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.

The Heritage Gin Cocktail, Celebrating GINUARY! by cdbakunas
January 13, 2012, 10:15 am
Filed under: Food and Drink, Making Cocktails | Tags: , , ,

Tuesday, Jan 10th was the kick off of a great event. The month of Ginuary at Leopold’s in Chicago, IL.

Who doesn’t love a great gin cocktail? Hmmm, lots of people look the other way when they are presented gin. This probably happens because the sharp piney, or juniper aromatic of London Dry Gins. This precise, piney aromatic has a major turn off factor for many people, much like the cilantro effect. Or, non believers have never been educated on the panoply of styles and nuances of new modern gin. Gin is a fascinating spirit that expresses itself as “predominantly” juniper aromatic, but the word predominant can be interpreted in so many ways. And us small distillers are doing exactly that. Juniper can be expressed in manifold ways through different recipe combinations and different distilling techniques. And truth be told, gin is the most exciting white spirit with which to make cocktails. Why you ask? Because.

Because the complex aromas of a properly distilled gin adds aromatic texture and excitement in cocktails. Take for instance a simple classic; The Tom Collins. Gin, lemon, sugar and ice in a tall glass. It smacks of springtime and summer horse racing. Change this cocktail by substituting vodka and you have a relatively innocuous and simple drink. When a proper Tom Collins is made with gin the gentle citrus aromatics of classic gins harmonizes with the fresh lemon juice and essential oils from the lemon rind itself. The herbal aromatics add complexity and excite the olfactory. Much like serving a simple pasta with red sauce…it’s okay, but if you add roasted garlic, lemon zest and freshly shredded basil, topped with tiny shavings of parmigiano…now we’re talking a savory and satisfying dish.

Yes I believe in Gin. Sorry for the rant, but if you are a believer too don’t shy away from making your friends try your gin cocktails. They’ll thank you in the long run.

Here is a great cocktail for the winter:

The Heritage Gin Cocktail

2 ounces Charleston Sercial Madeira
1 oz Small’s American Dry Gin
1/2 oz Framboise
1/4 oz Orange liqueur
2 drops Bittermens Tiki bitters


Little Flower, The Fiorello Cocktail by cdbakunas
October 24, 2011, 12:59 pm
Filed under: Making Cocktails | Tags: , , ,

Fiorello is an uncommon surname and an even more uncommon name for a mayor. But Fiorello La Guardia was a short man (no more than five feet tall) who served as mayor of New York from 1934 till 1945. The word Fiorello means “Little Flower” in Italian and has been served up as a delicious petit imbiber at La Tavola in Atlanta, Georgia by the great Alli Soble.

Fiorello “Little Flower”

Smalls Gin 1 ¼ oz
Cocchi Apertivo 1 oz
Elderflower Syrup ¼ oz

Shaken and served up in a martini glass
Orange Peel Garnish

The Poqueto Mojito Cocktail by cdbakunas
October 13, 2011, 11:31 am
Filed under: Libations, Making Cocktails | Tags: , , , ,

Direct from the heart of Greenwich Village, NYC comes this stellar gin riff on a classic cocktail.

Thank you Jack http://www.jackbistronyc.com/

Poqueto Mojito

4 oz  Small’s American Dry Gin
½ Lime
Mint Leaves
Fine Sugar
Splash of Seltzer/Club Soda

Muddle the lime, sugar, and mint leaves.
Add Small’s Gin and ice and shake.
Pour into an Old-Fashion glass (with ice) and add soda.

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