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209 Gin, Kosher for Passover edition

March 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Greetings sports fans! Trying to get back on the ball here with regular blogging so here’s a new post for y’all, and since it’s Passover season in the wine and spirits world, I’m kicking it off with a post about a relatively new gin on the market that is OU certified for Passover consumption.

It’s from distillery No. 209 in San Fancisco. So how did they make a gin that was kosher for Passover? Simple, instead of using a grain-based spirits for the gin (details below), they used a sugar cane base.

So how is gin made? You start with a spirit base (usually it’s a “grain neutral”–think vodka–base) and then this spirits is infused with one or more botanicals. By law, one of the botanicals must be juniper berries, but you could add to that any number of botanicals, from bergamot to citrus peels, coriander seeds. Basically, any sort of spice that you could use for cooking, you can add to a spirit base to make into a gin, along with juniper berry.

So back to the main story: No. 209 gin. Because the base is sugar cane, it is a bit sweeter than your typical London Dry gins (the different styles of gin is a different story for a different post), but that being said, that doesn’t mean that it’s an inferior product. Quite the opposite, actually.

They chose to de-emphasize the juniper in the gin, much to everyone’s enjoyment. One of my general criticisms of many gins is that there is too much juniper in the mix to the point where sometimes it feels like I’m drinking soap. But 209 chose to emphasize other botanicals in its makeup, including coriander, bergamot and citrus peel.

While I’m a purist and like to drink many spirits neat, 209 would make a nice spin on the typical martini (throw in a dash of dry vermoth. Kedem makes the only kosher vermouth on the American market.), or put in some tonic for your G&T. But because the brighter citrusy notes are so dominant in this gin you could treat it like you would, say, a citron/lemon flavored vodka and the other botanicals would bring new dimensions to the standard citrus-vodka-based cocktails.

It’s not that expensive for a gin, either, at around $30 a bottle.

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Categories: Gin, Passover