His year was not wasted.
DeGroot’s final product is a strikingly fresh, summer crusher of a cocktail, hitting the essence of a good gimlet with, as he says, “an abrasing, edgy lime flavor.”
As I drank my first (of what I am sure will be many) gin gimlets from the distillery, I was most impressed by DeGroot’s ability to get the lime flavor to taste actually fresh. If I wasn’t drinking from a can, I'd believe the juice was squeezed that day.
DeGroot makes his own lime cordial (primarily with lime zest, not juice), and mixes it with gin to complete the cocktail. It kicks with the sweet acidity of lime, as a good gimlet should, the citrus sitting in the back of your throat at every sip. The botanicals of the base spirit, GinZer Gin, are a beautiful, mild match for the sugary, limey cordial. It's strong enough to slighlty pop through the tartness and not too weak so the cocktail tastes like limeade. It’s incredibly drinkable.
The distiller says knocking down the ABV was one of his biggest challenges to take a gimlet from a cocktail glass to a can. The classic drink, a favorite of DeGroot’s, is strikingly gin-forward (the average gimlet has around two ounces of gin per cocktail). GinZer clocks in at about 40% ABV when bottled; the finished cans are 8% ABV total.
After running through a few batches, DeGroot came up with a solution: dilute the gin. Not only did this bring out the botanicals of the spirit — a pleasant mix of juniper, coriander, orange, and clove — it kept the ABV low enough to can.
The gimlets are the first of many canned cocktails DeGroot plans to make. He has been bottling a hard coffee (now limited to kegs at Bulldog Pub in Morningside), hopes to get a gin rickey, similar to a gimlet but with soda water, in cans, and is looking forward to working through the challenge of canning a bees knees, which is composed of gin, lemon juice, and honey.
Gin gimlets are available for purchase in single cans or four packs at the distillery (located at 5410 Harrison St. in Lawrenceville) or online at lawrencevilledistilling.com.