The amount of vermouth and the garnish may have been debatable, but the main ingredient of the classic American drink was as strictly defined as the shape of the glass. Today, not only does the word ‘martini’ usually refer to a vodka drink, but so does any bar order ending in ‘ini,’ such as an appletini. To add insult to injury, vodka makers started diversifying away from the classic vodka taste and infusing their product with fruit, chocolate and a myriad of other flavors, while gin has remained pretty much the same as when Winston Churchill drank it. As a result, at most bars, the number of gin bottles and drinkers are vastly outnumbered by their vodka counterparts.
The maker of G’Vine, spirits and wine company Eurowinegate, has decided, “If you can’t lick ‘em, join ‘em,” and began pitching this gin as the original flavored vodka. The company that helped develop Ciroc, the world’s first vodka made exclusively from grapes, developed a gin made from grapes.
While most gins are made from a grain spirit, G’Vine takes wine obtained from Ugni blanc grapes growing in the Cognac region of France and distills it four times to produce a neutral grape spirit. Some of the spirit is then small-batch distilled in copper pots with nine whole-fruit botanicals: the typical gin ingredient juniper berries, along with ginger root, licorice, green cardamom, cassia bark, coriander, cubeb berries, nutmeg and lime. Meanwhile, hand-picked green grape flowers, which last for just two weeks after blossoming, are macerated and distilled in another portion of the spirit. The infusion of vine flowers and the botanical distillates are then blended together with more neutral grape spirit and copper-pot distilled a final time.
Although the resulting 80-proof drink is smooth and light, we found G’Vine to have too many floral notes to be enjoyed neat or on the rocks. But when cut down with tonic, the French import’s flavors balanced nicely, and made for a unique, refreshing beverage with a long finish. The floral aspects can be utilized to add a new twist to a variety of cocktails, such as the G’Vine Cosmo.