Cheers January/February 2014

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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The Gin Game Innovation and options increase interest in the botanical spirit By Kelly A. Magyarics D The Devil's Gate at Flintridge Proper. 20 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 espite the best efforts of craft bartenders and classic cocktail enthusiasts, gin remains a tough sell with many consumers. Gin commands just 5.3% of the U.S. distilled spirits market, according to the Beverage Information Group's 2013 Fact Book, vs. vodka with a 34.1% share, whiskey (23.2%) and rum (13.0%). What's more, gin sales, which totaled 10.8 million 9-liter cases for 2012, have been relatively flat. So why are some people so excited about the botanical spirit? For one thing, the craft cocktail revival of recent years ago continues to fuel interest in Pre-Prohibition cocktails—a number of which include gin. There are also many new styles of gin to choose from today, from modern, less juniper-driven versions to aged gins and flavored varieties. These developments have inspired innovations in mixology and helped make some guests more adventurous about gin. The gin movement is just beginning, according to Brady Caverly, co-owner of Flintridge Proper. The Flintridge, CA, restaurant boasts the largest selection of gins in the country— 213 options, priced from $10 to $60 for some of the rarer gins. "I feel like we're now in the age of Bourbon and rye, and I truly believe that gin is the next big thing," Caverly says. But there's one major difference between how guests enjoy brown spirits vs. gin, he notes: "It really needs to start with cocktails, since very few people sip gin neat." The 72-seat Flintridge Proper has about 17 gin cocktails on its menu, with classics represented like the Proper Martini ($12), with Plymouth gin, Dolin vermouth, a lemon twist and a rinsed olive, as well as modern, locally-influenced libations like the Devil's Gate ($11), with Plymouth Navy Strength gin, blackberries, basil, serrano pepper, lemongrass syrup and ginger, topped with club soda.

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