What to Drink

Barr Hill Gin Defends its Spirit of the Year Crown

Barr Hill Gin made a spectacular showing at the 2021 USA Spirits Ratings as the best spirit in the world.

Perfection is difficult to achieve but it is even harder to repeat. This statement is true and has even greater meaning when it comes to the world of spirits. There is always something to work on, to improve, and to make the spirit better. But then again, how do you improve on perfection? This was the very question faced by Caledonia Spirits and Barr Hill Gin who scored a perfect score at the 2020 USA Spirits Ratings

They managed to do that by repeating their historic performance at the 2021 USA Spirits Ratings, as Barr Hill Gin once again reigned supreme by being the highest awarded spirit at the competition. Along with Barr Hill Gin, their other two spirits Barr Hill Vodka and Tom Cat Gin were also awarded gold medals at the competition. It may be hard to imagine but the story of Barr Hill Gin and Caledonia Spirits began just ten years ago in 2011. 


Ryan and Todd - The Brains behind the Spirits, source: Facebook

A beekeeper and distiller began working together in one of the most beautiful agricultural regions, the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. Todd and Ryan perfected the use of raw honey in the distillery, capturing the countless botanicals foraged by honey into a bottle of gin. The purpose behind keeping the honey raw was so that the spirits could retain the great character and represent their home, Hardwick, Vermont. 

The USA Spirits Ratings is a competition that looks to bring to retailer shelves spirits that are tailor-made for consumers and drinkers. The competition which judges spirits on the basis of quality, value, and packaging looks to recognize spirits that will stay on a retailer's shelf for a long time. This year’s edition was the most diverse in the history of the competition with over 49 countries participating. 

What made Barr Hill Gin’s success so phenomenal was that it retained its position as the best spirit in the world when the competition was even tougher. The USA was among the countries with the most submissions at the competition and gin was among the spirits with the highest number of entries. Here’s what to expect from Barr Hill Gin and the two gold winners from Caledonia Spirits.

Barr Hill Gin


The World’s Best Spirit, source: Facebook

The most awarded gin of the United States reigned supreme yet again because of the way it's made, to perfection. Pine notes leap from Barr Hill Gin when it's poured. Flavors of spice and rich perfumed pepper dominate the nose. There are pine and grass notes on the tip of the tongue. The palate is intensely layered and also has a touch of honey. 

At the 2021 USA Spirits Ratings, Barr Hill Gin scored 98 points and with it took home a host of medals. The gold medal was one of five medals won by the gin with the Spirit of the Year being the headline. The other major category awards that Barr Hill Gin won were Gin of the Year, Best in Show by Country,  and Best Spirit by Quality. It also contributed to Caledonia Spirits' win as the Distillery of the Year at the competition. 

'There are so many places Barr Hill gin can travel, and it lends itself beautifully to be sipped on its own or to be made into a cocktail,' judges at the competition said while tasting the award-winning gin. 

Barr Hill Vodka


Gold Winning Barr Hill Vodka, source: Facebook

Another gold medal winner from Caledonia Spirits, the Barr Hill Vodka scored 92 points. The vodka has a delicate floral nose. The subtle botanical depth of the vodka adds another layer of complexity and it finishes off on a smooth note. It is a great mixing spirit. The vodka is a tribute to the hardworking beekeepers and delivers a floral depth of wildflower fields straight to your glass. 

Tom Cat Gin


The Tom Cat Gin, source: Facebook

It is a very rare instance that all the spirits from one distillery are awarded gold medals. For Caledonia Spirits, this came true at the 2021 USA Spirits Ratings with Tom Cat Gin completing the troika of gold medal winners. The 91 point scoring gin is an expedition into uncharted territories. The gin has a robust character that comes from its aging in new American oak barrels. The coniferous quality of juniper yields an enticing aroma with a touch of raw honey. Flavors of herbs and spices make the Tom Cat Gin extremely approachable and is perfect for drinking neat or in a cocktail. 

The American distillery is open to visitors, eager to learn about the craft of making award-winning spirits and wanting to enjoy some cocktails on the patio. Open three days of the week, reserve your seats in advance to enjoy all that this gold standard distillery has to offer. With their association with beekeepers, Caledonia Spirits also hosts the  Bees Knees Week which this year will take place from September 24th and October 3rd. 


Enjoying a cocktail at the distillery, source: Facebook

The Bees Knees week works in three steps. The first involves drinking the Bees Knees at your home, favorite bar or restaurant. Using #beeskneesweek, share the image of the cocktail on social media, and don’t forget to tag Barr Hill Gin. For every photo shared during the week, Barr Hill will plant 10 square feet of bees' habitat. 

Barr Hill spirits are also at the heart of some amazing concoctions including the Bees Knees, The Bee’s Freeze, Tom Cat Boulevardier to name a few. All of these cocktails champion the three gold medal winners and can be made at home. Follow the distillery of the year winner on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see how they build on their stupendous success at the USA Spirits Ratings 2021. 

Popular on New York Drinks Guide

Next Events

Morgan MFG, 401 N Morgan St Suite #204A, Chicago IL 60642

USA Trade Tasting 2024

Register Now

South San Francisco Conference Center, 255 South Airport Boulevard, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States

USA Spirits Ratings 2024

Register Now

South San Francisco Conference Center, 255 South Airport Boulevard, South San Francisco, CA 94080, United States

USA Wine Ratings 2024

Register Now

Related Blogs