Crater Lake Gin is a straw-colored gin from Bendistillery in Bend, Oregon, who also makes several varieties of vodka. While its label calls it “Handcrafted American Gin,” one of those words can be misleading: American.
I’ve said before that my personal gin preferences lie with London Dry gins, though I love nearly all gins I encounter. American gin, or “western gin,” as it’s sometimes called, usually has another botanical flavor that’s supreme over the juniper that London Drys are known for.
Not so with Crater Lake. For my personal taste, this gin makes the best-tasting martini I’ve ever had. It’s a juniper-lovers gin, with a bit of spice in the finish. It’s silky and smooth, and I’ve nearly drunk half the bottle making strictly martinis. Tasted neat, the spice is more obvious, and the gin is a bit more potent when it’s not ice-cold.
Crater Lake, which was known previously as Cascade Mountain Gin, and can be found throughout the U.S. at retail, or online for about $30. Make it in a martini like this:
- 2 1/2 oz gin
- 1/2 oz dry vermouth
- olive garnish
- stir with lots of ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass