Comfortably plum

Tasting Notes: Greenhook Ginsmiths Beach Plum Gin Liqueur

July 12, 2013 Culture By Photo by Eric Yang

The whole crew was there, just like old times. It was Parker and Tippy, Archie and Vivian, Bee and Topper. Or did Topper bring Poppy? Oh I don’t remember. Daisy was in knots over scuffing her white brogues coming in from the porch. What can you do with a woman like that? Tip and Viv swam; they were both still as beautiful and innocent as they had been 10 years ago. Topper and I were getting good and tight on martinis when we heard a rustling in the dune scrub, only to find Parker, drunk as a snail, tumbling down toward the sea, trying to hang on to all the beach plums he’d just picked. Thaddeus would’ve had a laugh if he’d come east, if things had worked out better for him this year.

Sound familiar? Not to us, either, but there’s nothing like a bottle of beach plum liqueur to conjure even totally made up memories of summering on the Atlantic coast. The only such spirit with a commercial release? Greenhook Ginsmiths Beach Plum Gin Liqueur ($50), made in Brooklyn, NY, by the young distillery whose American Dry Gin we’ve also sampled.

The beach plum is a special fruit, a species of plum that grows in the sandy dune environments of Cape Cod and Long Island and is a local treat, hardy and salt-tolerant like the Northerners who harvest them for jam or homemade cordials. It was the ideal choice for Greenhook’s founder and ginsmith, Steven DeAngelo, when he wanted to make a sloe gin (the sloe is a relative of the plum) but couldn’t get his hands on the fruit locally. Instead, DeAngelo partnered with Long Island farms with beach plums growing on their premises to ensure he could produce a limited run of the liqueur each year. This is the second batch, a product of 6-9 months of maceration in Greenhook’s American Dry Gin and a touch of natural turbinado sugar.

And it’s a fine drink: candy-like and herbaceous on the nose, with a taste that’s bright and fruity, with notes of cranberry and raspberry, and a pleasant, tannic astringency toward the finish — along with herbal notes. We like it with tonic water or as a substitute for cranberry juice in a Cape Codder. And, oh? Pour a splash for Vivian while she towels off. You know how she likes a drink after swimming.