Bimini Barrel Reserve No. 1 Gin- Biddeford, Maine

What sets gin apart from its clear spirits counter-parts, and gives gin its distinctive taste, are the various botanicals used for flavoring. In order for a spirit to be called gin, it must be flavored with juniper berries. When people taste and smell gin, juniper berry is (or in my opinion should be) the most prominent aroma and flavor. Other botanicals are often added to the mix (lemon peel, grapefruit, fennel, anise, etc.), but you can’t have gin without juniper berries. That’s what makes gin, gin.

   Located in Biddeford, Maine’s Pepperell Mill, next to Banded Horn Brewing, Round Turn Distilling is the creation of Darren Case and Kristina Hansen. In July of 2014, Native Mainers Darren and Kristina returned back home from Brooklyn, NY. They were drawn by the community of artists and entrepreneurs in Biddeford, a culture very similar to Brooklyn’s. Darren, a Kennebunkport native, who taught himself computer programming, was bent on learning a new algorithm: distilling.

  Round Turn Distillery is housed within a 150-year-old textile mill on the Saco River 5 miles from the Maine coast and embodies the pragmatism and industriousness of its New England forebears. While the mill once used the waters of the river to power its massive looms, Round Turn uses steam to power its modern, steel and copper still. The still is itself an embodiment of tradition informed by innovation. Built in Etna, Maine, by Trident Stills, it blends the basic principles of the centuries-old pot-still with modern innovations and efficiencies.

  Round Turn’s flagship product is Bimini Gin, an American style gin that’s softer on the palette than a classic London Dry. All gin uses juniper as its primary botanical flavoring, but Bimini Gin uses it differently. By using a more modern distillation process, the Bimini distillers are able to separate out juniper’s piney flavors and only extract the more floral and fruity notes that harmonize beautifully with the other botanical ingredients. Handcrafted from a base spirit of 100% neutral spirit distilled from non-GMO Illinois corn, Bimini uses juniper berries, coriander seeds, Mt. Hood hops, grapefruit peel, aromatic barley malt, chamomile, and orris root. The result is a fragrant, smooth tasting gin.

  Bimini has added to their lineup with a new barrel-aged version of their original gin. Why? “Just like days when you need a sweatshirt on the beach, we’ve added a layer of warm and comforting flavors to our original gin.”

 Barrel Reserve No. 1 is barreled at full distillation strength (180 proof) for three months in three different kinds of twice-used barrels: ex-bourbon Apple Brandy, ex-bourbon Rum, and ex-bourbon Sea Salt. I’m usually not a fan of gin aged in barrels, but by using twice-used barrels, rather than new, Bimini enhances the botanical notes of the gin rather than overshadowing them. The results are blended and diluted to 101 proof and rested in stainless steel for six weeks before bottling.

The citrusy notes of hops and grapefruit are intensified with hints of salinity. The juniper upfront mingles with tree fruit in the middle palate and then subsides into a lingering caramel and vanilla finish. Delicious! Aside from drinking this gin by itself without any additions, it makes a wonderful Negroni or traditional Martini. Below is a sample of some wonderful mixed drinks Bimini has created.

Cocktail Recipes from the Distiller:

Bimini Special

2oz Bimini Gin, 0.75oz fresh lime juice, 4oz coconut water, 0.25oz simple syrup, 2 dashes Angostura bitters

  1. Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice and shake
  2. Strain into collins glass with fresh ice
  3. Garnish with lime wedge


Ginger Chai Hot Toddy

1oz Bimini Gin, 0.5oz ginger-molasses syrup*, 0.25oz fresh lemon juice, chai spice tea

  1. Combine gin, syrup, and juice in punch cup
  2. Add hot tea and stir to combine
  3. Garnish with half lemon wheel

* 1:1 molasses and water, add fresh ginger juice to taste (2-3oz)

Pacific Rim

1.5oz Bimini Gin, 0.5oz 5-spice syrup*, 2.0oz pineapple juice, 0.25oz fresh lime juice

  1. Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice and shake vigorously
  2. Double strain over fresh ice into rocks glass
  3. Garnish with lime wheel

* 8 allspice berries, 1/2 tsp Sichuan peppercorn, 2 star anise, 20 cloves, 3 cinnamon sticks, 4 ginger chips, 2 tsp fennel, 1 tsp black pepper, 1.5 cups water, 1.5 cups demerara sugar

Winter Thaw

1.5oz Bimini Gin, 1.5oz fresh grapefruit juice, 0.5oz red chile grenadine*, 0.25oz fresh lime juice, pinch of sea salt

  1. Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice and shake
  2. Strain into collins glass with fresh ice
  3. Garnish with grapefruit wedge

* reduce 2 cups pomegranate juice to 1 cup, add 1 cup sugar, a 1/4 tsp of orange blossom water, and 20 minced dry red chiles. Let stand for 24-48 hrs and strain.


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