New in the World of Gin


Last the night, the Gintender attended the Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve (barrel finished gin) launch party. The event was hosted by Nick Van Tiel  who is the ambassador for Beefeater and Plymouth (and an all around great guy.) The event was held at Farmers Fishers Bakers in Georgetown-which was a great venue for it. The most notable point is that Beefeater chose to launch their new Reserve first in Washington DC before distributing in other parts of the country–finally, DC’s bar scene is coming of age!

James Burrough founded Beefeater Gin in 1863. This new ultra-premium gin was named in honor of the founder and crafted by Master Distiller Desmond Payne. Desmond Payne has over 45 years of distillation experience and is one of the most respected names in the world of gin. Desmond mixed old and new traditions for the Reserve: “I wanted to create something truly unique that celebrated the distilling heritage of Beefeater. I expect Burrough’s Reserve to appeal to free thinking individuals who enjoy challenging convention and exploring new sensory experiences with gin.”
It is based off the original Beefeater recipe and made in James Burrough’s original 268L tiny copper still. The still was brought out of retirement for the Reserve in order to create a truly unique, hand-crafted small batch gin. After distillation the gin is rested in handpicked French Oak barrels, formerly used for aperitif wines and small batch fruit liqueur.

I was initially skeptical about barrel aging gin-a brand new trend that seems to be growing in the gin category. Traditionally gin is never aged, and I was worried it would be moving the spirit into the Geniever flavor profile or even the whiskey world. After a taste (and then several more) I was sold. The spirit has a light golden-pale hue and is bottled at 86 proof. The palate is complex yet soft, with subtle citrus notes (characteristic of the standard Beefeater Gin) mellowed out but still dominant juniper and a spice finish. I believe this is the first gin I have ever encountered that I think stands as a sipping gin. If mixing would only recommend subtle components–you do not want to crush this unique expression. Wisdom will have one of the first shipments in the US early next week.



Desmond Payne

The Reverse Martini


It is no secret I have a healthy obsession with gin. It is the canvas I like to build most of my drinks on. But right after my obsession with gin is my obsession with aperitif wines/vermouth. In my humble opinion it is the least understood and most underutilized cocktail ingredient in our current cocktail rebirth. It is one of two ingredients in a Martini and one of three ingredients in a Manhattan, yet the majority of Americans and even many professional cocktail makers know very little about it and do not place importance on it.

There are three main reasons why Americans shy away from Vermouth. One, the famous haters such as Winston Churchill who declared that the way to make a martini correctly is extremely chilled gin and then bowing in the direction of France. Secondly, it is trendy to order a martini “dry”, although in my seven years experience behind the bar it is scary how many customers order a martini that way but do not really understand what they are asking…but it sounds correct! And finally, most do not realize that vermouth has a shelf life. And if you have ever had wine that has been opened for days/weeks that has oxidized it is horrible. The same thing happens to Vermouth (although it takes longer to turn). But if your first experience with the stuff is oxidized Vermouth, anyone sane drinker would want to keep it as far away from their lips as possible.

If you want to learn the magic of vermouth I suggest you sign up for a class with me, but in the mean time you can come in to Wisdom or Church & State and order a REVERSE MARTINI.

What is a reverse martini? Besides being the favored drink of Julia Child, it is a simple reverse in the ratio of gin and vermouth. It puts the vermouth/aperitif wine on stage and uses the gin for some body and a botanical subtle kick. Much lighter in proof than a standard Martini and yet much stronger than a glass of wine or beer. It may be the perfect drink for the individual who loves the elegance and flavor profile of a classic cocktail but whose tolerance level is not ready for the heat!

One combination that I recently came up with is the BLUE ROSE. The Cocchi Rosé is a new aperitif wine from Cocchi that has incredible depth and a nice layer of bitterness from the chinchona (ken-KEE-nah) bark that is added. BTW the “Americano” does not refer to American but to “Amer” or bitter.


2.25 oz of Cocchi Americano Rosé Aperitif Wine

0.75 oz of BlueCoat Gin

dash of Orange bitters

I recommend stirring over the rocks than straining into a coup glass.

Optional Garnish: Orange Peel

Veronique Beittel Knows Her Genever

Genever expert & Belgian Ex-pat, Veronique of Diep 9 gave us a fascinating history lesson on Genever (Gin’s Grand Daddy) at Wisdom a couple weeks ago at our very first Genever tasting.

What is Genever??? 

The 500 year old Belgian National liquor that has a flavor profile somewhere between Gin, Vodka, and Whiskey.

But enough out of us.  Check out these great videos below.

Diep 9 Genever Tasting at Wisdom DC – Part 1

Part 1 – Diep 9 Genever Tasting at Wisdom DC from adam schreck on Vimeo.

Part 1 not working? Click here to watch this video on Vimeo.

Diep 9 Genever Tasting at Wisdom DC – Part 2

Part 2 – Diep 9 Genever Tasting at Wisdom DC from adam schreck on Vimeo.

Part 2 not workings? Click here to watch this video on Vimeo

New Year’s Gala at Church & State


Tickets cost $250 for two people  and space is limited.  Only 50 people will be allowed in before midnight.

Price includes cocktail course served throughout the night and appetizers (You will have open access to FruitBat, but only people who purchase tickets may enter Church & State before midnight.)
Choose between two pre-paid cocktail courses for you and your guest.

Choose your Cocktail Destiny: Sterling or Onyx.

Each course will be served every 40 minutes, additional cocktails/beer/wine may be purchased ala carte.

The Sterling Flight consists of a medley of vodka, gins, and moonshine made west of the Mississippi. The classic vodka martini, the chuck yeager, pritchards white lightning moonshine, gin rickey, the moscow mule and the original mai tai. Bonus cocktail is the champagne toast.

The onyx course boasts american sweethearts: whiskey,boubon and rye. The manhattan, the old fashioned, sazerac, the gilda, dark and stormy, and the washingtonian. Bonus cocktail is the champagne toast.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. First course will be served at 8:20 pm and every 40 minutes after until midnight.

Evening includes buffet from 7:30 pm until the end of the night.

Purchase tickets below:



Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Gintender Feature

The Gintender

A new video by The Great Courses features yours truly (The Gintender) with insight into the world of mixology, spirits and traditions.  This video is a great way to get up to speed on the sipping of scotch, the mixing of gin and mixology essentials.

It’s also a great reference if you are interested in private mixology classes with The Gintender.

We highly suggest at least giving the preview a look!  Check out the link below for the preview video and a few great cocktail tips:

Special thanks to the folks at The Great Courses for putting together such a superb instructional video!

Help the Gintender Win “Trading Up” Competition

Gin tasting

We need your help Gintender faithfuls!

The Gintender has entered his very own “Miller’s Crossing” cocktail into the Martin Miller’s Gin  “Trading Up” Cocktail Competition (you will need to “like” the page in order to see the details).  We need your vote to win!  All you need to do is go to this Facebook page and “like” the drink!

Not convinced Martin Miller’s Gin is your gin?  Well we highly recommend it and we think you should give “Miller’s Crossing” a chance!  Here is the recipe:


2.0 oz Martin Miller’s Gin
.25 oz Curacao
1.0 oz Grapefruit Juice
1.0 oz Aloe Vera Juice
Dash of Agave Nectar


Shake and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a slice of star fruit.

Give it a try and let us know what you think.  And don’t forget to vote!  Also make sure to check these other great entrants.

The grand prize is $500, so if the Gintender wins, we’ll be giving out $500 worth of drinks at Wisdom!

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