Last week, HBN Cocktail Club gathered to learn about GIN! And, not just any gin, but one of my VERY favorite local brands, Beehive Distilling Jackrabbit Gin. Jackrabbit Gin has been on the market for about two years, and it is certainly making its mark in the spirits industry. While Jackrabbit is Utah’s first gin since 1870, it has quickly hit markets in Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, and California. It is exciting to see such success and it is so well deserved! Jackrabbit Gin is crafted with passion and by hand, and you can really taste something special in the flavor profile.
Chris Barlow and Erik Ostling (two of Beehive’s three partners; Matt Aller wasn’t able to be at the event) provided HBN Cocktail Club with a super informative and fun tour – explaining not only about their product, but the evolution of gin from Holland. Like most spirits, gin has an amazing birth story. And, I will encourage you to set up a tour of Beehive for yourself and learn form them, rather than put those details here! It really is an amazing story to hear from Erik and Chris.
What I want to focus on, is the incredible products that Beehive Distilling produces.
“Jack Rabbit Gin is the result of a long series of test runs and tastings. After extensive recipe tweaks, the final formula captures the essence of Utah’s fragrant desert landscape that is studded with juniper trees and sagebrush. The label was designed in-house, with the copper-embossed foil representing both the metal used in stills as well as Utah’s copper mining history. The bottle’s beehive seal is a nod to the State’s emblem symbolizing industry.”
Both the gin and the packaging are incredible. What was so awesome about the tour of the distillery was being able to taste each ingredient that makes up Jackrabbit Gin in order to better understand how they all work together. At each tasting station (beautifully set up on barrels) you found juniper berries, orris root, lemon peel, grains of paradise, sage leaves, rose petals, and coriander seeds. Tasting each ingredient really helped you pick out that particular flavor in the gin. It also was an amazing real life representation of the wonderful components that make up this spirit.
But, the Jackrabbit Gin isn’t all that Beehive Distilling produces! The Beehive Barrel Reserve is another exquisite product. Barrel aged gins are so incredibly sippable and versatile – some might even say that they are more akin to a whiskey or rye, but they are definitely different than that as well. I will say, that if you aren’t a fan of gin in general, Barrel Reserve might be your gateway gin. And, if you are a fan of Ransom Old Tom Gin, just know that Beehive Barrel Reserve, while being similar, also boasts a totally different flavor profile. Your Martinez might tastes a little more robust with Beehive — but try them both if for yourself; especially if you have never tasted a barrel aged gin!
If you want to nerd out, here is a little bit about the process: “Beehive’s lead distiller macerates crushed Albanian juniper, orris root, grains of paradise and coriander in grain neutral spirits for 24 hours before redistilling the spirit. During distillation, fresh sage, rose petals and lemon zest are added to the gin basket for vapor infusing; the resulting distillate is proofed to 45%. The finishing water comes from the Wasatch Mountains, and is further ROI-filtered for purity. Heads and tails cuts are made on each run, with only the mids—or hearts—being used for the final product. Three runs off of the still are combined for each batch, yielding roughly 65 cases. Prior to bottling, the combined runs are rested for one week in our holding tank, allowing the flavors to bind. After resting, the gin is filtered one last time before being hand-bottled, labeled and batch-numbered.”
It is a lot of work, my friends. And well worth it!
After the awesome tour and tasting, the entire group, as well as Chris Barlow from Beehive, headed over the Bar X for a private party, featuring two Beehive Distilling cocktails — one with Jackrabbit and one with Barrel Reserve. Of course, we were incredibly well taken care of by SLC Bartender, Jacob Hall — who was amazing to watch as he created an incredible amount of cocktails in record time. We also had some bites from Beer Bar – and the entire night was just so much fun.
The two Beehive cocktails that Jacob made for us were:
The Wedding Cocktail
1.5 Beehive Jack Rabbit Gin
.5 Lemon .5
.25 Creme De Violette
Red Wine Float
1.5 Beehive Barrel Reserve
Bar spoon Maraschino
1 Dash Fees Grapefruit bitters
Stirred over Ice
The vote was pretty split — but my favorite was The Benedict. If you like a boozy, straightforward, classic cocktail, The Benedict is FOR YOU! (So, pretty much, for me). 🙂
Many thanks to Beehive Distilling (Chris and Erik), Bar X (Jacob Hall), and Panic Button Media (Katie Eldridge) for helping put this super fun and educational event together! It is so nice to come together as friends and cocktail enthusiasts and network with others who are just as passionate! Salt Lake City really is a great place to be!