Two mother-daughter pairs and one more friend set out to meet at Thinkers Distillery for a private tour and tasting recently, and all but one of us got caught in Jerusalem’s ever-worsening traffic, making us 10-20 minutes late.
“No problem, we’re not in a rush at all, just relax,” Anat Mokady, 24, our bubbly intrepid gin tour guide greeted each of us as we rushed in breathlessly. “I know just what you need.”
“I know just what you need.”Anat Mokady
And she did, expertly mixing a large gin and tonic using Thinkers Israeli Sunset gin, serving it in a large glass with a lot of ice and a slice of dried blood orange. I am not a gin expert, but this cocktail really hit the spot and was refreshing and delicious.
For the next hour, as we sipped our drinks and nibbled on olives and crackers, Mokady regaled us with the history of gin (did you know that the British originally used it as a stomach medicine), what special ingredients must be included to call the spirit “gin” (think juniper berries), and what are the different styles of gin (old world and new world) and ending with a tasting of gin and vodka.
The word “tour” is a bit of a misnomer as you can see all of the equipment including the shiny hi-tech still, which is visible through a large glass window behind the bar from your seat at the bar.
Thinkers makes two types of gin and a vodka, all of which come in beautiful bottles. The Jerusalem Dry gin is an old world British style gin that tastes herbal rather than sweet (NIS 165 for 700 ml.), while the Israeli Sunset gin has more of a sweet, flowery taste due to the inclusion of strawberries and rose petal, and the pink bottle is really pretty (NIS 185 for 700 ml.).
We also tried the 40/60 vodka, which is smooth and comes in a fancy bottle. (NIS 149 for a liter.)
They have also started making bourbon, which will be available for tasting soon.
My friend Shelley, who was visiting from the US and tries her best to boost the Israeli economy, bought four bottles to take back to Florida.
Thinkers is on Agrippas Street right below Mahaneh Yehuda. The tour we took costs NIS 65 and can be booked online (www.thinkersdistillery.com) Next time I’d like to try the longer tour, described as a “two-hour tour for alcohol lovers of all kinds,” which is a “deep dive into the magic of refining vodka, gin and the mysteries of the old whiskey.” It costs NIS 120 and includes two cocktails and snacks.Thinkers Distillery88 Agrippas St.www.thinkersdistillery.comKashrut: RabbanutThe writer was a guest of the distillery.