Local Wine Co's Blog

American Gin – Success by cdbakunas
May 5, 2015, 5:14 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink, Word on the Street | Tags: , , , ,

We’ve been saying for years that if you want to make a superlative cocktail from a white spirit then there is no where else to go except for Gin. And how fortunate are we today that the panoply of Gin choices today is better than its ever been in AMERICAN HISTORY, thus we are at the nascent edge of a Gin Renaissance and it’s a glorious time to imbibe cocktails.

A little back-patting is at hand. We released Small’s American Dry gin six years ago and have been dedicated to spreading the word and the love of Gin to our peeps behind the distribution wheel, the dedicated bartenders that work hours that are harder and longer then most realize and to the craft retailers who toil 7 days a week, speaking, sharing and selling craft: without whom we could not produce, exist and grow…thank you all!!! That you could know how grateful we are of your help, your consistency to quality as opposed to “deals,” that you share our story and love our product. Our success is only a shadow of your work and persistence.

Two great articles for Small’s that came out in the last 10 days. So stoked!12 American Gins

12 Great American Gins You Should Absolutely Know!


Peter Field:

The Consumption of Style: The Betty

Peter and Small's


By the way Peter, you never looked better with a bow tie!!!!


Sign our Petition for American Dry Gin by cdbakunas
January 28, 2014, 4:36 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink, Libations, Word on the Street | Tags: , , , ,

America needs its own category of gin which is why we are working on legally amending gin law to include “American Dry” as a bona fide category. With this first step we can be proud to make our own unique American version of gin and this will not only educate the consumer at a much higher level of what they are drinking, it will be the tip of the spear in moving towards greater appellation in our craft spirits. We can envision the day when regional gins like Sonoma Coast Gin, Rocky Mountain Gin, Southwest Chaparral Gin all exist and create a tapestry of style that is as unique as the people are who live in various regions of our country.

Send us an email, post a comment and we will include you on our petition.

Petition for Chapter 4, Class and Type Designation for Spirits Requested Amendment of gin


We propose an amendment to the TTB Class and Type Designation under spirits for the category of gin under Title 27–Alcohol, Tobacco Products and Firearms (gin standard of identity is below) for the two reasons:

#1 historical categories of gin (ie. London Dry, Old Tom and Geneva gins) are not given legal definition for their historical styles. This is an egregious disservice to the consumer. Consumers have the right to know what style of spirit it is they are consuming. Current gin definitions are vague and ambiguous such that a Geneva gin or an Old Tom gin could be labeled a London Dry gin creating confusion for the consumer.

#2 request an amendment to the standards of identity to foster appellations for spirits within the United States. This will give greater regional specificity to American spirits and define more precisely the style and quality of each spirit (eg. Bourbon Whiskey). Consumers deserve to have stronger over site on distilled spirits much as we have a robust appellation process for vineyard land and wines in America. Local Wine & Spirits, and the other listed distillers, are actively educating the public about the emerging category of “American Dry Gin” which is defined as batch distilled gins made from 100% American grown grain, distilled and bottled within the United States using juniper as the predominant botanical. American made and proud of it.

Current definition

Subpart C—Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits

§ 5.22   The standards of identity.

(c) Class 3; gin. “Gin” is a product obtained by original distillation from mash, or by redistillation of distilled spirits, or by mixing neutral spirits, with or over juniper berries and other aromatics, or with or over extracts derived from infusions, percolations, or maceration of such materials, and includes mixtures of gin and neutral spirits. It shall derive its main characteristic flavor from juniper berries and be bottled at not less than 80° proof. Gin produced exclusively by original distillation or by redistillation may be further designated as “distilled”. “Dry gin” (London dry gin), “Geneva gin” (Hollands gin), and “Old Tom gin” (Tom gin) are types of gin known under such designations.

Participating Distillers/Distilleries

Local Wine & Spirits

Ransom Spirits

Bull Run Distillery, Portland

Peach Street Distillers, Palisades, CO

Letherbee Distillers, Chicago IL

Small’s is Coming OUT by cdbakunas
July 18, 2012, 12:19 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink, Word on the Street | Tags: , , ,

The American Gin Revolution is here and Small’s is leading the way with our grassroots movement to legally define American Dry Gin. Here’s a copy of the article from OUT’s August 2012 issue.

New Gin Category – AMERICAN DRY by cdbakunas
February 7, 2012, 2:05 pm
Filed under: Food and Drink, Word on the Street | Tags: , , ,

Gin has a fascinating thousand year history. Unfortunately in America most gin drinkers begin and end their tale between two little words: “London” and “Dry”. 1000 years ago a rudimentary gin style, a distilled spirit with the addition of juniper for medicinal purposes, was first introduced to Europeans. The Dutch took gin, or Genever, to haut levels that by the 17th century a barrel of Dutch gin was sold for more money in royal courts than a barrel of Cognac. In America we have a robust system for giving appellations to vineyard land, for the concept of terroir runs deep in our Euro-centric social identity and background. But alas, spirits are not seen through the same ocular lens in America and we fall very short of accurately defining our spirit categories. Except for those rare circumstances where large producers have pushed for mildly greater specificity like Bourbon or some Agricole Rums. With the bloom of craft spirits and a true panoply of small craft distillers emerging on the American beverage and distribution scene we need to reassess our way of “doing business.”

News from the Street: We have been working on a grassroots movement that has deep ramifications for the future of spirit appellations. “The American Dry Gin Society.”  We’ve employed a legal firm from San Francisco, Strike and Techel, to help with the legal aspect of this, but most important is spreading the word to the bartender community and thus the public at large about appellating spirits. In a nutshell the problem is that TTB has virtually no system to codify spirits based on region, style and geography. Gin for example is so vaguely defined that any distiller could put Old Tom, London Dry or Geneva on any bottle of gin regardless of the style since these terms are deemed generic by TTB. Their only commonality is that they must use a predominant amount of juniper in the botanical blend that makes gin. Bourbon has been watered down to be truly meaningless and whiskey in itself has five pages of definitions that do nothing to protect high quality, artisan product. Clearly the laws were written post prohibition and amended by large economic influences from the spirits and barrel industries.
We are beginning with the basics and have re labeled Small’s Gin as “American Dry”. Our definition is below. It is terribly exciting to be pioneering a new category of spirit in America and our hope is to generate more awareness about the styles of gin as well as embrace our own American heritage and rich distilling history. The consumer can only benefit from higher quality and precision in labeling and codifying styles. The American Dry Gin Society has begun!

“Small’s Gin is spearheading a new category in American gin, “American Dry.” We define American Dry as gin distilled in the United States with grains grown in America. American Dry gins are pot distilled, giving subtle expression to their base grains that harmonize with complex and delicate aromatics from infused botanicals. American Dry represents a style of gin prevalent in America from 1850-1870 before the popularization of London Dry. American Dry defines gin produced in the United States and offers the consumer a better understanding of gin, its history and its manifold expressions.  Thus an appellation of gin is reborn within the United States!

Won’t it be something over the next generation or two to have spirits developed and distilled for regional and historical precedents in lieu of economic and fashion trends? Sometime in the near future I can envision having regional gins and whiskeys that express the “terroir” and life of distinct American venues like a New York style whiskey, a Western Standard gin and a Rocky Mountain whiskey; all unique and all expressive of the vast differences that we have in geography, climate, social proclivities and tastes across our huge country.

Cocktail Recipes for the Holidays by cdbakunas
December 8, 2010, 4:18 pm
Filed under: Libations | Tags: , , , , , , ,

If your holidays are anything like mine they require quite a bit of self-indulgence and perhaps a small measure of over serving (particularly to myself at the ubiquitous family get togethers). So in the spirit of sharing I bring you three amazingly tasty cocktails that our friend and bartender extraordinaire, Briar Bratkney, at Vincent Restaurant, turned out last week.

Grab some gin and whiskey and give these a whirl…they are balanced, delicious and unique and you’ll for sure be the hit of the party.

Hold Me For Ransom

2 oz Ransom Old Tom Gin
1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
8 dashes orange bitters
Muddled grape fruit wedge
Fresh tarragon
*muddle grapefruit in bottom of
a tall glass, add gin, lillet and
orange bitters. Add tarragon,
ice, stir and garnish with a
brandied cherry.

Bed of Roses

1 1/2 oz Small’s Gin
1/2 oz Koval Rose Hip Liqueur
2 rose petals
1 sprig of rosemary
*serve in a tall glass with ice,
splash of soda water and
garnish with sprig of rosemary.

One Hot Whip

2 oz Whipper Snapper
1 oz Tawny Port
1/2 squeezed lemon
2 1/2 oz hot cider
1 oz hot water
*serve in a clear coffee glass,
finish with sprinkled cinnamon,
lemon zest and a cinamon stick

American Dry Gin vs. London Dry – Why we need a new definition of London Dry Gin by cdbakunas
November 24, 2010, 9:58 am
Filed under: Libations | Tags: , , , ,

New American Dry Gin vs. London Dry Gin

Why we need a new definition of London Dry

History and differences

London Dry evolved out of a 17th/18th century style gin called Old Tom. Old Toms were bold style gins that tended to be slightly sweetened with sugars or orange flower water in order to mask impurities of the distillation process. Old Toms gave way to a cleaner, drier, juniper centric, higher quality gin named London Dry. But London Dry was never given any geographical designation, like Plymouth Gin, yet had become the standard of quality for gins across the globe by the mid 20th century while remaining loosely defined. The hallmark of London Dry Gins was only that it was neutral spirits infused with a combination of botanicals that was strongly led by juniper (that oh so pine tree quality that either attracts you or pushes you away).

Over the last ten years a new movement is afoot of small distillers making a distinction in the high quality production of gin attempting to create a new category. Thus the New Western Dry Gin or American Dry Gin category has begun to surface.

What is American Dry?  American Dry gin does not rely as heavily on juniper as its main aromatic and has a richer, rounder texture than the more precise and laser like pallet of traditional London Drys like Boodles or Bombay Saphire.  American Dry gins are made to explore a more balanced and complex aromatic that includes the use of traditional botanicals that dance together with greater equilibrium. Small’s American Dry Gin, to that end, has high tones of citrus and juniper that intermingle with cardamom, star anise and caraway. Small’s adds organic raspberries in the final distillation to not only lend a tender hint of red fruit on the finish, but more importantly add glycerin and texture to the spirit so that the mouth feel is deep and round rather than precise and pointed.

As small distillers create and replicate older gin traditions it will grow ever more important to distinguish a new category of gin, particularly in America where the revival of forgotten styles of gin is sweeping the restaurant and bar communities across the land. American Dry is rumbling and popping up across the country from coast to coast.

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