A new year is upon us and with it comes the opportunity to continue our gin explorations! This quarter’s selection comes from Leopold Brothers in Denver, Colorado. For nearly two decades, they have been at the forefront of craft distilling, producing a diverse array of spirits and liqueurs. Not long ago, I had the good fortune of meeting the master distiller and co-founder Todd Leopold. He is a true innovator in his field, with a humility that belies his accomplishments. First released in 2021, Gin No. 25 is one of four gins produced at Leopold Brothers and commemorates Todd Leopold’s 25th year in the business. I hope you enjoy. See you again in the spring!
Leopold Brothers Gin No. 25
Origin: Denver, CO
Taking inspiration from the orchards of Santa Catarina, Brazil, Todd Leopold set out to capture the character of the Green and Red Mandarin Oranges that have grown there for hundreds of years. When harvested in September, the Mandarin Orange is green in color, yielding an aromatic peel used in cuisines around the world. When these same oranges are harvested in late December, they yield a reddish fruit that has a floral and intense citrus aroma similar to its cousin, the Tangerine.
Uniquely, each botanical used in the gin is distilled separately. Most gins are distilled with all botanicals together, but distilling them separately allows Todd to more precisely control the flavors and aromas expressed in the finished gin. Juniper berries, for example, can take on harsh, piney flavors when distilled for a long time (a quality which can put some people off gin altogether). When the distillate is cut sooner, the berries will come across as bright and fruit-forward.
Leopold Bros. distills Santa Catarina’s Green and Red Mandarin Oranges separately, blending the two distillates together in the final gin. This allows the two contrasting flavors to work in concert, marrying citrus and floral notes to a piquant finish. In addition to the citrus, the Gin is finished with earthy and savory notes using Orris Root, Juniper, Sri Lankan White Pepper, and South African Rooibos Tea.
Distiller: Todd Leopold
Green and Red Mandarin Oranges, orris root, Bulgarian juniper, Sri Lankan White Pepper, South African Rooibos Tea
Tasting notes: Bright citrus oil and pith on the nose.
On the palate, savory undertones from the Rooibos.
Finishes with lingering citrus and earthiness.
To hear Todd Leopold talk about the gin, watch this video.
2-2 ½ oz Leopold Gin No. 25
½ - 1 oz dry vermouth (substitute blanc vermouth for a softer and sweeter drink)
2 dashes orange bitters (optional)
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well chilled (20-30 seconds). Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a citrus twist.
1 ½ oz Leopold Gin No. 25
¾ oz Suze Gentian Liqueur
1 oz Lillet Blanc
Garnish: lemon peel
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass if serving up, or over ice into a rocks glass if preferred. Garnish with a lemon peel.
1 ½ oz Leopold Gin No. 25
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz simple syrup (1:1, sugar:water)
Add gin, lemon juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain over ice into a Collins glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with a brandied cherry and an orange wheel.