At 94 proof, it’s a stretch to characterize
any spirit as smooth—but Bluecoat accom-plishes the feat. While even some top-shelf
gins are accused of leaving an aftertaste reminiscent of Pine-Sol, there’s little chance of
confusing Bluecoat with a household cleaner.
“Unlike mass-produced gin, I determine
the cut points based on taste, not quantity,”
says master distiller Robert Cassell, referring
to the beginning and ending of each batch that
gets tossed out. Even after Cassell spends 10
hours distilling each batch, his work isn’t done.
He then hand fills and seals each bottle, along
with Philadelphia Distilling co-founders Timothy Yarnall and Andrew Auwerda.
of handpicked juniper berries, coriander and
citrus. The gin is craft distilled in a 22-foot custom-built, hand-hammered copper still (built
in Scotland) that removes all impurities. This
tightly controlled small-batch process results in
higher proofs and lighter, subtler spirits.
Band of Brothers,
clockwise from front:
Anchor Junipero gin (U.S.),
South (New Zealand),
Bluecoat (U.S.), Citadelle
(France) and Boomsma Jonge
Genevere (the Netherlands).
Times have certainly changed. In fact,
bartenders across the country are rediscovering gin and incorporating it into some of
the most cutting-edge cocktails they pour. So
it’s no surprise that gin is also among several
traditional spirits making a resurgence in the
upscale “craft distilling” movement.
In the early 18th century,
the British government
began imposing a hefty
tax on all imported spirits.
This new policy spurred
the market for substandard grain
considered unsuitable for brewing
beer, and gin shops quickly overtook
every corner in England. In those days,
gin was a poor-man’s drink. British officials blamed the alcohol for a host of
medical problems and social ills, and even
dubbed gin “the masterpiece of the devil.”
A SOFTER, SPICIER PUNCH
Philadelphia-based Bluecoat gin distinguishes
itself from traditional London dry gins with an
ultrasmooth flavor influenced by an infusion