Who ever heard of Hendrick’s Gin? Even the infinitesimal PR piece attached to the neck of the squat dark brown apothecary style bottle says it is only loved by a tiny handful of all the people in the world. They even tout the fact that this hooch is preferred by only 1 out of 1000 gin drinkers. They further warn that it is a gin made oddly and is most unusual and not for everybody. What in the hell was I getting into? Well, turns out I was getting into the best damn gin on the planet, that’s what!!

Humphrey Bogart said it best in Casablanca. “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” Boy, am I ever thrilled this Gin walked into my joint. Superlatives don’t do this Gin justice. It is so far beyond good that new words need to be made up to describe it. This is simply the best spirit I have tasted in over a year.

If you should happen to visit their web site, which is also one of the more interesting on the web, you come to realize that his stuff is produced by strange and odd little people with intense gazes and thick accents who have run away from Monty Python’s Circus because it was too tame to contain their insanity.

The magical mystery tour starts with two antique stills that can be found in only a handful of places on the entire planet and only together in this secret place tethered 6 miles above the earth by the most intricate hot air balloons that were ever crafted over a century ago. The Eau De Vie is produced by an 1860 Bennet still and a 1948 Carter Head still (1 of only 4 left in the world). These stills are heated by domesticated Scottish fire breathing dragons cloned from ancient remains found in the area. The spirits are skillfully married up there in the heavens and then stored in barrels deep below the earth. They only produce a miniscule 450 liters per batch because the fairies are incapable of lifting heavier loads.

But it’s really not so much how they do it, even though they do it quite remarkably, it’s what they put into it. This “most iconoclastic Gin” is devised from an ancient secret recipe that was wrestled away from a one eyed ogre at the cost of dozens of lives. Among the many flowers, roots, herbs and seeds the primary ingredient is of course Juniper but the next two are quite surprising and rumored to have been first introduced to the blend by THE Merlin of old. Only an ancient and wizened wizard could have thought of adding Bulgarian rose petals and cucumbers to the blend. I kid you not, rose petals and cucumbers give this Gin a taste like no other anywhere in this solar system.

When I pulled the cork out of the bottle my nose was assailed by its extraordinary perfume. Now I know how Coco Chanel must have felt when she first got a whiff of her famous #5 perfume. Hendricks Gin has far more perfume than any other common gin, a mighty nose forwarded by Juniper and closely followed by flowery roses, earthy green cucumber, coriander, witch hazel, cinnamon and so much more. I wanted to bathe in its smell. I wanted someone to massage it into my entire body. Right then and there I knew I was in for a very, very special treat.

Having floated up to the ceiling during the process of being swept away by the awesome aromas that seemed to fill the entire room, I managed to climb back down to the floor and the bottle and actually pour some into a glass. My mouth was instantly transported back to my Aunt Bea’s flower garden, the one just behind her house and next to the Mississippi River and we were celebrating the 4th of July. It was a splendid hot and humid and sunny afternoon just after a sudden but very brief downpour had ionized the air and crystallized and sharpened all the sights and smells of the garden and the river. This Gin possesses a medium to light body and reveals an aromatic blend of spices and floral scents with a mild tingling on the lips and tongue. It provides a slight warming embrace on the way down leaving a lingering finish of floral and citrus notes with the crisp yet odd brightness of cucumber.

It made one hell of a martini! Of course, I don’t put Vermouth in my martinis be they Gin or Vodka. At the instance of the gnome with the cleft palate I sliced a cucumber for the garnish and was astonished at how well it complimented this martini. I should have poured the gnome his own drink because with that cleft palate he spilled half of my martini all over himself and the floor and the place began taking on the smell of a true Gin joint. However, thanks to this stuff, it smelled like a high class Gin joint.

Gin and tonic is one of my favorite summer drinks but up to this point I hadn’t realized just how wonderful and refreshing they could really be. Hendricks makes the best Gin and tonic I have ever tasted. There I was back at Aunt Bea’s garden swaying back and forth in a hammock between two huge weeping willow trees with my Gin and tonic in hand. If I could just get that damn gnome to be a bit less enthusiastic pushing me this would be perfect. By the by, spend the extra quarter and get the best tonic you can, it will be worth every penny. And while you’re at it get a cucumber or two.

So the bottom line, what does all this joy cost? That’s the real magic of this story, it’s only around $30.00/750ml bottle. So jump on your sturdy steed, gallop over to the nearest apothecary that carries Hendricks, slay the evil black night at the door, grab a bottle from the dusty shelf and pay the gorgeous serving wench and have her place it in a bag and then club her over the head and drag her back out to your steed and take her to your castle and serve her some Hendricks Gin and she will forgive you and marry you and you will live happily ever after and have many children. Just watch out for that damn gnome.

By George Brozowski

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