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Knock, knock, knocking on Death’s Door (it’s here!)

8 Apr

As a few of you know, the Gin Savant and I are huge huge fans of Death’s Door gin out of Wisconsin, which wasn’t available in Massachusetts. For a couple of years, we were using, uh, alternative means of procuring it, such as bringing duct tape and bubble wrap with me when I flew to Omaha to visit family (yes, there is something terribly wrong when I can purchase craft gin in western Iowa at a local grocery store-owned packie instead of Boston, home to Drink, Eastern Standard, Trina’s, et al) and then we’d cherish and ration each drop carefully once it was in our clutches.

Why all the fuss? Instead of a potpourri of botanicals which can get metallic or, yeesh, taste like your great-auntie’s potpourri she made with a heavy hand, Death’s Door uses only three of ’em: wild juniper they harvest themselves, coriander and fennel. They distill it three times. If you’re into gin, it’s a really clean taste, but it’s not some walk in the park. It’s got a little bite, a little stretch, and it’s a challenge to use in a martini. It’s kinda like a wild little mustang pony you have to break with just the right vermouth.

And, happy of happiest, it’s coming to the 617. Through the power of social media, we were lucky enough to get an invite to an industry-night party last night at Toro in the South End to enjoy all three of Death’s Door’s (boy, that’s weird to punctuate) offerings: the gin, their white whiskey, and their vodka.

Death's Door vodka in, ahem, chewy vitamin form

First up was Honey Badger punch with the whiskey, which was being served in a choice of glass or poured down the ice luge. A little pink, but drinkable. Apparently the whiskey also makes a good white Manhattan, if you use Dolin vermouth. See the pic for how we tested the vodka.

The Gin Savant approves.

And finally, our first “licit” Death’s Door gin drinks in the bay State, which were Toro menu items: Fresita, with strawberry and rhubarb; and the Contessa II, with aperol. The fresita was sweet and aromatic, and a great reminder that despite the April weather here lately, that spring (or better yet, summer) is coming. And the Gin Savant was very excited with the amaro-like overtones of the Contessa.

I’ll be posting a list of retail outlets of where to get the DD goods; I know of at least one for next week, but want to stock up before everyone else visual confirmation so I don’t send anyone on a wild goose chase. In the meantime, check the Ken Oringer empire (especially Coppa, Toro), Deep Ellum, and the higher-end haunts around the Back Bay. Special thanks to J.C., Death’s Door’s Duchess of the East Coast (and about whom I overheard someone say was lovely enough to make Uma Thurman nervous–I concur) for the permission to party crash.
UPDATE August 2011: The CHEAPEST place to find Death’s Door (all three) in Boston that I’ve found so far is Macy’s Liquors, West Roxbury, next to Roche Bros.–$29!

UPDATE: Find Death’s Door Gin at Liquor Land and Brookline Liquor Mart, $34. You can also find the vodka and white whiskey at BLM.

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