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Sep 03, 2014
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Drink This Weekend Edition: Sip berries in booze while pining for summertime fruits

February 28th 03:02pm, 2014



This winter has lasted so long, I can barely remember what a plump, sun-kissed beefsteak tomato tastes like. Or a peach that’s so ripe, the juice runs down my chin from first bite to last. Or a strawberry so sweet, it would be sinful to add a single granule of sugar. As we get set to face the next round of frigid temps, I’ll settle my fix for all the fresh fruit (and warm temperatures) by sipping berries in booze form.

Deep, dark berries dominate the flavor and aroma of Bilberry Black Hearts Gin, an organic, small-batch spirit by Journeyman Distillery in Michigan. A bilberry is a fruit related to the huckleberry and blueberry and indigenous to the UK and northern Europe. Haven’t tasted a bilberry? Me either, which is probably why my taste buds want to identify those fruity notes as mulberry and blackberry. The gin, which holds nine botanicals, is hardly a juniper-in-your-face gin. Rather, it’s bright, fruity and lively with hints of black licorice and black pepper.

This super-smooth, 90-proof spirit passed the G&T test, but where it really shined was in a martini and in a French 75; the subtle dark fruit flavor and aroma lent another dimension to both these classic gin cocktails. The Journeyman website suggests using Bilberry Black Hearts gin in a Bee’s Knees and a gimlet. I plan to walk those paths next.

The market is overflowing with gins that range in style from London Dry and Old Tom to a boatload of new American gins that offer an array of botanicals. Journeyman was founded only three years ago (and its gin arrived on the local scene last year), yet the distillery is making a name for itself as a true grain-to-bottle distillery that can claim high-quality, certified organic, small-batch spirits. There’s room on the liquor shelf for that.

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2 Responses to “Drink This Weekend Edition: Sip berries in booze while pining for summertime fruits”

  1. UBoy Says:
    March 1st, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    So, where did you buy this?

  2. admin Says:
    March 3rd, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    You can get Bilberry Black Hearts gin at Bin 51 in Illinois and most well-stocked liquor stores in St. Louis.

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