Letherbee releases new Vernal gin

The latest seasonal gin is flavored like tonic water

Letherbee Vernal is now out in stores and bars.

Letherbee Vernal is now out in stores and bars. Photograph: Courtesy Letherbee

We're big fans of Letherbee's seasonal gins (it releases Vernal in the spring and Autumnal in the fall each year), and the spring 2014 version is now out. This year's Vernal takes traditional tonic-water flavors and puts them into the gin itself. 

"[It's] distilled with our original botanicals, plus extra citrus, plus lemongrass and a hint of allspice," Letherbee's Brenton Engel tells us. "The batch then is macerated with red cinchona, giving it a balancing bitterness and a nice bit of color."

So should we be using soda water for gin and tonics, since the tonic flavors are already in the gin? Engels says he encourages people to experiment—and that he chooses soda water over tonic all the time.

"The Vernal Gin will not completely mimic tonic, as there is no sugar," he says, so you can use soda water plus a sweetener and lime for a springy gin and tonic.

The gin is available at stores like Provenance, Lush and the Noble Grape, and you'll see it behind the bar at Acadia, Mott St., Longman & Eagle and other spots. It's also at Scofflaw, where Danny Shapiro says the Vernal is "best in a martini or gimlet or a really exaggerated gin and tonic. I love [Letherbee's] gins in a martini or gimlet because it showcases them so well."

Since there are such limited quantities allocated to each bar, you probably won't find too many special cocktails using it. But if you spot a bottle behind the bar, ask your bartender to make you something.