Trevor Easter, over at Heaven's Dog, introduced me to Leopold's. He explained the totally bad ass origins of the "Navy Strength" category. In a nutshell, one deck of Navy ships was set aside for gunpowder–unless a liquid was over a certain proof, it was not allowed on this deck at all, since if it leaked, it would ruin the gunpowder. A liquor of high enough proof, however, would still ignite. Thus, Navy Strength, which weighs in at a whopping 57% ABV, or 114 proof.
You may think that Navy Strength gin would be unwieldy, but Trevor (the viking in the picture below) made me the best gin-forward drink I've ever had. Ever. Essentially, it's a gin old fashioned using gum syrup (not simple) and a tiny splash of angostura.
I know I could not replicate this drink at home. Crafting such a simple drink requires technical mastery. This is one of the reasons Trevor is one of my top three favorite bartenders in the city–he's a big geek. In a good way. I mean, the guy has an infrared thermometer behind his bar with which he checks a drink's temperature. Every tool he uses is chilled. Each piece of ice is selected and modified to fit the drink.
In other words, this is much more than a simple gin old fashioned. I'd put this on my list of cocktails I could drink forever.
I should also warn you, reader, that this drink, and this gin, isn't for people who like gin. It's for people who love gin.
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