William M. Dowd photoWhen I was a newspaper editor for more than 40 years, the joke used to be that too many people didn't think anything was official until they read it in The New York Times.
In today's Times food section, Florence Fabricant refers to "A new gin from Philadelphia, Bluecoat ... ." So, I guess it's official.
There is one problem with that pronouncement. I first wrote about Bluecoat 36 months ago, when it really was new.
Bluecoat is a formidable entry in the resurgent gin category, packaged in a beautiful blue, embossed bottle with a wooden stopper that give it an old-fashioned, enticing appearance.
I gave it the usual gin taste test -- straight and in a traditional martini. It passed with flying colors in both ways, and a follow-up tasting with several other people met with uniformly high marks.
Bluecoat is a 94-proof concoction with the distinctive, earthy gin flavor of organic juniper berries, but noticeably balanced with notes of citrus, spice and florals. Its smoothness is evident, thanks to batch distillation that requires very slow heating of the pot, allowing for maximum separation of alcohols and removal of impurities. That is particularly apparent in the straight-taste trial, and also aids in the mixing with Noilly Pratt dry vermouth for a superb martini.
Suggested retail price: $28 for the 750ml bottle.
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