Although Erika and I pretty much only meet up for workouts and the occasional lunch (or spa treatment — we fancy sometimes), from time to time we also to get do fun foodie things in Kansas City. Like taste craft gin, whiskey and bourbon at Seasons 52 on a Thursday night. And take really poorly lit Snapchats in a dark and romantic bar.
And, despite the poor lighting, this event was delicious. I’ve been to a handful of spirits tastings before (yes, I sometimes drink stuff other than wine!), but this one — which was a combo event for Seasons 52 and SD Strong Distilling — was really interesting. SD Strong’s vodka, whiskey and bourbon were smooth and quite drinkable even on their own, but the real stand out was the Pillar 136 Gin.
I mean, I’ve had interesting gins before that are floral and herbal, but this one took the cake. It was kind of more like a complicated wine that took you on a flavor journey from the smell to the first taste to the finish. It started with citrus, transitioned smoothly to something a bit more floral, and then somehow ended warm and full of cinnamon. No burning — just smooth flavor. We were hella impressed. And so were others. Pillar 136 Gin was named winner of the Washington Cup Spirits Competition in 2015 and the San Francisco Spirits 2016 Bronze Medal.
SD Strong Distilling isn’t just unique for its gin though. The distillery is literally located in a cave close to the Missouri River and just outside of the Kansas City area, president and distiller Steve Strong told us and others attending the event. All of his spirits are done in small batches and bottled by band.
And this craftsmanship is inspiring local bartenders to make drinks like this grapefruit negroni cocktail at Seasons 52. And we have the recipe to share with you today! Because, yes, great things are best when shared.
- 1 ounce Pillar 136 Gin from SD Strong
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 ounce grapefruit shrub (homemade or your favorite brand)
- ½ ounce Campari Liquor
- Candied grapefruit peel, garnish
- Place all ingredients in metal tin.
- Fill metal tin ⅔ with ice.
- Cap the metal tin and shake vigorously for 15-seconds.
- Strain contents into iced filled chilled highball glass.
Are you into gin? This one kind of blew my mind! —Jenn