Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Monopolowa Gin: Value Gin Made From Potatoes

Gin is one of those spirits where quality is very important, as unlike vodka, you can rarely cover the taste of bad/harsh gin with juice or other mixers. While there is good reason to be suspect of a $10 gin, one can be surprised, such as in the case of Monopolowa Gin.

Monopolowa gin is made by the J.A. Baczewski Company, a former polish distiller now located in Vienna, Austria. Unlike most gins, Monopolowa Gin is distilled from potatoes, rather than grain (J.A. Baczewski also makes an excellent potato vodka). They use standard London Dry botanicals such as juniper berries, orange and lemon peels, coriander, anise, and fennel, but the overall product is much less assertive than traditional London Dry gin and closer in taste to Plymouth Gin (known for its softer flavor). It has a creamy mouth feel and balanced flavor profile. This gin mixes particularly well with bitter liqueurs such as Campari and Chartreuse, as the piny juniper flavor doesn't dominate. Try it in a Negroni or Martini. However, those accustomed to the taste of strong English gins like Beefeater may find it a little weak tasting for a Gin & Tonic.

Costing $9.99 at the local Trader Joe's for 1L, this gin is an excellent value.

Monopolowa Gin
J.A. Baczewski Company

The Perfect Negroni

1 oz Gin
1 oz Bitter Sweet Vermouth (Try Punt e Mes)
1 oz Campari

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. The Negroni is traditionally an aperitif, designed to stimulate the appetite. If you must use a cheaper, less bitter, sweet vermouth like Martini & Rossi or Ponti, add a few dashes of Angostura Bitters to the mix.


  1. Good call. Mono is a decent budget Gin (and Vodka) for martinis, but does tend to disappear in a G and T.