Coconut-washed gin arrives in Georgia just in time for summer

Ticonderoga Club is the first place in Georgia to put Bimini Coconut gin on its menu, where it is used in the Coco Negroni. Courtesy of Round Turn Distilling
Caption
Ticonderoga Club is the first place in Georgia to put Bimini Coconut gin on its menu, where it is used in the Coco Negroni. Courtesy of Round Turn Distilling

Credit: Handout

Credit: Handout

Bartender technique infuses flavor of the islands

Round Turn Distilling has created a gin designed especially for summer sipping. Bimini Coconut is the first coconut-washed gin to hit U.S. store shelves, and Ticonderoga Club is the first Atlanta bar where you can try it.

Bimini Coconut is named for Bimini, the closest point in the Bahamas to the mainland U.S., far from Round Turn’s distillery in Biddeford, Maine. It is made with the same base distillate of soft juniper hops and grapefruit notes as regular Bimini gin, but with coconut flavor added through a fat-washing process.

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While it may sound unappetizing, fat washing is a way to infuse subtle, natural flavors into a spirit. It first was introduced in 2007, when, in the early days of the New York City bar Please Don’t Tell, Beverage Director Don Lee created the Benton’s Old-Fashioned by fat washing bacon. The drink became a craze and popularized the method, which he based on an 18th-century perfumery technique. In the process, known as enfleurage, flower petals are placed between layers of purified fat, and pure aromatic oils are recovered using alcohol.

Almost any compound that is fat-soluble also is alcohol-soluble. Round Turn founders Darren Case and Kristina Hansen’s fat-washing process uses organic, fair trade-certified, extra-virgin coconut oil. Essentially, fat is used to pull out flavors, similar to traditional infusions. Oil is heated to a liquid state and combined with Bimini’s original gin for extended maceration. The mixture is chilled until the oils solidify and can be strained out. The result is a real coconut flavor with a rounded mouthfeel.

Case asked Ticonderoga Club’s Paul Calvert for his opinion during Bimini Coconut’s research and development phase. “It blew my mind,” Calvert said. “The coconut is subtle and, best of all, develops as an aromatic element as the gin dilutes. It doesn’t taste like coconut-flavored gin, but more like the coconut is — and maybe should have been all along — an essential component in gin, like juniper.”

Calvert said he also appreciates that the new spirit “explores a savory and umami-facing side of gin that has not really been celebrated previously.”

He’s especially partial to using it in a Negroni, as has been done on the Ticonderoga Club drink menu. The Coco Negroni sees the coconut gin added to Alessio Chinato Italian vermouth and Ticonpari, Ticonderoga’s Italian-style bitter. An orange twist completes the drink.

You can find 750-milliliter bottles of Bimini Coconut gin ($34.99) at Elemental Spirits Co. It also is available at biminigin.com.

Ticonderoga Club. 99 Krog St., Atlanta. 404-458-4534, ticonderogaclub.com.

Elemental Spirits Co. 602 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta. 404-990-4310, elementalspirits.co.

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