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Small's Gin


cadmixes
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Hi folks, longtime reader, first time poster. I finally overcame laziness re: writing an eGullet personal statement because I need your expertise with this.

Possibly inspired by the new generation gins thread, I recently picked up a bottle of Small's Gin. Since it's made by the same people who produce the well-regarded Ransom Old Tom, I figured it was a safe bet for a new, American gin to mess around with.

While I'm not ready to give up, I feel like this product must demonstrate the wild variability in re: what's being marketed as "gin" these days. It smells like no other gin I have ever owned, and I was able to do a straightforward compare with Beefeater, Tanqueray, Plymouth, and Bluecoat. All of these, even the last one, are at least in the same neighborhood. Small's is on another continent.

From the little that's out on the web, I guess the nose is predominantly made up of cardamom? I don't have any on hand to confirm/deny. No matter what, it was pretty much a disaster in a Martini, and it also dominated a gin/dry vermouth/Benedictine mixture (I was hoping the Benedictine's strong herbal notes would be a good complement).

So--has anyone worked with this product? Any ideas on how I might be able to do something constructive with this bottle and not be out 29 bucks?

Appreciate the help.

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Assuming you like cardamom and the flavor of the gin, how about a Martinez? I would see the exotic subcontinent flavor of the cardamom going with the pie-spice flavors in a nice complex sweet vermouth. Or maybe even Punt e Mes?

If you don't like cardamom, push it far to the back of the shelf.

Edited by EvergreenDan (log)

Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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I like it in a sour with grapefruit bitters. It really does stretch the limits of what gin is, but I'd still call it gin. It's extremely powerful as you say, so it doesn't work like you'd expect in a martini. I know people who enjoy it in a martini (2:1), but that's because they like the gin. I pretty much only use it in sours these days, and when I drink it I'm not expecting a traditional profile.

nunc est bibendum...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for the replies! Making some headway with the bottle--I'm currently enjoying a 2:1 Punt e Mes/Small's Martinez. The strong cardamom works pretty well here as a secondary flavor. Also made a few G&Ts with it and they weren't nearly as bad as I thought they might be.

I have a lemon I need to use; maybe I'll try a sour with it tonight too.

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Glad the Martinez is working. I think Cardamom and Anise would work together. How about something absinthe/pastis/Pernod? I might try a Martini with a rinse. Looking in cocktaildb, there seem to be an alarming number of such cocktails in various permutations.

You could even try a Corpse Reviver 2, although the orange flavors might be one too many thing going on.

Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 weeks later...
Also made a few G&Ts with it and they weren't nearly as bad as I thought they might be.

In almost every other aspect of life, a statement like this would normally indicate that something was pretty bad. Only in the realm of cocktails would this mean that it was actually pretty good; enough so that you might even want to do it again! :biggrin:

Mike

"The mixing of whiskey, bitters, and sugar represents a turning point, as decisive for American drinking habits as the discovery of three-point perspective was for Renaissance painting." -- William Grimes

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