Booze Traveling with Gin: How and Where to Try It Around the World
Planning a trip? Take a page from Jack Maxwell’s book and find out how the locals enjoy their gin. You don’t have to shine shoes (as he did as a kid in Boston bars), but you should definitely stick around for a few stories.
Barcelona: Bobby GinAlberto Pizarro, bar manager at Barcelona’s Bobby Gin, notes that Spaniards’ love for G&Ts is a many-splendored thing: “It’s a refreshing drink for hot summers; it’s a long drink that suits the Spanish taste; it’s used as an appetizer but also a digestive and a fancy drink.”
Bobby Gin’s most popular version is made with Hendrick’s and lemon thyme; bargoers also clamor for cocktails with Modernessia, a Spanish gin, infused with goji berries. (Click here for a sneak peek of Jack Maxwell’s trip to Barcelona.) 960 1280
London (and Iceland): Martin Miller's GinMartin Miller’s Gin became the world’s first “super-premium” version of the spirit in the late ‘90s, when its namesake (once called “the Richard Branson of the antiques world”) resolved to topple vodka in his countrymen’s affections. Distilled in the UK (in ‘Angela,’ a century-old pot still) and combined with volcanically filtered water on a fjord in western Iceland, Martin Miller’s has admirers wherever G&T is spoken. Find it in its second home at Slippbarinn, on the harbor in Reykjavik (and find more of Jack Maxwell’s Icelandic favorites here); to reimagine classic cocktails, reach for 9 Moons, a barrel-aged gin the Martin Miller’s team decided to develop after mixologists at a Scottish gastropub in New York City (are you following all the globe-trotting here?) barreled it themselves. Recreate that “aha!” moment with a new take on an Old Fashioned (2 oz. 9 Moons gin, 1 tsp water, 2 dashed Angostura bitters, 1 sugar cube). 960 1280
Chicago: Letherbee GinLetherbee’s Brenton Engel began distilling in Chicago back in 2007, when he cooked up “Illinois Joy”—moonshine—in his basement. These days, he and his team produce barrel-aged absinthe, Fernet, Bësk, and a take-no-prisoners flagship gin; call it anti-craft craft distilling. “Our ‘botanical-forwardness’ is actually a direct reaction to all the new American gins that were starting to come out years ago which, in my opinion, were mostly too light, floral, whimsical, fruity and expensive,” he says. “I wanted to make a robust gin that could stand up to the bold food ingredients I was using in my cocktails.”
Letherbee also distills limited-edition Vernal and Autumnal gins; this fall’s Bloody-Mary-ready, borscht-inspired run of 2,500 bottles is made with beets, dill, black pepper, caraway and cumin. The beauty pictured here, in turn, is the Thai Derby from Melody Nelson Bar in Berlin (6 cl Letherbee gin, 4cl lime juice, 2cl honey syrup, and a dash of Angostura bitters, shaken, strained, and garnished with sage and a pinch of Ceylon cinnamon). Thirsty for more in Chicago? Visit Gold Star Bar, one of Jack Maxwell’s favorite cash-only dives. 960 1280