Living through the coronavirus pandemic was hard, but at least we had alcohol, lots of it. Here in Massachusetts, they even loosened their normally puritanical alcohol regulations, at least temporarily. One hundred years before COVID shut down the country, a man by the name of Andrew John Volstead help lead the nation into another shutdown, prohibition. Volstead was the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and the namesake of the Volstead Act, formally named the National Prohibition Act. So who better to name a gin after!
Volstead’s Folly is produced by StilL 630 Distillery, located in St. Louis just a half mile from where I lived as a kid. In addition to several different types of gin, they make brandy, rum, and whiskey. They also have a cool experimental program, allowing patrons to sample potential expansions to their collection.
When I was in St. Louis in September of 2022, I tried to visit the distillery, but showed up and it was closed. They were using it as a parking lot for people going to the Cardinal’s game. When I went back home in January of 2023, I hoped to find time to stop by, but couldn’t. I did however find a bottle of Volstead’s Folly at The Wine & Cheese Place is Kirkwood. I don’t recall what I paid for it, but the distillery sells it for $29.00. I brought my bottle home, but didn’t open it until a few months later on April 28, 2023 and then entered it into The Collection as gin no. 078.
We first tried Volstead’s Folly over ice. Being low ABV, just 81 proof, it was incredibly easy to drink, not even a slight burn. The flavor was herbal with strong pine notes and hints of savory herbs. This is gin you can sip. But it was also good mixed with tonic. Mixed, the citrus notes come through, but the earthy herbaceousness remains. While the botanical list isn’t available, the distillery describes Volstead’s Folly as “Juniper forward, with sweet elderberry and bold pine and sage flavor, rounded out with citrus and warm spice notes.”
In addition to great gin in the bottle, I like the bottle itself, from the Gateway Arch and St. Louis skyline on the cap to the graffitied picture of Andrew Volstead on the front, yup that’s really him. The bottles are numbered by batch and bottle. Our’s is batch #23, bottle #7305.
The verdict: highly recommended. This is a special gin and not just because it’s down the street from my childhood home or because it has a fun name. It’s a distinctly western style gin with powerful flavors that doesn’t fall into the trap of becoming flowery. The price is great for the quality of the gin so the only downside is that you aren’t going to find it too far outside of St. Louis.
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