With all the small-batch distilling going on, you can bet that there are some exemplary gins out on the market. We give you the details and flavor profiles on our favorite six American gins, plus a really cool-looking herbaceous cocktail.
As part of our weekend entertaining party scenario, we suggest you treat guests to a tasting of the best in American artisanal gins. Choose two or three from our favorite six below, based on your preferred flavor profiles. To set up the tasting, set out your favorite oversized tray with the gins, and alongside have a pitcher of water and a bowl of orange wedges for palate cleansing in between sips. Then let the games begin.
 River Rose Gin is handmade in Le Claire, Iowa by Mr Distilling with fresh grains from local farms. The full-bodied blend of botanicals dates back to a recipe from the late 1800s. Along with juniper, orange, grapefruit and lemon dance with lavender, rose petals and locally grown cucumbers. Quite nice to sip on its own. $30. mrdistilling.com
 Breuckelen Glorious Gin Double-distilled in the borough it’s named for, this gin draws its hand-infused flavor from hints of juniper, lemon, rosemary, ginger and grapefruit, all atop a base of organic, upstate-grown wheat. About $32. brkdistilling.com
 Aviation American Gin With each batch of this Pacific Northwest-produced spirit is a blend of lavender, cardamom, sarsaparilla, orange peel, anise seed and more. The name “Aviation” is aspirational, named for the classic cocktail that inspired its co-creator’s exploration into the world of gin. About $25. aviationgin.com
 Ransom Spirits Small’s Gin The making of this gin from Oregon is a combination of 19th-century technique with modern organically-sourced ingredients for a particularly fragrant result. Its gin is infused with juniper, lemon, coriander, angelica, caraway and raspberry, among other botanicals. About $34. ransomspirits.com
 Caledonia Spirit’s Barr Hill Gin earned bragging rights as the winner of the 2013 Hong Kong International Wine and Spirits Competition, and with good reason. The liquor comes from a honey farm at the Vermont-Quebec border, and honey serves as the base of its taste. Its flavor profile is delightful, and quite atypical. About $38.
 FEW American Gin This small-batch distillery in Evanston, Illinois starts with white whiskey and blends it with eleven botanicals. Whiffs of lemon peel and vanilla dominate. Humorously, the name FEW is a mockery of Prohibition evangelist and resident of Evanston, Frances Elizabeth Willard. Take that, prohibition! About $40. fewspirits.com
 In the Weeds Cocktail, our suggested cocktail, included in this post, comes from Dean Gardiner, Head Bartender at Ocean House, a gorgeous sprawling resort on the coast of Rhode Island. This resort is a classic summer getaway surrounded by natural, unspoiled beauty, with many activities to pursue. The hotel will schedule any type of custom experience for you be it crabbing, a trip to a farmers’ market and cooking class with your purchases, wine tastings, or a cocktail seminar with Dean Gardiner himself. His cocktail features a Dutch gin, to add to the tasting experience. oceanhouseri.com
See the complete menu and strategies for hosting weekend guests in style: 06 Three Day Party