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That's the Spirit: Aviation Gin

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I've reviewed a few experimental American gins. And while Aviation Gin from House Spirits is not as eccentric as plenty of other new American gins, the spirit's balance really makes it stand out.

Starting with a neutral rye grain liquor base, the House Spirits team adds seven botanicals sourced from the Oregon Spice Company: juniper, green cardamom, lavender, Indian sarsaparilla, coriander, anise seed, and dried sweet orange peel. After 48 hours of steeping in a large steel container, the spirit is distilled and brought down to a bottle-ready 84 proof.

Aviation Gin pours crystal clear in the glass, and the nose is clean and pleasantly medicinal. There are light pine and floral notes, with the lavender and anise taking the lead—sweet, yet crisp and inviting. On the palate, it starts out earthy and spicy with the coriander and sarsaparilla, then the develops, with citrus rinds and the juniper coming into focus. Silky and medium bodied, it finishes with warming botanicals, and a lingering rye-spice bite. It's so balanced and cohesive that you're left with a wonderful feeling of closure.

As far as cocktail deployment goes, it isn't named Aviation for nothing—this gin was developed with an eye towards reviving older pre-prohibition era cocktails. It shines in its namesake cocktail (definitely use the Crème de Violette if you can), and I'd also try it in a Ramos fizz. Aviation is an ideal gin for your bloody mary with its earthiness and spicy rye, and a mandatory choice for any cocktail served by a flight attendant.

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Behind the Scenes at House Spirits

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