Emulsion Gin by Fainting Goat Spirits-Greensboro, NC
Andrew Norman who, along with his father Bill, distill a robust style of gin. Emulsion Gin is unique as a gin distiller in that they are “grain to glass” meaning they make every part of their product including the neutral distillate.
Andrew Norman and Bill Norman
Favorite Forum: “American Distilling Institute’s online forum is part of my morning routine.” -- Andrew Norman
Botanicals:Juniper, cardamom, orange peel, lemongrass, grains of paradise
Insight into sourcing botanicals: Fainting Goat Spirits gets botanicals from San Francisco Herb Co: www.sfherb.com/ which they found through a Google search. They had originally wanted to from North Carolina but could not find anyone to supply them with 50 lbs of juniper berries 2x per month. Ultimately San Francisco Herb Co was chosen because they provide a great quality for the price.
Still and Still Story
Still by Artisan Still Designs, Mobile, Alabama (www.artisanstilldesign.com)
During their search for a still, they found that the still manufacturers that supply the large producers would require a year and a half lead time or require a thousand gallon still. Fortunately at a trade show, they found Artisan Still Designs which produced a still that work with both their timing and budget. “I would go back to them in a heartbeat if we need another still” said Andrew during our interview.
Neutral grain spirits starts as still proof Tiny Cat Vodka, which is their 2018 SF Wine and Spirits Competition Bronze Medal recipient. To make Tiny Cat, a mashes of North Carolina Soft Red Wheat, Corn and Rye are open top fermented (to include natural yeast) then run through the pot still. The distillate is combined into the same tote, then run back through a 16 plated copper column. The Emulsion’s base spirit is not brought down to proof, but Tiny Cat vodka uses Reverse Osmosis water to be proofed down to 40% ABV.
Integration of Botanicals
The neutral distillate comes off the still at 190 proof, is collected and proofed down to 130 proof. Then put two “tea bags” full of botanicals are steeped for 24 hours in a stainless steel tote with a custom welded bar to keep the tea bags from floating in the alcohol. It then goes through another distillation before being reduced to 91 proof.
Big complex cardamom nose, rounded by the juniper, lemongrass, and citrus notes.
Starts up front with a touch of sweetness and viscosity from the base of Tiny Cat vodka. It then swells into the big and highly aromatic cardamom note. Though the cardamom note fades, it provides a backbone which is accented by piney juniper and citrus notes from the grains of paradise and orange peel. The finish is particularly aromatic and lemongrass becomes the predominant flavor which is accented by the citrus and cardamom notes.
Cheerwine + Emulsion Gin = North Carolina
As complex as one can make a cocktail with fancy ingredients, this is everything you would want from a cocktail. Cheerwine’s sweet black cherry flavors pull first, the effervescent bubbles bounce on the tongue and the ice provides a cooling feeling. The back half of the middle section of cherry, cardamom and citrus works almost like a well-made grenadine that uses pomegranate molasses, and it decrescendo’s into the piney and citrus notes that have the same nostalgic feel of all of the trees.
Cheerwine + Empulsion Gin over Ice
This combination reminds us of North Carolina in the warmer months. We’ve tried a variety of other ingredients to make it more complex or “fancier”, but find that this combination is plenty complex and hits every note we would want.
Light flavors as this Gin is Robust.
Hawaii Beverage Commentary
There are very few Gins we would drink straight. This is one of the few. It’s big and bold, due to it’s flavor complexity.