At Atlas bar is not easy to choose your drink. Large collection of cocktails, wines, and spirits makes it difficult to make up your mind. Well, let’s say you choose Gin Tonic. A pure classic which is perfect for a hot Singaporean day. But with which gin would you like it? There are over 1000 gins in their collection. You feel me, don’t you? It’s a huge dilemma. Well, this time I choose American Death’s doors Gin. I remember some information about their spirits from some reading a long time ago. The waitress told me, their gin is simplified with only four ingredients. The organic juniper, fennel, and coriander, down to its base of wheat and barley. All ingredients are local, which gives bigger value to this spirit. They are in program 1% for the planet. This is a nonprofit organization. It connects different environmental nonprofit organizations who donate 1% of their income. In return, they get the certificate. Nice effort!
Death’s door distillery is on Washington Island, Wisconsin, where was once a huge agriculture activity. This area was known for potato farming. In early 1970’s was this niche abandoned, due to the loss of contracts and known customers. Farmers didn’t change the crop, but rather abandoned the island or got into tourism. In 2005 a small group began exploring and reinvigorating farming. They selected a specific variety of wheat. The red winter wheat, which grows the most successful on this island. In 2010 they got organic certification for all their crops. Only two years later they opened the distillery. Which is now the largest craft distillery in Wisconsin. With annual capacity more than 250,000 cases of finished product it’s also the largest in the region. It all started as an experiment to check if there is an option to agriculture restoration on this island.
Where’s the name Death’s door coming from? There are more stories about this name. The name is known from French one – Porte des Morts. One version is about fighting between Winnebago and Potawami tribes. The Winnebago were pushing from the peninsula to the islands and were preparing to attack the island. Potowami send three spies, so they could set a signal fire where is safe to land and attack the opposite tribe. The spies got captured, and their mission was no more a secret one. Winnebago decided to use it to their advantage and devised a two-pronged attack. They bluff where there was no safe landing and set a signal fire there. All attackers were killed by the rocks. After the battle at the bluff, the remaining Winnebago waited for the return of their second party. The wind and waves that had prevented the Potawatomi from fleeing also caught the Winnebago raiding party. They were never seen again. Another story is about Native Americans. The tribe built a ring of campfires on thin ice to lure their enemies through the strait overnight. The plan worked perfectly, and the attackers perished. Some versions mention only a storm without the battle. There is even one saying that French deliberately gave the passage a scary name. The goal supposed to be in order to discourage and scare sailors from sailing through the strait.
However, the red winter wheat comes from this region and the name is more than convenient for this nice gin. It’s true that there are only three main components in this spirit. But that doesn’t mean it’s not complex. Very silky with straight juniper taste, a bit peppery and also sweet at the end. Coriander seeds give some citrus note and spiciness to it, while fennel smoothens it out and adds some minty flavor. This gin was great straight, just on the ice with lime. But hey, in tropics Gin tonic is essential against malaria. And I must admit it, along with their house tonic, with the most quinine on the market, was quite delicious. I wonder which gin should I try the next time when I visit Singapore. Any suggestion?