Madam Pattirini Gin is made in Utah and named after the pseudonym used by one of Brigham Young’s sons when he performed as a drag artist.
It’s such an unlikely story that it has to be true, and Utah is full of unlikely stories, many of them involving their liquor laws. The first time we visited Utah my wife and I ordered a glass of wine before dinner. I finished mine first and the waitress asked if I wanted a second. I said yes, and my wife said she was ready for one too. No, sorry, the waitress explained. She wasn’t allowed to serve a second glass of wine to my wife if the first one wasn’t finished.
My brother-in-law was living in Salt Lake City at the time, and he explained some of the more arcane liquor regulations. He also told us a joke. Why do you always invite two Mormons to go fishing with you? Because if you only invite one, he’ll drink all your beer.
Who Was Madam Pattirini?
Brigham Morris Young was one of the sons of Brigham Young, who led the Mormons to Utah and founded Salt Lake City. His son was an equally upstanding religious figure, though he rather uncharacteristically liked to appear in drag as an opera singer, when he called himself Madam Pattirini. Apparently he had a very good falsetto, and the rest of him must have been pretty convincing too as it’s said that members of the audience didn’t always realize he was a drag artist. He was also married twice and had numerous children.
Madam Pattirini Gin
So, why name a gin after Madam Pattirini? Well, why not? The distiller, Steve Conlin, says that Young’s secret life was a bit of a surprise, just as people will be surprised that a great gin comes from Utah.
It’s a terrific story and one sure to get them plenty of publicity. The gin is actually made by Ogden’s Own, a clearly enterprising distillery and liquor store in Ogden, about 40 miles north of Salt Lake City. They also make Five Wives Vodka, which comes in various flavors, a peach whiskey, and other spirits too.
Their Madam Pattirini Gin is a small-batch gin made in batches of about 1,000 bottles at a time. It comes in at 44% ABV and as well as juniper the botanicals include bergamot, coriander, cardamom, Nigerian ginger, and Sicilian lemon. It won a silver medal at the 2017 Denver International Spirits Competition.
The bottle is short and stocky, a little like Madam Pattirini herself, a photo of whom appears on the very historic-looking label. My one complaint about the gin is that it took me about 15 minutes to get the cork out. It was squeezed in so tight, it just wouldn’t budge, and after pouring the drinks I could only put it halfway back in again. I guess we’ll just have to drink this up quickly.
Drinking Madam Pattirini Gin
That won’t be a problem, as this is an excellent gin. On the nose the juniper isn’t too dominant, which is what I prefer, and there are strong aromas from the lemon and the coriander especially. The juniper is a little stronger on the palate, with lemon, ginger, and other spices all adding up to a really pleasing gin.
Madam Pattirini Gin Cocktails
The gin made an excellent gin and tonic, too, definitely a notch above the average, but if you want more creative cocktails then Madam Pattirini has a few suggestions. And you don’t need to cross-dress to enjoy them.
Visit the Madam Pattirini website. At around $23 a bottle, less in some outlets, this is a real bargain of a gin. You can buy it on Drizly. It also appears at a much higher price at one online retailer, so don’t pay more than you should.