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Pinnacle London Dry Gin

Review: Pinnacle Imported London Dry Gin   (78/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published in March 24, 2016

Pinnacle Gin is a Beam/Suntory spirit imported from the United Kingdom and (according to the back label) bottled by Portfield Importers, in Deerfield Illinois. Pinnacle is a London Dry Gin handcrafted in small batches, 4x distilled from 100 % grain, infused with botanicals, and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. Interestingly Portfield Importers also own the Pinnacle Vodka brand. The two spirits appear to be produced independently and as far as I can determine are not related to each other in any way except through brand ownership.

Pinnacle Gin SAM_2419In the Bottle 4/5

The Pinnacle Gin arrives in the tall green bottle shown to the left. The base is slightly flared giving the bottle extra stability, and the soft shoulders and gentle curvature of the bottle give it an appealing look. No information is provided either upon the bottle or through the Pinnacle Brand website regarding the botanicals used. The only hint we have as per overall flavour profile is the “London Dry Gin” identification at the bottle of the bottle which would lead me to believe we will experience a traditional dry juniper forward profile.

As an aside, I dislike the metallic screw cap which implies ‘bottom shelf’. The gin is quite attractively priced in my locale so I have not judged this aspect of the presentation very harshly.

In The Glass  7.5/10

I poured a small amount of gin into my glass and after a slow tilt and a twirl of that glencairn, I saw that the crest which formed dropped small leglets which turned into long slender legs which fell rather quickly back into the glass.

The gin is very clean with a crisp note of juniper dominating the breezes above the glass. This piny juniper scent is accompanied by sharp orange peel and a few zesty notes of lemon and lime. If I am patient with the glass I also seem to sense light impressions of cardamom and coriander as well as perhaps a faint note of anise.

I am somewhat disappointed as the spirit seems to lack depth. I understand that a firm piny juniper presence is a trademark of London Dry Gin, however I do also feel that this piny juniper could be supported and balanced with a stronger influence of other botanicals.

In the Mouth 47/60

Piny juniper leads out across the palate. Citrus zest and orange peel ride alongside and the combination of the three give the spirit a very crisp (almost penetrating) quality. A light bitterness flows through the gin; and I find myself wishing for some softer flavours to take the edge off. On second tasting I begin to notice a touch of earthiness akin to angelica root. Unfortunately, rather than softening the sharp piny note of juniper, the earthy quality seems to only add to the light bitterness of the crisp juniper. My feeling is that a sipping glass is probably not the best format to showcase Pinnacle Gin. This appears to be a gin for mixing, and I have decided to turn my attention in that direction.

I began with a Dry Martini, followed that up with a Gin and Tonic, and then went to my go-to gin cocktail, my Key Lime Gimlet. The results were mixed. In all honesty, I wouldn’t be inspired to mix more martinis with Pinnacle Gin. The one I mixed seemed watered down and lacked flavour. The Gin and Tonic also seemed to lack the flavour punch I wanted, and I ended up adding another dollop of Gin in an effort to bring the flavour up a notch. Fortunately, the gimlet was very nice, and I would not hesitate to serve similar citrus cocktails to my good friends and chums.

In the Throat 12/15

When sipped, the piny juniper quickly becomes cloying; however, when served in a citrus forward gimlet, the penetrating quality of the pine works quite well. Not all spirits are meant for sipping, especially in the gin category.

The Afterburn 7.5/10

Pinnacle Gin disappointed me. The flavour profile features crisp piny juniper, but not much else. The lack of depth and complexity left me wanting much more. The redeeming grace is that I like citrus forward cocktails (see recipes below), and with Pinnacle Gin, that style of bar drink works particularly well.

You may read some of my other Gin Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


Suggested Recipes

I have two recipes to share both which have come to us from W.J. Tarling’s, Cafe Royal Cocktail Book (Coronation Edition) which was published in 1937.

The Abbey SAM_2436

The Abbey

2 oz Pinnacle Gin
1 oz Lillet (Sub Fresh Vermouth)
1 oz Orange Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
orange peel garnish

Add the first five Ingredients into a cocktail Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a lemon zest twist

Note: This recipe only works well with fresh vermouth. If your bottle has been open for more than a few weeks the aromatized wine will have undergone a very undesirable change, and the oxidized flavour of the vermouth will ruin the cocktail.


This Red Lion traces its roots all the way back to 1933 when Arthur Tarling (presumably related to W.J. Tarling) created a simple gin recipe which won a cocktail competition in jolly old England. The recipe he created, the Red Lion, mixed equal parts gin, orange liqueur, and a combination of lemon and orange juice. In most constructions I have seen online, a dollop of grenadine is used as the sweetener which gives the cocktail a pale red hue.

Red Lion SAM_2424Tarling’s recipe has stood the test of time, and can usually be found in the gin section of most good cocktail books.

The Red Lion

1 1/2 oz Pinnacle Gin
1 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Orange Juice
3/8 oz Grenadine
Lemon twist

Add the first five Ingredients into a cocktail Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a lemon zest twist

And of course enjoy responsibly!

If  you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!



My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret that score as follows:

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing spirit. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:

70 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)



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