From 3,000 trees to 30,000 gallons of sap to 3,000 bottles, 100 Mill St. Gin – new at the Club – takes the long way to your highball. Its creator, Peter Connor (Minneapolis Club member and President of Wisconsin-based WD Flooring), knows it’s worth it.
“This is a gin that relies on mother nature to do most of the work,” Connor says. “It is the spring of the year and the angle of the sun that delivers the nectar, maple sap, that makes 100 Mill St. so unique in its smoothness and taste.”
With its first run selling out at Haskell’s (twice) and another planned for 2020, it’s easy to believe the hype. Noted review site t8ke gave 100 Mill St. an 8 out of 10 – the highest in the gin category to date – putting it among a prestigious few dozen of the site’s 1,000-plus scores. “[S]ome days you want to let your hair down a little and have something a notch better, but with more going on,” reads the review. “This is that gin.”
Unlike a lot of spirits entrepreneurs, Connor says he wants the drink’s reputation to precede it, free of flowery marketing language and ‘storytelling’.
“100 Mill St. isn’t wrapped up in some marketing story,” he says. “Actually, sort of the opposite: the clean, simple bottle [design] is there but the magic is in the bottle – not the story … [T]he spirit comes first. It has to because no amount of ‘story’ or marketing can outlast the taste of a lousy product. We just don’t have that luxury. We have to lead with our strength: the gin itself.”
100 Mill St. is distilled to batches of just 26 gallons, which Connor says is proof of the care that goes into making such a quality product. “It’s not exclusive in the sense that only a few people can buy it or appreciate it. Its scarcity is merely reflective of the hard truths of how challenging logistically it is to make. If we did like many gins do, by sourcing ethanol and flavoring it, then we could eliminate the scarcity – or exclusivity – but then we wouldn’t be true to what we believe and what makes 100 Mill St. so smooth: the balance of hard maple sap. That’s where the smoothness comes from.”
“We have to lead with our strength: the gin itself”
While the taste won’t be lost on anyone, Connor says there are many reasons to be surprised by its complexity. “Just like no brewer sets out to make the next Bud Light, we set out to make a gin that wasn’t like any other. 100 Mill St. is a gin that was designed for gin drinkers – so as a gin drinker, I focused on what I wanted out of a gin.
“At first, it’s the touch of juniper (which is familiar), then it whisks away to be carried through the middle by the citrus notes only to be finished with cassis and vanilla at the end. It is a gin created for those that love gin.”
And for newbies? “We hope they will say, as many do, ‘I’m not a gin drinker, but I love this.’”
100 Mill St. Gin is available at the Club and at Haskell’s – while it lasts.