- Jonathan Winters
Brooklyn Gin Review
Citrus forward modern gin with a good juniper backbone behind it.
Review Brooklyn Gin
Made in: Warwick, New York by Brooklyn Craft Works at the Warwick Valley Winery and Distillery.
Method: Christian Carl Copper Pot Still
40% alcohol/80 proof
Botanicals 9 : Juniper, coriander, angelica, lemon peel, orange peel, lime peel, kumquat, lavender, orris root
Style: Modern gin
Brooklyn gin has been around for just over a decade and it’s shown quite a bit of growth over that time which is very impressive for gin that is made in a still which can only produce about 300 bottles at a time. That said, it should be mentioned that Brooklyn Gin is not actually made in Brooklyn, but rather at the Warwick Winery and Distillery in Warwick, New York (about 90 minutes north of the city) which also produces Warwick gin which we reviewed recently.
That doesn’t mean that the Brooklyn boys don’t have dreams of opening their own distillery (presumably in Brooklyn) but to date they’ve had to rely on contact distilling to get the job done. That said the recipe is all theirs, as is the pride they take in making everything by hand.
I do have some questions about that, however as their website says that they use only fresh picked juniper berries, and local fruit, but as New York is not a hotbed of citrus growing, I’m not quite sure what local fruits they are talking about. But in any case it’s the gin that counts, not the story, so let’s get down to what is in the bottle.
Neat or on the rocks this is a very mellow gin, making this tremendously easy drinking. That is not to say there isn’t a trace of astringency to it, but it’s soft and pleasant to sip - not needing any mixer at all (which is what the creators were aiming for).
The scent of Brooklyn is quite nice - blasting you with an array of citrus including lime and sweeter notes of lemon and orange all together. Just behind that is a solid back note of juniper with some floral tinges and a shot of cardamom, and just the tiniest whiff of the coriander.
This is a massively citrus forward gin with enough juniper standing behind it to make you remember that it’s definitely gin. Lime is predominant at first, but sweet citrus, notably orange, (with maybe a hint of kumquat) comes though clearly lengthened and mellowed by lavender. Towards the backend of that you get layers of spice - coriander, and angelica. There is a slight tang near the end, which is very grapefruit like, but could in fact be from the pith of the lemon peel.
Mouthfeel is slightly viscous with a soft lingering finish.
This is a pleasant gin to sip, but it’s so light and refreshing that I wasn’t sure how well it would mix - It did quite well. The juniper definitely comes out best when you drink it neat or on the rocks though.
As a Martini gin, Brooklyn hits some very good notes. It’s light and refreshing and quite citrusy with some floral notes, which is wonderful if you like a light martini, but for those who like big bold martinis, in the classic sense, the lightness is also it’s big weakness in the drink as the juniper plays very far back in the field flavorwise. It will fare well for those who like more flavored martinis.
In a Gin and Tonic I have to say I really liked it. Again it’s light and refreshing, and honestly its so light it could be quite a sneaky drink if you aren’t careful as it invites you to pour a second, or third and so on. Citrus is the dominant flavor, so much so that the juniper all but disappears in the mix. If you can get past that, it goes well with traditional tonic but it’s especially good with Fever Tree Mediterranean.
I thought at first that this gin, due to its lightness would be trampled in almost any non-citrus based cocktail, and at first it was, but after gazing at Brooklyn’s website I did realize that in some drinks, like the Negroni you just needed to adjust the ratios a little and double up on the Brooklyn, then it was quite nice. I very much liked it as well in cocktails like the Bees Knees and Southside.
Brooklyn is a very interesting modern gin. It’s light enough to appeal to non-gin drinkers but it has enough juniper to remind you that it’s gin. There probably isn’t enough juniper for purists, but those who like contemporary style gin will probably love it.
Had Brooklyn been launched today I’m not sure it would have made it. They don’t distill themselves, but work with a contract distillery, but they started at the right time and now sell internationally. The recipe is good, and flavorful. It won’t be for everyone, but I liked it enough that I’d certainly buy it again for certain drinks.
Rating (Sipping):85 - This is a nice gin for sipping - and it’s here the best of the juniper notes really come though.
Rating (Mixing) 83 - Its best in citrus forward cocktails, as it sometimes struggles in others.
Overall rating: 84 - This is a very nice gin that has its limitations, but it certainly has its place in the modern gin repertoire and on the shelf of gin lovers,.
What you need to know about my reviews: All my reviews are my honest opinions based upon my own personal tasting. I am NOT a paid reviewer, and no compensation was given, or expected. I may from time to time choose to do a second review and amend my opinion of a product, should I feel like it and find my review criteria has evolved, or that I’ve found it different at a later date. That said, as I’m unlikely to repurchase anything I thought was less than very good to excellent, it would be by chance or at the request of a distiller who thought I rated them very unfairly - BUT even then, whatever you get will always be my honest opinion.