If it seems like every microdistillery has an endearing origin story, it’s because most of them actually do.
Craft distilleries are easy to root for. They’re not like the big, slick corporations that dominate global liquor markets and gobble up rival brands at will. They’re small enterprises usually run by friends and family members, pursuing a shared dream and willing to sacrifice untold hours and even their life savings in the service of their passion.
The story behind Vermont-based Appalachian Gap Distillery is no less appealing. Founders Lars Hubbard and Chuck Burkins started off as home brewers. In 2010, they attended a weekend-long distilling class in upstate New York and quickly fell in love with the practice.
Seven years later, they produce a line of eight spirits from the comfort of their solar-powered distillery in Middlebury. Several of Appalachian Gap’s products, including their whiskey and a coffee liqueur, have gone on to win awards in a number of craft spirit competitions.
Their gin is the subject of today’s review.
Mythic gin made its debut in December 2015. It’s an American-style gin, a loosely defined category that basically means it isn’t quite as heavy on juniper as a traditional London dry gin.
As with many such gins, the juniper in Mythic is distinctive but not dominant. The aroma is a little earthier and grassier than I’d expect of gin, with notes of corn and grain in addition to juniper. On the palate are big notes of lemon, pepper, and coriander. The texture is a little oily, and there’s a bit of heat in the finish.
Mythic gin is spicy and vibrant, so when it came time to try it out in cocktails, I wanted to pair it with ingredients that would provide some balance.
First up was a cucumber gin gimlet with mint. The cool notes of the cucumber and mint made for a refreshing drink, allowing the spicy notes of the gin to stand out while not being overly aggressive. Perfect for a hot afternoon in August.
- 2 ounces gin
- ¾ ounce lime juice
- ½ ounce simple syrup
- 3 slices cucumber, chopped
- 6 mint leaves, chopped
Muddle the cucumber, mint, and syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add gin and juice, then ice, and shake. Strain into a rocks glass with cracked ice. Garnish with mint and/or cucumber.
I tried Mythic in a gin fizz, which tasted wonderful but photographed poorly (it looked like a glass of milk). So I opted for a Negroni instead, and it makes a robust one. The bitterness of the Campari serves to enhance some of the earthy notes in the gin, resulting in a potent, edgy take on a classic.
- 1 ounce gin
- 1 once Campari
- 1 once Carpano Antica vermouth
Stir in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a rocks glass with a large ice cube. Garnish with an orange twist.
This is a solid, interesting gin. It emphasizes botanicals and flavors that typically play supporting roles to the juniper.
It’s a little hot and would benefit from a bit of mellowing, or maybe some floral notes to balance the sharper elements. Regardless, it’s the kind of gin you can sniff, sip, and contemplate. It works well in drinks but should be used with an eye toward ingredients that will balance the botanicals (though I suppose you could say that about any cocktail). It pairs beautifully with citrus.
Note: I received a complimentary sample of Mythic gin with the understanding that I would use it in a product review. No one from, or associated with, Appalachian Gap Distillery influenced this content.
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