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Letherbee Vernal 2020 Horseradish Gin

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Per Letherbee:

"For this year's Vernal we chose to focus on an ingredient that hits close to home and to draw on something familiar and grounding, and yet again, something not commonly associated with Gin. 

Months ago, I was thinking about my grandparents' little farmhouse and what it smells like -  my permanently implanted scent-memories are of sun-roasted topsoil, cornhusks, juiced tomatoes, and horseradish.....

I realized that a horseradish flavored gin used in a Red Snapper (Bloody Mary with Gin) would taste like the farm.  You see, our base alcohol is made from corn, the horseradish not only brings its own flavor of spice but also the flavor of the soil, and the tomato, well, is the main squeeze of the Red Snapper......And I digress.

In short:  Vernal Gin 2020 = Horseradish.

Collinsville, Illinois (a short drive from where I grew up) is where I sourced the goods for this batch and is considered THE horseradish capital of the world.  All the horseradish sourced for this year’s Vernal Gin is from JR Kelly Co. -  the country’s largest supplier, located in Collinsville. Cultivation has centered in  Southwestern Illinois which supplies roughly 60% of the world’s total yield. Seriously though, it's where the annual International Horseradish Festival is held: complete with competitions in root grinding, root throwing, and bloody mary recipes.....In ancient medicine, horseradish was used as a stimulant and for clearing the respiratory system.  It can also ease digestion of rich foods and, when used regularly, can aid in correcting imbalances in the digestive system.  

By hand, we cut down and processed several hundred pounds of the fresh, tough and mangled root to make this year’s batch.  Directly from the bottle, the spicy wasabi-like heat is intense, it piques the senses with its mustard-like pungence that tickles the nostrils and taste buds, yet mellows to a round vegetal earthiness when diluted or mixed in cocktails.  We love this gin in a Red Snapper (Bloody Mary with Gin) and in Dirty Martini variations."