Gin Gin Reviews Spirits Reviews

Gin Review: Aviation Gin

Aviation ginAviation Gin

American Gin
Grade:four stars(Superb)
Price: $28 (750ml)

First launched in 2006 as one of the pioneers of the new trend in American gins, Aviation has been repackaged with a striking new look that classes up the bottle to match the contents.

Aviation tastes like gin, but not the gin we're used to. It has the requisite juniper flavor, but it's much more subtle than in London dry gin. (That makes this a nice alternative for those who find gin too piney.) It has pronounced notes of citrus and spice, and an almost briny character that would probably go great in a Martini.

Aviation is softer than most gins. A little more inviting. It's designed to be used in cocktails, especially those from the pre-Prohibition era. But you can certainly drink it straight if you want to, and won't be disappointed.

I didn't make a Martini (or an Aviation, this gin's namesake cocktail), but I did mix it in a Gin and Tonic. I was concerned that the less assertive character of this spirit would get lost in the mix. But no fear. It balanced quite nicely, making for a tasty, refreshing cocktail that is dangerously easy to drink.

Aviation Gin is 84-proof, but never harsh. It's a different style of gin than the norm, but that's a good thing. Tasty alternatives are always welcome, and Aviation Gin matches up quite nicely on that score.

Awards Liqueurs Press Releases

Bittermens: 2012 American Treasures Award Winner

Bittermens earns a lot of acclaim for their products, including both cocktail bitters and craft spirits. I still haven't had a chance to try any, but I need to rectify that omission soon.

Bittermens today announces that it is the recipient of the prestigious 2012 American Treasures Award. The award will be presented at the annual Take Pride in America celebration held at the United States Capitol on July 4, 2012. Bittermens is being recognized for making in New York the finest cocktail flavorings and extracts which are prized by mixologists and enjoyed by cocktail aficionados around the world. The American Treasures Awards are presented annually to individuals and small producers in recognition of a singular and significant contribution to our Nation that preserves and/or fosters a unique all American craft and tradition. The winners are carefully selected and vetted through a deliberative process by a National Advisory Committee consisting of individuals with relevant subject matter expertise. A special Congressional Honorary Steering Committee supports the initiative.

Bittermens products will be featured at the 2012 inaugural American Treasures Culinary Experience to be held at the Washington Design Center on the Fourth of July. This singular tasting event will be prepared by a roster of distinguished chefs including Event Chair, Chef Nick Stefanelli of Enoteca/Osteria Bibiana, in Washington, DC and by: Chefs Adam Sobel, Bourbon Steak, Washington, DC; Bryan Voltaggio, VOLT, Fredericksburg, MD; Sean Brock, McCrady's, Charleston, SC; Steve Geddes, Local 127, Cincinnati, OH; Dan O'Brien, Seasonal Pantry, Washington, DC and mixologist Derek Brown, The Passenger/Columbia Room, Washington, DC. Tickets to the event can be purchased by going to the MADE: In America web-site: and clicking on the tool bar section: Take Pride in America.  


Spirits Reviews Vodka Vodka Reviews

Vodka Review: Platinum 7X Vodka

Platinum_vodkaPlatinum 7X Vodka
American Vodka
Final Grade: B+
Price: $10 (750ml)

I don't write about vodka very often, a reflection of the fact that I don't drink it nearly as often as I used to. I still like vodka — I just don't find it as interesting as other spirits. But there's no denying its flexibility and effectiveness. Vodka is the perfect spirit for when you're feeling lazy or uncreative, or just looking for something simple and to-the-point.

Platinum 7X Vodka has been on the market for a while, but it's recently been rebranded by its producer, the Sazerac Company. The key selling point to Platinum 7X is that it is distilled seven times, leaving a very pure spirit.

Its appearance in the glass reflects this: clear and flawless, like rainwater. It has a slight odor of alcohol, but that's it. As soon as you take a sip, the alcohol makes its presence known. It's not as smooth as Stoli, my favorite vodka, but it's also not unpleasantly hot.

Platinum 7X Vodka is made from American corn, but the distillation process leaves it with essentially no flavor. It tastes like, well, vodka. Pure, clean ethanol. There's not much point in drinking it straight (although if you do, it should be ice cold). However, it makes for a solid mixer, and works well in the standard vodka drinks like a Screwdriver or Cape Cod.

So why bother to discuss this vodka? Because it's cheap! I've seen it on sale for under $9, even cheaper than my standby Sobieski. At that price, you usually get something that tastes like rubbing alcohol. But Platinum 7X is significantly better than that.

Platinum 7X is not a vodka that's going to blow you away. But for the price, you'll find few, if any, that are better.

Report Card

Quality Grade: B
Value Grade: A
Final Grade: B+

Spirits Reviews Whiskey Whiskey Reviews

Whiskey Review: High West Double Rye

High-West-Double-RyeHigh West Whiskey Double Rye
Rye Whiskey
Final Grade: B
Price: $35 (750ml)

Reviewed by Bob Montgomery

I’ve started to become more selective when it comes to rye. The first few ryes I tasted were new and different enough that just being a rye gave them a certain amount of good will. If High West had been the first rye I tried, I might have felt a little happier with it.

I had high hopes for High West. To quote the label, “Marriage of two straight rye whiskies that combines the feisty properties of a high rye 2-year-old and the saddle smooth richness of a 16-year-old.” Sounds wonderful, right?

Unfortunately, ideas that seem wonderful in prospect often fail of that promise in retrospect. So it is with High West Double Rye. This whiskey, despite its marketing-driven prose, seems more like a bourbon (or corn-based) spirit than a rye. It has a nose and flavor of vanilla and caramel, rather than the spice and subtle fire of a good rye.

It quickly recedes to the background in a Manhattan, leaving the stage far too early for a command performance. Perhaps bourbon drinkers will find High West to be a way to ease into drinking rye. For my part, it’s always been easier to jump into the deep end than to tip-toe gradually from the shallow.

High West isn’t a bad whisky, and shouldn’t be spurned if the occasion presents itself. But there are better bottles to be had, and better experiences to be savored.

Report Card

Quality Grade: B
Value Grade: B
Final Grade: B