M eet D. George Benham’s Sonoma Dry Gin. It’s a fancifully-named spirit from the California-based Graton Distilling Co. It’s inspired by Gin and Tonics that the eponymous Benham consumed in Spain, and it counts mint, chamomile, and cardamom among its 12 botanicals.
The gin’s nose is light and grassy, with red wheat and a bit of honey. Despite the “dry gin” billing, it’s no juniper bomb. Instead, it has a soft, creamy texture and kicks off with a mild temperament. There’s grass and a touch of honey, followed by soft floral notes. It starts heating up at the center of the palate, and that’s where the juniper finally emerges. The finish is bone-dry and accompanied by a sudden surge of peppery heat.
D. George Benham’s Sonoma Dry Gin is indeed a dry gin, but a restrained one. While that doesn’t leave a strong impression when sipped neat in the glass, it has a wonderful effect in a Gin and Tonic. Rather than adding an overpowering flavor to the drink, the gin’s dryness meshes with the sweet tonic to balance the flavors, and it adds a crisp, chalky finish. The end result is something close to the platonic ideal of a G&T.
— 45% ABV