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Gin Bësk Fernet Absinthe Chicago
Letherbee unites with R. Franklin for a refined rendition of BËSK —a relatively obscure yet locally infamous Swedish liqueur dominated by wormwood. The bitter shot initially hits with flavors of grapefruit before an oncoming of wormwood alongside earthy gentian root — an effect that lingers on the palate for quite a surprising while. Beneath the acrid din of the more acute tasting notes rests more gentle traces of juniper, star anise, and elderflower musk. Bottled at 100 proof, Letherbee’s BËSK remains an esoteric shot for adventurous drinkers, but the bitter liqueur can be gracefully incorporated into sophisticated cocktails.
Letherbee’s Barrel-Aged Absinthe draws its caramel hue from a six-month stint in new, full-sized, charred, American oak casks. A straightforward white absinthe recipe mellows in the aging process, softening the anise notes to let sumptuous floral and spice layers resonate. Besides the color, the full-sized barrels also imbue the Absinthe Brun with toasty hints of vanilla and caramel. Bottled at 126 proof, the spirit-forward drink is an addictive sipper that can also add depth to a variety of cocktails.
Few gins unfold likeLetherbee’s flagship tipple, distilled by hand with a clean yet robust blend of 11 botanicals. Juniper spearheads a mélange of spices, including coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon, while cubeb berries evoke a touch of pepper and a hint of ginger in the finish. Lemon and orange peel lend the dry, balanced concoction a bit of room for keen drinkers to pick up subtle notes of licorice and almond. At 96 proof, Letherbee Gin shines in all contexts, whether sipped straight, louched with a few drops of water until slightly cloudy, or mixed in a cocktail.
Few gins unfold likeLetherbee’s flagship tipple — a Chicago-made, grain-neutral spirit distilled by hand with a clean yet robust blend of 11 botanicals. Juniper berries spearhead a mélange of spices, including coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon, while cubeb berries evoke a touch of pepper and a hit of ginger in the finish. Dried lemon peel and orange pith lend the dry, balanced concoction a bit of room for keen drinkers to pick up subtle notes of licorice and almond. At 96 proof, Letherbee Gin shines in all contexts, whether sipped straight, louched with a few drops of water until slightly cloudy, or mixed in a refined cocktail.
Letherbee unites with R. Franklin for a refined rendition of BËSK —a relatively obscure yet locally infamous Swedish liqueur dominated by wormwood. The bitter shot initially hits with flavors of grapefruit before an oncoming of wormwood alongside earthy gentian root — an effect that lingers on the palate for quite a surprising while. Beneath the acrid din of the more acute tasting notes rests more gentle traces of juniper, star anise, and elderflower musk. Bottled at 100 proof, Letherbee’s BËSKremains an esoteric shot for adventurous drinkers, but the bitter liqueur can be gracefully incorporated into sophisticated cocktails.
Letherbee’s freshly refined take on the signature digestif is smooth, perhaps startlingly so. The prominence of saffron evokes popular Fernets, but supporting notes of rhubarb root and myrrh gum scaffold the palate as to not let bitter notes overpower. Spearmint and eucalyptus lend a subtle, pleasant mentholated finish. Given Letherbee’s penchant for balanced flavors, thisFernet is versatile—shoot it, sip it after a meal, add it to coffee, or mix it in a complex cocktail.
Few gins unfold likeLetherbee’s flagship tipple, distilled by hand with a clean yet robust blend of 11 botanicals. Juniper spearheads a mélange of spices, including coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon, while cubeb berries evoke a touch of pepper and a hint of ginger in the finish. Lemon and orange peel lend the dry, balanced concoction a bit of room for keen drinkers to pick up subtle notes of licorice and almond. At 96 proof,Letherbee Gin shines in all contexts, whether sipped straight, louched with a few drops of water until slightly cloudy, or mixed in a cocktail.
VERNAL GIN 2019
In the wake of Winter, we’re all looking for a little heat. What better way to usher in Spring than to saddle up with some green chiles – savory, bold, and warm flavors emblematic of Mexico and the USA’s Southwest. Fresh poblanos and green bell peppers bring a vegetal and grassy palate to our 2019 Vernal. Simple and straightforward, this recipe features a pared-down botanical distillate of juniper, coriander, and lemon peel with nearly a ton of poblano and green bells. Juicy and bright in body, it delivers a subtly spicy finish from our jalapeno and green hatch chile maceration.
From its origins in Holland, the botanicals used in gin have all been thought to provide therapeutic properties, treating everything from stress headaches to spiritual afflictions. Juniper, angelica, sage, and citrus were holistic sources of healing prior to our modern age.
Approximately 6,000 miles across the globe in Central and South America, palo santo, translating literally to “holy wood,” has been a holistic healing tool whose popularity has spread globally for its relaxing and enchanting fragrance. Palo santo is a distant relative to other sacred aromatics, such as frankincense and myrrh. Thought to be powerfully cleansing, this sweet-smelling wood has a uniquely relaxing aroma, ranging from notes of citrus to burnt sugar, mint and cedar.
For our 2018 Autumnal Gin, we have chosen to highlight sage, or salvia, meaning “savior”, with the holiest of woods. We harvested fresh garden sage and steeped it with the smoke from burned palo santo to create the core flavors for this spirit. Earthy sage and sweet, musky palo santo come together in a richly aromatic union. It is a marriage that tastes so natural, it feels like divine intervention. So, will this drinkable distillate bring you spiritual enlightenment and incite medical miracles? Probably not, but it will make a damn good cocktail.
In Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden Of Earthly Delights, the bacchanalian painting features several enormous, human-sized strawberries. The scene is flecked with larger than life, electric red berries, coveted by his otherworldly cast of characters. There have been centuries of debate and scholarly interpretation surrounding Bosch’s intentions. But who wouldn’t be enamored by the enchanting fruit, symbol of the verdurous harvest to come?
At the very beginning of spring, just as the ground starts to defrost, strawberry season comes in fast and strong. One of the first fruits to reach ripeness, their presence is as ephemeral as their sweet, acerbic essence. Perhaps as a lesson in consumption, the most flavorful of strawberries are also the smallest – bright red tender and fragrant, they are best eaten right off the bush.
Inspired by the classic combination of strawberries and cream, we paired strawberries with rich Madagascar vanilla beans and steeped them in our Letherbee Original Label Gin. The addition of bright and medicinal locally-sourced eucalyptus infuses yet another layer of complexity that almost recreates the sensation of strolling through a strawberry field at peak harvest – a garden of earthly delights, but bottled.
Unlike its jammy summer siblings, the hardy cranberry comes of age in shallow, flooded wetlands. In late fall, cranberry bogs glow a gem-like red, and the crop is corralled across the surface of the water until fruit separates from vine. To create Letherbee’s 2017 Autumnal Gin, we plunged this most bewitching of berries back into liquid, bathing the harvest in a rosemary-infused pond of our own making. The prominent rosemary savor grounds the gin’s berry brightness in cozy, herbaceous notes of winter, and mires with slivers of sundried lemon peel for a fresh forward palette. A gentle back-up chorus of cardamom, allspice, and almond beg to be poured hot into a modern toddy, but could just as easily animate a frosty winter Corpse Reviver. Fireside consumption is highly encouraged. This blush-colored holiday libation is bottled at 96 proof for a limited-edition run of 260 cases.
The tangy, rejuvenating flavors of Southeast Asia inspire Letherbee’s 2017 Vernal Gin. Fistfuls of freshly snapped lemongrass stalk lend the liquid a spritely green hue, and fill the flavor with a minty, citric brightness. Holy basil and raw ginger nimbly coast along each clean sip, then cascade into the mustardy galangal mid-palate. The finish plants a goodbye kiss of creamy almond, savory long pepper, and crisp lemon peel. Try your first pour neat and cold, and then team it into an elevated Gin & Tonic. Moreover, mix it with some orgeat and OJ for a spruced up Mai Tai, or take your Bloody Mary game to the next level. Bringing fragrance and lightness, this refreshing spirit is just right for warm nights. The 2017 Vernal Gin is bottled at 96 proof for a limited run of 3240 bottles.
Rumor has it that borscht was invented during the Russo-Turkish war as an economical way to feed four thousand Cossacks during the two-month siege of Azov fortress in southern Russia. Regardless of origin, the hearty, sour soup has since become popular in several, Eastern European countries including, most notably, the Ukraine whose beetroot based version has become widely associated with the name. Not to mention, furthermore, that it served as the primary inspiration for the fifth installment in our Autumnal series: our flagship gin made with beets, dill, black pepper, caraway and cumin. Subtle nose, grassy, almost like an open field after a rainstorm. Black pepper is upfront imparting woody, piney notes and a tinge of heat on the tongue. The body is clean, remarkably smooth with an earthy flavor lingering in the background. The finish offers hints of citrus and sweet anise before fading into a pleasant warmth. Try it neat or louched first and then, in a Bloody Mary, Hanky Panky or Dry Martini. The 2016 Autumnal Gin is bottled at 96 proof and was made in a limited run of 2,500 bottles.
Taking cues from Eclectic Medicine and herbal remedies, R.Franklin awakens Letherbee's 2016 Vernal Gin into a golden sunrise of chamomile and honey. Slight sweetness is tempered by lemon and mandarin orange peel while milky grass hurls itself upward from a bed of the winter's decay. Himalayan sea salt echos the brine of Muscadet. It all hangs on the backbone of Echinacea root and Letherbee's Original Gin botanicals. This batch was finished on April 29 and yields 235 cases.
For nearly 3 years at the distillery Letherbee has been aging their Original Gin in a used Buffalo Trace Bourbon barrel. A restrained addition of this single barrel lends to the Autumnal blend a smack of Bourbon’s complexity while commanding the reigns over the Bourbon's grains. Letherbee then throws into the mix an ethereal single-origin wood-fired maple syrup from The Bunker Farm in Vermont. The syrup's embedded terrior confidently tiptoes along the gin's coriander and cardamom, granting a warm glowing confection. House-roasted sugar maple wood chunks camber the Bourbon's bite and the maple's sweetness as the batch is crowned by the peppery savor of allspice.
This season’s recipe variation is uniquely both rambunctious and relaxed. The 2015 VernalGin pays tribute to Paul McGee and all other bartenders who are spearheading the growth of Tiki Culture. Driven primarily by the tropical and savory profiles of papaya, pineapple, and toasted coconut, this gin exudes a lush bouquet of vanilla, pink peppercorn, and peeled rambutan. Its confident mid-palate unfolds a succulent blend of ripe persimmon and sunchoke, suspended by the recognizable Letherbee gin botanicals with a mouthfeel that blooms into a long, silky malolactic finish.
With 2014’s Autumnal Gin, Letherbee Distillers conjures the quiet comfort of an intimate fireside get-together — think pralines and hot cocoa. In reality, this year’s subtle seasonal bends the flagship gin’s cardamom and cinnamon with a creamy, toasted nut vibe — specifically, roasted hazelnut and black walnut. Sealing the warmth, a hint of cocoa nibs fades into a clean finish. The2014 Autumnal Gin is bottled at 96 proof and was made in a limited run of 135 cases.
Vernal 2014Letherbee’s 2014 Vernal Gin redoubles the iconic G&T by macerating traditional tonic botanicals alongside their signature recipe. The first thing you notice is a subtle pink hue — this comes from red cinchona bark, which also lends a hint of bitterness. The palate is balanced with lemongrass and citrus peel, while traces of ginger and allspice echo in the background. This refreshing seasonal is just as versatile as Letherbee’s flagship: sip it neat or with ice, serve it up in a gimlet or martini, or add soda water, sweetener, and lime for a next-level gin and tonic. Note that the pink hue will turn yellow with the addition of citrus juice or anything acidic.
2013’s concoction throws open the windows to let the bonfire in — smokey tones resonate from toasted pine chips and lapsang souchong tea. Instead of nutmeg, blade mace keeps the 2013 mix light with hints of saffron and hay that complement the flagship gin’s coriander and cardamom. The limited edition 2013 Autumnal Gin is bottled at 96 proof and appears with a slightly amber hue, owing to the tea and ancient pine smoke.
Just as Letherbee Distillers concocted a limited-run Autumnal Gin in the waning months of 2012, the Chicago crew now honors Spring with a similarly rare Vernal Gin. It’s fresh, fragrant, and softly layered — upfront notes of chrysanthemum flower resonate amidst hints of chamomile, arnica flower, and jasmine. And while juniper and coriander remain at its backbone, the Vernal sipper plays with the basic concept of gin. Within each 96-proof bottle, a sprig of buffalo grass soaks in the un-chill filtered spirit, adding a touch of vanillin sweetness and a subtle green hue.
2013’s Autumnal Gin from Letherbee Distillers evoked an indoor sort of warmth — that seasonal blend mixed in cloves, nutmeg, and allspice, perhaps best for devilishly spiking a cider.