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it authentically.” Most recently, Copper & Kings completed arguably its most ambitious gin-related project when it distilled the world’s oldest known recipe for the botanical spirit. The recipe was first documented in 1495 by a merchant from the Duchy of Guelders (modern-day Germany) and it later appeared in Tristan Stephenson’s book, “The Curious Bartender’s Gin Palace.” The original document detailed a brandy recipe made from “10 quarts of wine with clear Hamburg beer.” After the initial distillation it would be re-distilled with “two handfuls of dried sage, one pound of cloves, 12 whole nutmegs, cardamom, cinnamon, galangal, ginger, grains of paradise” and, of course, juniper. The distiller enlisted the aid of Louisville’s Monnik Beer Co. to produce the medieval Hamburg beer. Copper & Kings released the completed product as 1495 Guelders Gin. As creative as Copper & Kings has been with its gin program, the distillery has been eager to share the spotlight with others from its neck of the woods. It did so last summer when it hosted the first-of-its-kind event, Supersonic: The Kentucky Craft Gin Festival. (Copper & Kings named it after the Oasis song, Supersonic, which featured the line, “I’m feeling supersonic, give me gin and tonic”). The event, held in early August in the distillery’s spacious courtyard, attracted a larger crowd than Heron’s team had expected. “Honestly, we do a lot of events and this one was easily one of the most successful,” Heron recalls. “There were at least 1,000 people and we were utterly slammed.” Joining Copper & Kings were Corsair Distillery, which operates a distillery in Bowling Green, Kentucky (in addition to its better-known site in Nashville, Tenn.) and New Riff Distillery in Newport, Kentucky. Corsair Distillery is best known for whiskeys like Ryemageddon rye and Triple Smoke American malt, as well as alt-grain offerings like Quinoa Whiskey and Oatrage, but few realize that the first spirit it produced was a gin (the distillery had to sell something while it waited for its whiskeys to age). And, its Artisan Gin, crafted on the distillery’s hand-hammered gin-head pot still, has garnered multiple awards—including gold medals at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2009 World Beverage Competition and the 2011 International Review of Spirits Awards from the Beverage Testing Institute. About five years ago, Corsair also launched an award-winning gin aged in barrels that previously held the distillery’s spiced rum. The company also released a limited-edition gin with smoked botanicals. “I never thought I would have ever made a gin, and now I love gin,” says Corsair co-founder and owner Darek Bell. 4:18:04 PM It’s also quite profitable for the company, as about one-third of Corsair’s revenue comes from gin sales. “We’re in the middle of whiskey country and we have a lot of gin haters come through our doors and we have to perform what we like to call a ‘gin-tervention,’ where we have to introduce people to gin again as an adult,” Bell says. “And we’re shocked at how many whiskey-loving gin-hating people will try gin. And they can appreciate it now, when they couldn’t appreciate it in college.” Gin’s fortunes, he says, are very much intertwined with those of the craft and classic cocktail scene. It also helps that many WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM

Artisan Spirit: Winter 2017  
Artisan Spirit: Winter 2017  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.