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Nolet's Silver is a different type of gin, combining Turkish rose, white peach and raspberry botanicals for a unique flavor that is perfect for blending. Here is FIG Restaurant's 'We've Got the Beet,' a cocktail that uses the Silver, beet juice, apple syrup and Absinthe spray. (photo by Howard Wise)

While I’ve never been a devoted gin drinker given the overpowering nature of the juniper (it always reminded me of cleaning products), after sampling Nolet’s Silver, I just might have to become one.

Never have I sampled such a versatile gin that can stand on its own or pair nicely with a variety of mixers and foods. Crafted by the family that brought Ketel One Vodka to the states, Nolet’s Silver uses some of the world’s finest botanicals — including peach, raspberry and Turkish rose petals — for a floral and fruit-forward spirit that still provides dedicated gin lovers that classic heat and velvety finish, but also something more appealing to the casual drinker’s palette with a reduced juniper base.

The combination of cocktails that can be created with the dry gin are seemingly endless, as evidenced by the other night’s affair at the FIG restaurant in the Fairmont-Miramar Hotel. The folks from Nolet’s were on hand — including co-creator Carl Nolet, Jr. — to treat a dozen or so writers, editors and bloggers to a taste of the Silver (and the more refined Nolet’s Reserve).

Chef Ray Garcia, one of my favorites in the local scene for his interesting incorporation of Latin flavors and dedication to freshness, crafted a five-course meal that was paired with different cocktails, including a tangerine sour with egg whites and orange bitters and an espresso-based after-dinner drink with cream and chocolate bitters (drinks courtesy of FIG mixologist Tavis Alexander).

The one dish that stuck with me the most from that evening was the gin and citrus cured sea trout with melons, cucumber and sea beans. There was just a hint of gin — mainly the rose and raspberry flavors for me — that helped bring out the citrus, while the trout was tender, light and refreshing. For dessert, chef prepared a sticky “root beer” pudding and anise float that was pretty sinful.

We capped the night off with a sip or two of the Reserve (that some fine sippin’ gin) and left with a bottle of the Silver (which retails for around $50) to sample at home. I had it straight up with a lemon peel in the evening (the rose is a little overpowering and somewhat overstays its welcome in this form), and with mint, lime and simple syrup for a sweet, but sharp gimlet that I enjoyed while barbecuing on the back patio last weekend (I made some tender beer can chicken coated in old-fashioned barbecue sauce).

All those who sampled it with me enjoyed the Silver and remarked how easy it was to put back. It’s definitely different than any other gin I’ve tried and I can see why the Nolets believe this spirit will make inroads in the local bar scene. It’s a little outside the box, but yet still respects the gin tradition.

Mandarin Fizz

2 oz. NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin

.75 oz. Lemon Juice

.75 oz. Simple Syrup

1 Egg White

Angostura Bitters

6 tangerine segments

Zest tangerine

Shake all ingredients, double strain into a mini-pilsner glass. Garnish with dashes of bitters.

We’ve Got The Beet

1 oz. NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin

.5 oz. Beet Juice

.75 oz. Apple Syrup

.5 oz. Lime Juice

Absinthe spray glass

Shake all ingredients, strain over fresh ice, serve in a rocks glass.

Palisades Coffee

1 oz. NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin

.5 oz. Root Liquor

.5 oz. Benedictine

1 oz. Espresso

.5 oz. Cream

.25 oz. Simple Syrup

Shake all ingredients, strain, serve up in a coupe glass.

Drink recipes created by Tavis Alexander, FIG Restaurant

kevinh@smdp.com

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