Spruce Lee

The Spruce Lee is a martini made from Needle Gin.

Elizabeth brought me a very fancy bottle of gin from Germany. It’s called Black Forest Needle Gin, and if that name evokes thoughts of pine, you hit the nail on the head. There is definitely a taste of pine (more on this later), and it’s certainly a sophisticated gin that’s meant to be sipped alone, rather than mixed up with brine, as I normally would do.

It tastes of spruce, and pine needles…which is reminiscent, for me, of oil painting solvents (which I both love a lot and hate a little, from my many years of working in painting studios, but no matter what, it’s familiar). It’s also reminiscent of retsina, the Greek wine, which I grew to love one summer in Samothraki, and subsequently procured lots of it in Astoria, my Greek neighborhood in Queens. Many people find retsina to be an acquired taste, though. In my experience, if you spend a summer in Samothraki, you’ll probably acquire it.

This drink was lemony too, which made it bright, overall. The lemon softened the taste too, making it softer than I might have imagined. There is nothing dark or dank here, as the words forest or pininess might suggest.

This cocktail is a definite thumbs up!


  • 4 oz Black Forest Needle Gin

  • Squeeze of one lemon wedge

  • Lemon peel for garnish


  • Shake gin and lemon in a cocktail shaker with ice, until satisfied.
  • Pour and garnish, then deeply inhale the scent of pine.
  • Cheers!
Enjoyed on October 16

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