseph DeLuca
      August 26, 2012

      There is a museum! Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans is a nonprofit that collects and curates our American cocktail heritage. Thanks for the comment.

      • brokenballerina
        August 26, 2012

        Awesomeness! *Adds to bucket list* Thanks!

  14. stylekenton
    August 26, 2012

    I love learning about history when peoplewrite about it like this. Go time-lines! Go sinning! Go whiskey! Give me more lessons on history please. That is all.

  15. Pingback: Sin & Gin « MyBlissPoint

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This entry was posted on August 23, 2012 by in Gin, Spirits and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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