I’m a big fan of gin - and of the Slow Food approach to mixing drinks - so when I heard about the launch of TRU2 Organic Gin this fall, I was eager to test-drive this new arrival.
Before the bottle was even opened, I knew I was in for something different:
While most gins on the market are completely clear and colorless, TRU2 has a distinctive amber tint, comparable to that of a pale whiskey or a deeply-colored white wine. Turns out there's a very good reason behind this.
In contrast to your typical London-dry or Plymouth-style gins, which are distilled twice - once before, and then once after the juniper and other aromatics are added to the white grain spirit base - TRU2 only receives a single distillation.
This simplified process goes right back to the very early days of gin-making, and according to TRU2's makers, has been revived here for the sake of flavor and mouthfeel. Infused with fourteen aromatics in their whole, organic states (juniper berries, lavender leaves, lemon zest, angelica root, orris root, coriander seeds, cardamom, vanilla beans, cloves, fennel, cinnamon, allspice, chamomile, star anise), TRU2 skips the second distillation in order to let more of the natural flavor and texture of these botanicals shine through.
The TRU2 bottle is not your typical chunky glass spirits bottle. Instead it is tall, sleek, and thin-walled like a wine bottle. The reasoning behind this unconventional packaging goes beyond mere style. The wine-type bottle, with its streamlined silhouette, uses 25 percent less glass than a typical thick-walled gin bottle, meaning a smaller carbon footprint for every Martini, Fizz, or Flip. (And to top it off, TRU2 promises to plant a tree for every bottle sold.)
But What About the Taste?
I sampled a little of the spirit neat and found it unusually smooth for gin. The mouthfeel had a slight oiliness to it and the flavor was definitely on the spicy/savory end of the spectrum. Maybe it was the amber color's power of suggestion, but I felt the coriander and cloves came out strongly on top, with a hint of fennel and citrus behind them. So far, so good.
The Martini Test
It was time to put this newcomer to the ultimate gin test: the Martini. Because I thought TRU2's savory spiciness would go especially well with a cocktail onion, I switched out the olive, and made my Martini a Gibson.
I was a little strange to see this ordinarily crystal-clear cocktail served up with a honeyed tint, but after the first sip, the flavor convinced me. The onion did play well with the savory spiciness, and got me thinking a TRU2 Gibson would be the perfect drink to have with a snack of curried cashews or other seasoned nuts.
makes one cocktail
1 3/4 oz. gin
1/2 oz. dry vermouth
pearl cocktail onion
Combine the gin and vermouth in a shaker with ice. Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a pearl onion.
Have you tried TRU2 or any of the other newer brands of organic spirits?
Related: Spotlight on Gin: Some New Favorites
(Images: Nora Maynard)