Eleven different botanics go into this gin out of Evanston, IL, a notoriously (and ironically) dry town until 1972, thanks in part to resident teetotaler Frances E. Willard -- or F.E.W. -- and her Prohibition-spurring Women's Christian Temperance Union. The Chicagoland-area suburb was so liquor-weary, in fact, that FEW, which began in 2011, was the very first distillery to open its doors within city limits. At first sip, this award-winning New American gin (a style that's more experimental than a classic London Dry) awakens the senses with a boozy, lemon and orange peel brightness, then fades quickly into a malty, vanilla-scented glow. It finishes strong yet balanced, a push-and-pull of peppery spice, fresh piney hops, and zesty juniper. Gin and soda drinkers, tonic lovers, and cocktail aficionados will all be equally pleased.
What’s more suave than Shaft, cuts cleaner than a Swiss Army Knife, and loves a good cocktail more than Ernest Hemingway in Cuba? OK, you got me -- it’s House Spirits’ Aviation Gin. Named after the classic American-born cocktail (gin, Maraschino liqueur, lemon juice), Aviation does its bar-crazy hometown of Portland, Oregon proud with a fragrant, floral symphony of botanicals that play quietly but persistently from start to finish, all floating on a cloud of velvety, herbaceous juniper. Whether you’re spiking a Rickey, shaking up a Southside, or simply spicing up an afternoon’s worth of G&Ts, Aviation does the trick -- and does it well.