Last week, on what residents of New England refer to as Patriot’s Day, the Boston Marathon didn’t happen, for the first time since 1897. Tradition would have had the Red Sox playing an early game, with fans converging afterward to catch the scene at the finish line. Our at-home tasting group (ie, my family) agreed that a Boston gin with a tough name seemed a fitting tribute.
Bully Boy Estate Gin is, well, Boston Strong. Batch 106, bottle 55 was on deck. Bully Boy doesn’t stray far from home with this one, starting with local apple brandy and neutral grains. Some of us caught distant notes of apple, but it was hard to be sure; the gin is a well balanced classic, with lingering juniper. The distillers suggest their botanical flavors are rooted in New England, but the tastes that pop out traditionally hail from somewhere distant: pink peppercorn, hibiscus, lemon, coriander, and Albanian juniper are prominent in the mix.
Brothers Dave and Will Willis are transplants themselves. Their home farm’s open fields, cows, and barns are fairly close in terms of miles, but a world away from the urban setting of their tasting room on Newmarket Square in the Roxbury neighborhood.
The Estate Gin makes a great gin and tonic, but the range of flavors and 47% ABV offers the chance to experiment a bit. My idea of daring is to replace lime with a lemon next time. The more adventurous might take a cue from the makers’ tasting room menu: Their house creation Raspberry Beret makes a double switch of soda and raspberry in place of tonic.
Fingers are crossed for the Boston Marathon’s rescheduled start, September 14. Fall in New England is all about apple cider and apple cider donuts. And, with a little more luck, gin made from apples.