Monday, January 4, 2010
DRY Soda: Juniper Berry
First, a thank you to the good people at DRY for indulging my whining and sending me this sample when I was unable to procure it on my own.
Juniper berry, should you not know, is what gives gin its distinct flavor. Juniper berries are actually not berries at all, but a cone that grows a joined set of scales that look a lot like berries. Sorta like a fleshy pine cone masquerading as a berry. (And juniper is in fact an evergreen.)
I am personally not a fan of gin. But I love the scent of juniper, and I am hoping that the qualities I like in the smell -- rather than what I don't like about gin -- is what's going to come through in the soda.
Smelling the soda, it reminded me of one of my favorite bath gels. I know that doesn't sound like a compliment, but I mean it as one. It's very brisk and clean, with a light scent that is sort of a cross between pine and generic berry.
It's lightly carbonated, so there is only a little fizz. The flavor is very subtle. There's a touch of citrus in the background: I couldn't tell you what kind of citrus; just general zestiness. (Is that a word? I don't care, you get the point.) The main flavor reminded me of really watered-down ginger ale.
What I have noticed with both of the DRY Sodas I have tried so far, is that the flavor really seems to come out more as an aftertaste rather than something you notice during the actual sip. In this case, the aftertaste reminded me strongly of gin. If you are a gin lover, I could see where this would be the perfect drink for you when you can't actually have the real stuff. Sadly, I am not a gin lover, so its charms are lost on me.
DRY sodas are also meant to be used as mixers, as well as to be drunk straight. I absolutely loved the cucumber DRY soda (see my review here) mixed with vodka. I know that for this flavor, gin should be the natural choice -- but, as I have none on hand, I used vodka instead. (Always remember, folks, I am merely having a nice mixed drink because I care about bringing you guys the best quality reviews possible. Not because I wanted a cocktail or anything like that. Such a mitzvah on my part...)
Once again, I have to say that as much as I may have liked the soda on its own, it's truly really stellar as a mixer. I mixed about two ounces of soda to a half-ounce of vodka. The citrus became a little cleaner and more lemony. The ginger ale background disappeared completely and left a very crisp taste reminded me of a berry-tinged martini.
On its own, it's not that I didn't like it -- but it was just too similar to plain gin for me. I truly loved it as a mixer, though.
It's hard for me to rate this one, because it's not that it's bad in any way. It just has a flavor that I tend not to like under the best of circumstances, so take my rating with a grain of salt...especially because I could see gin fans going into ecstasies over this one.
Sample From Company