So how far do you have to go to reach your local distillery? Here at the American Martini Laboratory, it's a stroll of less than a mile to the W. P. Palmer Distilling Co. on Shurs Lane.
This is a new distillery and still a small one. They make Liberty Gin and Manayunk Moonshine. The latter is available only the distillery and since the whole legal moonshine phenomenon is a baffling example of the willingness of Americans to buy and drink practically anything, the AML gave it a pass.
Gin is another matter. Marianne and I bought a bottle and have begun testing it. The Palmer Distillery people advertise it as being "a wonderful Martini, a classic Gin & Tonic and a delicious Gimlet." No gin can be all things to all drinks, of course, so this claim must be taken as a perfectly understandable bit of corporate puffery.
Gimlets and gin and tonics are warm-weather drinks and it's been cool here in Roxborough for the past week, so we haven't tested either of those. But we did mix a martini and a pitcher of aviations.
And the results are...
Liberty Gin is seasoned with juniper, coriander, angelica, cardamom, and grains of paradise. As a result it has a strongly floral taste that does not particularly suit the steely grandeur that is the American Martini.
However, the aviations were exceptional. The aviation is a lighter, more festive cocktail and one that is well suited to a floral gin.
So we are well content with our neighborhood distillery and look forward to further tests when the weather turns warmer.
You can find their website here.
And since you asked...
Here's the standard recipe for the Aviation. Which has the pleasant distinction of being that rarest of beasts, the cocktail that is as blue as the sky.
.5 oz Maraschino liqueur
.25 oz Crème de violette or Crème Yvette
.75 oz Lemon Juice
Mix, shake, strain, and drink. It is optional whether or not to garnish it with a Maraschino Cherry. If all you have are those awful candied things that come in a jar, I wouldn't recommend it. But since Marianne spices her own cherries, we prefer our drinks garnished. Being careful not to muddy the color with any of the cherry's liqueur, it goes without saying.
Like most cocktails, the exact proportions of the drink should be to taste. Marianne likes to make our aviations with lime juice rather than lemon, which she feels imparts too yellow a cast to the drink's appearance.