Philadelphia based Bluecoat Gin has expanded its line with two intriguing variations. (photo courtesy of the distillery)

The eve of an historic election is a great timing for patriotic spirit. I suggest gin from the City of Brotherly Love. It’ll help us all get along.

Philadelphia Distilling opened as Pennsylvania’s first craft distillery since Prohibition less than fifteen years ago, and its Bluecoat American Dry Gin was an early American rebel. I heard of one person rumored to announce he was “throwing on his Bluecoat” (standard garb for The Continental Army) to celebrate cracking a new bottle open. There are certainly many who have embraced the approachable style of this classic American style gin.

Juniper is the only required ingredient of gin and yet that’s the taste that keeps some Americans from being gin fans. Bluecoat tackled this challenge head on, opening flavor doors by moving the juniper taste back. They select a Mediterranean organic berry that offers more sweetness and spice than outright pine. Other ingredients are simple and include angelica root, coriander seed, and citrus. Bluecoat is surprisingly light in taste for 94% ABV. There is a sweetness from the juniper and citrus that peeks around a bold lemon profile. This is a gin that holds its own in any classic cocktail and shines with tonic and lots of citrus. 

Andrew Auwerda, President of Philadelphia Distillery, has described Bluecoat in ways that are reminiscent of our country’s revolutionary split from England—but the gin cannot be fully disconnected from the United Kingdom, since it is made in a Scottish copper still. “We were really trying to break the mold and do the American version of a traditional London dry gin,” Auwerda says.

Philadelphia Distilling proves the versatility of Bluecoat by breaking the mold a bit more. They created two more gins using the same underlying Bluecoat. One version changes the process, and one adds a single ingredient. The result is a trio of gins that are totally different, and yet the same at their core.

Bluecoat Barrel Finished Gin will lure whiskey lovers. Bluecoat Gin is transformed with a Revolutionary War era finishing process, aging the spirit for a year in American oak. Citrus gives way to a caramel note and the crystal-clear gin is transformed into a golden color. Feature this gin in a Negroni and go a bit heavier than usual on the gin pour. An orange peel will coax the citrus taste back to the front.

Bluecoat Elderflower Expression is labeled as a limited edition, but this tasting room surprise is here to stay. The prolific Elderflower is native to both England and the United States. Bluecoat infuses its gin with spring blossoms, yielding a distinctive pale-yellow color, yet it barely tints a cocktail. The one ingredient does two things. First, it turns up the distinctive Bluecoat tastes. There is more citrus, almost orange, and there is added sweetness reminiscent of spring honeysuckle. Second, it adds a floral profile the original Bluecoat doesn’t offer. The Elderflower Expression is a crowd favorite—and no one seems to miss the juniper.

We suggest giving each candidate equal time prior to voting for your favorite.