Caledonia Spirits “Barr Hill” Gin

Attention gin (and honey bee) lovers!
Meet your new, favorite martini ingredient:

Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill GinThe first time I tried Barr Hill Gin, I wasn’t able to fully appreciate this unique, Vermont made spirit. While I thoroughly enjoyed the delicious cocktail painstakingly created by one of the very capable bartenders at the Bearded Lady in Brooklyn, I didn’t realize, at the time, that the lovely, delicate flavor profile was slightly lost on me. My introduction to this gin should have been on its own. And so should yours. The reason? It’s not only incredibly enjoyable by itself, but this is really the best way to pick up on its star ingredient: raw, northern honey.

Locally sourced honey is added during a second distillation, right before bottling, and it lends so much to this London dry-style gin. The aroma is bright and floral and, not surprisingly, reminiscent of honey, fresh out of the hive. The texture is silky and round. The flavors are similar to the aromas found on the nose – floral, herbaceous and bright, with a slight sweetness. Another unusual aspect of this gin is that they only use one botanical during distillation. And it wouldn’t be gin without it – fresh juniper! You wouldn’t think it would be this complex with so few ingredients, but the honey really does impart so much. And it contrasts so beautifully with the sharp, clear juniper.

How did this bee stung gin come to be? Distiller and owner Todd Hardie has been tending bees for most of his life, starting with his first hive at his family’s farm at 12 years old. It was at that time that this magic bond with bees and honey began. And his 30 years as a commercial bee keeper forged his bond with the land, the cycles of the seasons and the rich community of farmers in the northeast. It was five years ago that the idea of creating a honey wine – mead – came to fruition. And another two before they would begin to distill gin, vodka and elderberry cordial on the banks of the Lamoille River in the Northeast Kingdom as Caledonia Spirits. And the rest is history!

I’ll be making an original cocktail just for this unique spirit tomorrow night at Atlantic Cellars from 6-9pm. We’ll also be tasting it on its own, of course. Which I highly recommend! Stop by and taste what all the buzz is about!

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