Review: 1220 Artisan Spirits Canned Cocktails
St. Louis’s 1220 (a spinoff 4 Hands Brewing) hit us early this year with its first distilled product — a gin — and now it’s back with something totally new, a series of six ready-to-drink cocktails, all available in tote-able 12 oz cans.
We got the entire lineup to sample. Thoughts on each installment in the series follow.
1220 Artisan Spirits Gin And Tonic – Made with 1220’s Origin Gin and its own house-made tonic. This is a heavy-duty G&T, and the light carbonation makes the gin component especially hefty. Juniper is big here, and the quinine impact adds a significant earthy bitterness to the drink. There’s a healthy amount of lemon peel early on in the experience here — but what it really needs is a lime. 12% abv. B
1220 Artisan Spirits Aviation – I’ve never seen a ready-to-drink Aviation before, but this blend of gin, citrus, and violet (further details are not forthcoming) is more of an “inspired by the Aviation” than the real deal. The very pale pink beverage has a significant sweetness that, when combined with that lemon/lime character, makes it drink a bit like a grown-up soda. The violet element isn’t unwelcome — and in fact without it this wouldn’t come across as much different than a Tom Collins. Otherwise, the lemon’s a bit heavy on the whole here. 7% abv. B
1220 Artisan Spirits Gin Boogie – This cocktail blends gin with maraschino cherry and lime juice — though the finished product is crystal clear. Surprisingly gin-forward, this is less sweet than I was anticipating, but the lime and cherry elements give it a lovely balance of herbal notes and fruit. Think of it as a gimlet that’s been spiked with muddled maraschino cherries. Works surprisingly well as a summer sipper. 7% abv. B+
1220 Artisan Spirits Cucumber Hibiscus – Gin and cucumber, plus (not mentioned on the label, elderflower). Hibiscus is just for that Shirley Temple color. The cucumber hits you strong and forcefully from the start, pushing even the gin to the back burner. The elderflower note is more evident on the semi-sweet finish, and it’s a welcome addition to the beverage, helping to temper some of that vegetal, powerfully cucumbery note. The pink hibiscus is a nice touch, though it adds no flavor to the experience. 5.5% abv. B
1220 Artisan Spirits Moscow Mule – The classic combo of vodka, ginger, and lime. Tastes like the real deal, though the lime comes off as a bit chemical-heavy, at least on the attack. The ginger is snappy, with peppery bite and an earthy underbelly that gives it some weight. Largely innocuous, though the finish can get just a little gummy. 7% abv. B+
1220 Artisan Spirits Lemonade And Lavender – First off: This one arrived leaking from the top of the can, leaving sticky goo on the shelves of my refrigerator. Spiked with vodka; otherwise everything else is in the name. (It’s made with real lemons and French lavender.) The completed cocktail is fairly simple, and the lavender influence here is (mercifully) quite light-handed. The lemonade comes through cleanly and authentically, the floral addition giving the beverage a more summery feel. I found the finished product to be quite refereshing even after sustained sipping; it’s not complicated, but it’s one of the best cans in this lineup. 5.5% abv. A-
each $13 per four-pack / 1220spirits.com