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I was having dinner the other night with a friend, and we were discussing various liquors and wines and occasions and locales as they related to their enjoyment when she asked me if I had ever just let my hair down and reveled in a complete day of drunken debauchery. Without having to consider the question for even a moment, I immediately replied, “Oh, yes. Yes, I have”. She smiled, cocked her head and just said, “Well!” And that started this trip down memory lane.

I explained that whenever I went down to Cancun or Cabo I always managed at least one day, if not more, of drunken debauchery per trip. One particular day, I recalled started with a morning Mimosa followed by a Bloody Mary and then straight Champagne with breakfast. Lunch of course was of the three martini type, which eventually evolved into a happy hour of Long Island Ice Teas with tasty tapas. Dinner brought out the wine and after dinner a Cognac and Cuban cigar and later in the evening a night cap of Champagne and then off to Never-Never Land.

Unfortunately, that schedule, although seeming quite full, left a giant thirsty gaping hole in the middle of the sun drenched afternoon. Sitting poolside that particular day, I ordered my usual Dos Equis and a shot of Tequila. Apparently, the new bartender misunderstood the order and delivered just the beer. I asked about my shot and promptly was presented with two shots. Not wanting to appear ungrateful or be considered an ugly American, I thanked the waitress and consumed the hooch. The bartender shortly must have realized his error and promptly sent out another shot accompanied by two beers. Well, this comedy of errors continued well into the afternoon with everyone involved having a good natured laugh at the bartender’s expense and soon mine.

Between the hot sun and the hooch, I finally had to jump into the pool to chill out whereupon I was immediately taken with the wonderfully intoxicated idea that it would be fun to pretend to be a shark and swim around and nibble at womens’ legs. Isn’t it just amazing how stupid drunken ideas always sound so brilliant when you’re shit faced? Well, I raised my hand straight up above my hand to simulate a shark fin and proceeded to swim around like that and playfully attack numerous stray thighs. Fortunately, most everyone else in the pool was close to my condition, and they had a good time and no one was arrested.

The next morning I stumbled out to the pool to nurse my hangover under the sun’s therapeutic rays. As I walked out, the wait staff all lifted their hands over their heads in mock shark fin salutes and greeted me: “Good morning Senor Tequila.” “How are you Mister Tequila?” I grinned sheepishly and waved off their greetings and plopped my dead ass in a lounge chair and closed my stinging eyes. The next thing I hear is the clinging of glass next to my head. I managed to pry open one eye and gazed upon a cute waitress bending close to me and placing a beer and two shots of Tequila on the table. As she spots my one open blood shot eye she says, “Compliments of the house, Mister Tequila”. She breaks into a big grin, gives me a shark fin hand salute, and turns and runs off and so started another day of drunken debauchery.

By the by, that afternoon three martini lunch, I like to seasonally adjust with vodka most of the time but alternatively with gin during the summer. And so this segues into the reason for this rant, Oxley Gin.

 

 

I guess the first question that needs to be answered about Oxley Gin is why does it cost about $50.00 per bottle? Well, if nothing else, the bottle is certainly an indication of potentially good things to come. It is a heavy clear bottle sitting in what appears to be a tin cup and has a label chronicling exactly which bottle you are drinking. They only produce 240 bottles a day and this one is number 19,316. The neck is wound with leather string that holds a leather tag with the Oxley name blind embossed into it.

Doing a little digging, I discovered that this Gin is cold distilled. They take their 14 different botanicals and macerate them in grain spirits. The macerated grain is hand spooned into the kettle. Rather than heating the mixture, in the traditional manner, a vacuum is created, which causes the alcohol to vaporize at just -5°C. The vapor then condenses in a secondary probe at -100°C, from which the liquid gin is hand collected into one of only 240 bottles a day. Okay, so I am beginning to understand why this hooch might cost $50.00.

Let’s see what it tastes like. The nose is very subtle and quite understated compared to most other gins; however, there is a delicate nuance of juniper up front followed by bright citrus notes. On the palate, the citrus comes forward followed then by the Juniper with a light background of anise and other flavors that I cannot distinguish individually but combine into a delightful whole. The finish is civilized and lengthy, leaving a fresh taste in the mouth. This Gin definitely has a lot going on for being so laid back.

When I poured it over the rocks, it awakened and opened up and the nose became a bit more pronounced and the palate expanded its flavor profile without becoming overpowering. This is some really good sipping Gin. I believe I am beginning to understand the benefits of the cold distillation process. There are no rough edges, no bitterness, no roller coaster ride through the mouth – just a smooth even sojourn. I do believe I understand why they charge what they charge for it, and it is certainly worth a taste or two. I will definitely ask for Oxley Gin at my next three martini lunch!

 

By George Brozowski

 

For more of George’s Rants and Raves click here