2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Backcountry Bartender: Gin Review

Rethink gin. With heavy pine needles and balanced, exotic flavors, this spirit may be the perfect backcountry compliment you've written off.

by: Crystal Sagan

Rethink gin in the backcountry with these top-shelf selections. (Crystal Sagan)
Rethink gin in the backcountry with these top-shelf selections. (Crystal Sagan)

Gin has come a long way since it was first produced for medicinal purposes in 17th century Holland. In modern times, it’s is a grain-neutral spirit flavored predominantly with juniper and these days most folks keep it on hand for an occasional gin and tonic (at best), and would hardly consider it for anything more.

Lucky for us, gin is in the midst of a revolution, evolving from juniper-heavy and dry, to something more along the lines of a bouquet of botanicals living harmoniously in a juniper forest, so to speak. Many gins are now made with a multitude of extracts and flavors in addition to juniper;¬ anything from lavender and citrus to ginger and coriander. Sure, you can still mix a plethora of classic or complex cocktails but with this new movement, gin is just a good in a flask as in a martini glass.

Here some delicious options::

Aviation Gin
Inspired by full-bodied, rye-based Dutch gin. The pine-heavy nose leads the way for lavender and citrus which compliment the earthy spiciness the rye-based grain spirit brings to the nose. A medium-body offers flavors reflecting the nose, with pleasant notes of anise along side floral lavender. Lingering spicy finish. Great for gin martini, with tonic, or in a classic Aviation Cocktail. $28;

Bluecoat American Dry Gin
Bluecoat is produced with organic American citrus and juniper, resulting in a well-balanced, approachable gin. The nose is strong with sweet lime and hints of other citrus fruits. The equally citrus-forward palate is pleasantly surprising and complimented by subtle notes of cloves and a touch of juniper for good measure. Cardamon and almost cinnamon-like spice in the finish linger on the palate for quite a while. Not the best gin to pair with tonic or vermouth, try it instead in a Tom Collins. $25;

Hendricks Gin
This Scottish gin has gained popularity over the last few years, thanks to its featured botanicals: cucumber and rose petals. Big, bold aromas of Bulgarian Rose, cucumbers, and (yes,) juniper (though it takes a back seat). Crisp and round, where highly present flavors seen in the nose are balanced by a backdrop of other botanicals. Clean and delicious in a martini, or on the rocks (with a cucumber twist if you have one). $35;

Jackelope Gin
Local juniper leads this small batch gin of seven botanicals dancing across your palate- the nose is mainly citrus with a bit of juniper. On the palate, nicely balanced floral notes accompany more citrus and juniper, with just a hint of earthiness. The finish on this sip-able gin lingers just long enough for your senses to enjoy. Keep an eye out for Jackelope and Jenny Gin in stores in early March-- an amazing combination of freshly distilled local pears blended with Jackelope Gin. Its candied fruit nose and gentle spice finish beg it to be drank any which way you please. $29 each;

Rogue Spirits Spruce Gin & Pink Gin
Rogue takes a fresh approach to making gin, and all but substitutes spruce for juniper berries (there is just enough juniper to classify it as a gin). The spruce and cucumber dominate with touches of citrus, coriander, ginger, and a range of other botanicals. An interesting, forward-thinking, take on gin.

The Pink Gin lets you know just how new school it is right from the start- its pink! Hailing from Oregon, Rouge takes gin one step further and ages in local Pinot Noir barrels. A cherry-vanilla nose leads into a dry but fruity body with a lingering finish; a decent attempt at a light, feminine gin. Either is perfect with tonic or in one of Rogue’s recommended cocktails. $35 and $40, respectively;

Right Gin
Our favorite gin out of this group comes all the way from Sweden, and brings to the table a few surprises. Up front citrus notes please and dominate the nose and palate, closely followed by juniper. While citrus and juniper have a presence initially, they are by no means exclusively featured, and share the spotlight with coriander, eucalyptus, and an unexpected contender- black pepper. The Sarawak pepper (from Borneo) is the surprise guest at the party ---it offers an exciting and slightly masculine finish that lingers pleasantly. Try in a classic cocktail like a Gin Fizz or check out the custom cocktail mixer on the Right Gin website. $35;

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -


Star Star Star Star Star
Trekking in Nepal
Apr 03, 2013

Acute Trek Pvt. Ltd. an indoor outdoor trekking and tours operative takes you that further way to guarantee you has an unforgettable adventure that you have been dream of. Benefit, of course there is the Acute trek part of choice. We have your choose of trekking for 3 days or 30 or more days it depending of your timetable, sleep under lodges or tent. We always respect our duty to constantly your holiday satisfaction in Nepal. Whether you are looking for a quiet gateway, a memorable outing with a family or an exciting nature adventure. We offer you with the best progressive information and itinerary leading focused and modified as per your requirements.

May 19, 2012

BP editors might use spellcheck, but they don't know the difference between compliment and complement.

Nov 03, 2011

If you dont like the boozy articles... Turn the page. I for one would like to see more. How about some Backcountry moonshining tips. You could call it Stills in the hills.


May 31, 2011

I think you folks are taking BPs topic deviation the wrong way. I like a Gin Buck before bed, helps me fall asleep and stimulates a moment to relax. I'd say having a sip while cooking your dinner is a great idea, or a hot toddy in the winter. Don't drink to forget, drink to immerse. Cheers

Jan 24, 2011

If they're trying to placate to the younger college age crowd, editorials on alcohol is the way to go. The young ones who love the outdoors love the holy trinity (wine, beer, spirits) just as much as anyone, if not more, lol.

Jan 22, 2011

Mixing alcohol and backpacking is unwise and dangerous.

Adding a "Backcountry Bar Tender" segment was poor taste and poor judgment.

The outdoors is best experienced sober.

Colonel Mad
Jan 22, 2011

Pink gin is London Dry gin poured into a glass with a dash of Angostura bitters, the Angostura is either left in the glass (in) or the glass is tipped up and the surplus allowed to drop out (out), a good quality water is added to taste.

Jan 21, 2011

I beg to differ: gin is NOT just a good in a flask as in a martini glass.

Jan 21, 2011

BP is haveing more editorials on liquor for the same reason sex is becoming more prominant on t.v. programs. These subjects are of intrest to the consumer. If you don;t keep the intrest of the consumer they go somewhere else.

Jan 21, 2011

Rather than telling us about gin we can buy, why don't you tell us how to make a gin? You know, juniper berries from Juniperus communis altissima or berries from Picea pungens, pine needles from Pinus flexilis. Stuff we can forage on one of our trips or from our kitchen cupboard.

Jan 21, 2011

Though Rouge would be sort of a catchy name for a pink gin.

Jan 21, 2011

I see that drinking has become more promenent at BP recently. Is this true? Is BP changing it's editorial approach from a pro-youth, improve your fitness by getting out more magazine? I'm not sure how the upturn in drinking helps that image.

Jan 18, 2011

Caught my own mistake. "Don't you guys spell check?"

Jan 18, 2011

The Pink Gin is from ROGUE, not ROUGE. don't guys spell check?


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

What sleeping pad are you using?
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: Blazer
Trailhead Register
Elephant Coffee, Anyone?
Posted On: Aug 22, 2014
Submitted By: big_load

View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions