After falling out of favor during the early 20th century, when consumers flocked to vodka, gin is once again in vogue. Some of the craft gins currently flooding the market remain loyal to the true London dry gins, providing a big punch of piney juniper. Others eschew that pine-needle taste, packing instead citrus and botanicals, amounting to little more than flavored vodka.
Martin Miller’s Gin entered the market in 1999 about a decade before the spirit’s resurrection, when Martin Miller, sipping a gin and tonic at a small bar in England, asked two friends, “What would it take for us to make the perfect gin?”
Attempting to appeal to both vodka and hard-nosed gin drinkers, they settled on two parameters. One was a two-part distillation (the first reserved for juniper and earthy botanicals; the second for citruses), which creates a more balanced gin than distilling everything together. The second: Icelandic water.
While every gin is blended with water, Martin Miller’s uses water that trickles down from icebergs, filtering through the volcanic rocks of Iceland’s landscape. The result is a higher surface tension, which inhibits the volatiles from escaping, and leads to a more reserved gin than most. The juniper, though clearly there, doesn’t overpower, making it perfectly sippable neat, or, better yet, exceptional with a dash of vermouth for a Martini. It also allows the spirit to be easily mixed into cocktails, which is one reason it’s become bartaco’s preferred gin. “We use Martin Miller’s because it’s the flavor profile I wanted—traditional London dry,” says Gretchen Thomas, bartaco’s wine and spirits director. “An ABV of 40 percent makes it easy to mix with, since we make balanced, citrusy drinks.” You’ll find it most notably in bartaco’s Port Chester Reviver, with cucumber, mint, mango nectar, and lime juice.
For those of you looking to make that perfect Martini, you can find Martin Miller’s on the shelves of Friendly Spirits in Harrison, Harrison Wine Vault, Tarrytown’s Destination Wine & Liquor, and Fairway Wine & Spirits in Pelham Manor.