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Jack counts down his top 5 moments on the Mississippi River.

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Booze Traveling with Gin: How and Where to Try It Around the World

Planning a trip? Take a page from Jack Maxwell’s book and find out how the locals enjoy their gin.
Barcelona: Bobby Gin

Barcelona: Bobby Gin

Alberto Pizarro, bar manager at Barcelona’s Bobby Gin, notes that Spaniards’ love for G&Ts is a many-splendored thing: “It’s a refreshing drink for hot summers; it’s a long drink that suits the Spanish taste; it’s used as an appetizer but also a digestive and a fancy drink.”

Bobby Gin’s most popular version is made with Hendrick’s and lemon thyme; bargoers also clamor for cocktails with Modernessia, a Spanish gin, infused with goji berries. (Click here for a sneak peek of Jack Maxwell’s trip to Barcelona, and stay tuned for more when Booze Traveler returns in December.)

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London (and Iceland): Martin Miller's Gin

London (and Iceland): Martin Miller's Gin

Martin Miller’s Gin became the world’s first “super-premium” version of the spirit in the late ‘90s, when its namesake (once called “the Richard Branson of the antiques world”) resolved to topple vodka in his countrymen’s affections. Distilled in the UK (in ‘Angela,’ a century-old pot still) and combined with volcanically filtered water on a fjord in western Iceland, Martin Miller’s has admirers wherever G&T is spoken. Find it in its second home at Slippbarinn, on the harbor in Reykjavik (and find more of Jack Maxwell’s Icelandic favorites here); to reimagine classic cocktails, reach for 9 Moons, a barrel-aged gin the Martin Miller’s team decided to develop after mixologists at a Scottish gastropub in New York City (are you following all the globe-trotting here?) barreled it themselves. Recreate that “aha!” moment with a new take on an Old Fashioned (2 oz. 9 Moons gin, 1 tsp water, 2 dashed Angostura bitters, 1 sugar cube).  960 1280

  

Chicago: Letherbee Gin

Chicago: Letherbee Gin

Letherbee’s Brenton Engel began distilling in Chicago back in 2007, when he cooked up “Illinois Joy”—moonshine—in his basement. These days, he and his team produce barrel-aged absinthe, Fernet, Bësk, and a take-no-prisoners flagship gin; call it anti-craft craft distilling. “Our ‘botanical-forwardness’ is actually a direct reaction to all the new American gins that were starting to come out years ago which, in my opinion, were mostly too light, floral, whimsical, fruity and expensive,” he says. “I wanted to make a robust gin that could stand up to the bold food ingredients I was using in my cocktails.”

Letherbee also distills limited-edition Vernal and Autumnal gins; this fall’s Bloody-Mary-ready, borscht-inspired run of 2,500 bottles is made with beets, dill, black pepper, caraway and cumin. The beauty pictured here, in turn, is the Thai Derby from Melody Nelson Bar in Berlin (6 cl Letherbee gin, 4cl lime juice, 2cl honey syrup, and a dash of Angostura bitters, shaken, strained, and garnished with sage and a pinch of Ceylon cinnamon). Thirsty for more in Chicago? Visit Gold Star Bar, one of Jack Maxwell’s favorite cash-only dives. 

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Amsterdam: Razmataz

Amsterdam: Razmataz

Gin-lovers in Amsterdam would do well to head to the Oud-West neighborhood and make themselves comfortable at Razmataz, a bar and restaurant which boasts more than 50 varieties of gin and two spins on G&T exploration: a professional-led tasting for large groups and a new, DIY version in which tasters are turned loose with three varieties of gin and an array of mixers and garnishes. Bestsellers and house favorites include Bobby’s (a Dutch gin that debuted in 2014), Dodd’s (a small-batch gin from London with lots of cardamom) and G&Ts finished with a splash of vermouth. (Click here to follow Jack Maxwell to Amsterdam and across the Netherlands.) 960 1280

  

Alameda, CA: St. George Terroir Gin

Alameda, CA: St. George Terroir Gin

The artisan distillers at St. George put northern California in a bottle with their Terroir gin; Douglas fir from a ranch in nearby Mendocino gives the spirit its signature bouquet, and wok-roasted coriander adds an earthy note reminiscent of the wild scrub in the Bay Area’s foothills. For a spot-on autumn cocktail, the team suggests echoing the gin’s herbaceous notes in a Collins (gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and soda) garnished with rosemary, sage or fresh California bay laurel; to follow the gin to its source, reserve a spot at one of the distillery’s tours or tastings. For the ultimate taste of the Golden State, try Karl Steuck’s “To Grandma’s house we go,” pictured here (2 oz. St. George Terroir gin, 1 oz. Dolin Blanc, and 2 dashes Angostura Orange bitters, garnished with a Yellow Chartreuse-infused fig).   960 1280

  

Madrid: Gin Club

Madrid: Gin Club

Gin Club, a bar that shares space and patrons with Mercado de la Reina, was one of Madrid’s first gin palaces; it’s also one of its best. In G&Ts, “Madrileños [natives and inhabitants of Madrid] have discovered a drink they love as much as wine and beer. Increasingly gin tonics appear as accompaniments to lunch or dinner; it is not unusual to see the marriage of our burger with gin and tonic,” says Gin Club’s Raúl Gómez. Martin Miller’s Gin reigns supreme at the Club, he reports; Bulldog—also a London Dry—is another favorite. What differentiates a gin tonic in Spain—a gin tonic at the Gin Club—from those one would find elsewhere? “The love with which we make them, of course.”  960 1280

Photographer: Emilia Brandao  

Caithness, Scotland: Rock Rose Gin

Caithness, Scotland: Rock Rose Gin

Martin and Claire Murray drew inspiration for their Rock Rose Gin from Viking scavengers, as one does; a millennium ago, the savage travelers harvested rose root (which the Murrays now grow in their distillery garden) to give them strength for long journeys. “We only use a small amount in our gin,” says Claire, “as it is actually very astringent and is quite a powerful flavour—we only want to add a hint!” The Murrays can’t reveal the identity of the woman who gave her name to Elizabeth, their traditional copper pot still, in print—but she’ll happily tell the story in person. Do she and Martin have a favorite way to serve their gin? “As husband and wife we can’t always agree on things and we each have our perfect serve! I like it best with a curl of orange, and Martin [likes it] with a sprig of rosemary. I think it shows that garnish is down to personal preference and what notes you enjoy and want to pull out as a dominant flavour in your gin.” If you’re inspired to pluck a bit of wild rose root as your garnish, watch your step out on the Scottish cliffs: “it can be difficult to reach!” (Follow Jack Maxwell’s travels in Scotland here.)  960 1280

Mike Denman  

Brooklyn: Greenhook Gin

Brooklyn: Greenhook Gin

Brothers Steve and Philip DeAngelo put a Brooklyn spin on gin at their distillery in Greenpoint, where they use New York-grown wheat in their American Dry Gin and macerated Long Island Beach Plums (once used as currency by local Native American tribes) in their one-of-a-kind Beach Plum Gin Liqueur; their overproof Old Tom, in turn, pays tribute to the robust Genevers that fortified Dutch settlers in the 18th century. Greenhook Gin makes appearances in bars and bottle shops across New York; if you head north along the Atlantic, Bar Sugo in Norwalk, CT offers Greenhook Gin as a winter warmer in its Negroni Verde, pictured above (1 oz. Greenhook Gin, 1 oz. Suze, 1oz. Cocchi Americano, ¼ oz. Blood Orangecello; stir with ice until chilled, then strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with orange zest).  960 1280

  

Greater Manchester, UK: The Old Bell Inn

Greater Manchester, UK: The Old Bell Inn

The Old Bell Inn, an 18th-century former coaching inn in Saddleworth, broke the Guinness World Record for the greatest number of gins commercially available back in 2014 (with 404 total); owner Philip Whiteman says that they now have 775 different gins. It’s no trouble to pick favorites among them, reports mixologist Sam Winterbottom: “Most of the staff have one to recommend and luckily we have a diverse taste so no one tastes the same thing twice.” When asked for an unusual choice, Winterbottom recommends the first gin produced locally in Manchester: “The Thomas Dakin [pictured above] has a unique savory flavor with 11 botanicals, including horseradish, based on a 1761 recipe, definitely more obscure.” Has he ever met a gin he doesn’t like? “The non-alcoholic one would be high on the list!” 960 1280

  

Wellington, South Africa: Jorgensen's Gin

Wellington, South Africa: Jorgensen's Gin

Craft distillation in South Africa suffered a fatal blow in the 1960s, when the then-Nationalist government revoked private distillation licenses and concentrated rights among a handful of big companies. That underwent a sea change in 1994, the year Nelson Mandela became president, South Africa adopted a new constitution—and Dawn and Roger Jorgensen began distilling spirits with local ingredients on their family farm in Wellington, 45 minutes outside of Cape Town. They produce their delicate, small-batch gin with local ingredients such as juniper grown in South Africa, “Grains of Paradise” from Ghana, naartjie, (a native citrus), and Cape lemon peels. These days, the premium microdistillation movement is gaining momentum—and Roger is thrilled to have company. “It is gratifying the market recognizes us all as providers of unique spirits that tell an African plant story. Gin is like no other spirit in the way that it can accurately describe the terroir or local environment.” Visitors who call ahead are welcome to come out to the farm for a tour and a tasting; look for Jorgensen’s Gin at top Cape Town hotels like Cape Grace and The Table Bay, at local gin bars (“of which The Gin Bar in Wale Street is a leading light,” says Roger), and online. (Click here for Jack Maxwell’s adventures in South Africa.)  960 1280

  

Berlin: Monkey Bar

Berlin: Monkey Bar

Berlin’s most enterprising gin enthusiast, the late Montgomery “Monty” Collins, was an Englishman—a wing commander in the RAF, more specifically, who came to the city after World War II as an administrator. Thirsty for the spirit he left back home, he developed his own gin recipe and named it for Max, his favorite Monkey at the Berlin Zoo. Black Forest Distillers consider that recipe the heart and soul of their own potion, now one of the leading gin brands in Germany. The best place to enjoy it, of course, is Berlin’s Monkey Bar, which perches on the 10th floor of the 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin...and has an unparalleled view of the zoo. To enjoy gin as one does in Deutschland, prepare your own batch of Monkey Bar’s green apple gin (whizz one apple with a bottle of gin in a blender, let it rest for an hour and strain it through a cloth), or, if you find yourself at the bar, order a Rafiki (pictured here, with gin, rhubarb juice, rosemary, lemon balm, lemon juice and sugar syrup).  960 1280

  

Oslo: Vidda Tørr Gin

Oslo: Vidda Tørr Gin

Local, independent distilling is coming back to Norway (where, until last year, the State Wine Monopoly reigned supreme). The team at the brand-spanking-new Oslo Håndverksdestilleri decided to make a Norwegian mountain gin that celebrated the Scandinavian tradition of foraging after a five-hour hike that culminated in the discovery of an ice floe in a mountain lake—which they wrapped in a jacket, hauled back home, and chopped into chunks for “one of the most beautiful G&Ts [we’d] ever had,” they remember. Vidda (“mountain plateau”) Tørr (“dry”) is infused with wild local botanicals like meadowsweet and heather; “we wanted to capture in a bottle the feeling of the mountain walk, the smells and taste of the mountain flora, and [the] experience of the extreme Norwegian climate.” To taste the winner of Vidda’s first cocktail competition in its home country, head to Lysverket Bar in Bergen and ask for bartender Elias Vega’s Blossoms and Fjords—Vidda, Marka (the distillery’s bitters), lemon juice, honey and sugar, garnished with a lemon twist.  960 1280

  

Behind the Scenes

See Jack Maxwell mix things up over on the Travel Channel Live Facebook page, below. 

See Pictures from Jack's Travels

Hawaii Time

Hawaii Time

Jack poses with some new friends on the shores off Hawaii. 960 1280

  

He’e Holua

He’e Holua

Jack enjoys a beverage before hitting the mountain for “he’e holua” – the ancient tradition of mountain sledding. 960 1280

  

Sunset

Sunset

Sharing a cocktail with friends at twilight on a Hawaii is not a bad way to close the day. 960 1280

  

Hobbit Hole

Hobbit Hole

A trip to New Zealand wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Hobbit hole in Hobbiton. 960 1280

  

Drinking Kava

Drinking Kava

Jack holding his bowl of Kava, a special New Zealand drink made from the roots of a plant barring the same name. 960 1280

  

Hitting the Pitch

Hitting the Pitch

Jack Maxwell getting ready to hit the pitch for some Rugby in New Zealand. 960 1280

  

Quiapo Market

Quiapo Market

Jack check out the Quiapo Market in the Philippines’ capital city of Manila. 960 1280

  

Catching a Ride

Catching a Ride

Jack catches a ride through Banaue, Philippines.  960 1280

  

Oyster Toast

Oyster Toast

Off the coast of San Leon, TX, Jack and some new friends share some fresh oysters from the Gulf of Mexico and a cocktails from the Railean Distillery. 960 1280

  

Um... Bingo!

Um... Bingo!

Jack learns the finer points of Chicken S---Bingo while in Austin, TX. 960 1280

  

Bangers Sausage House

Bangers Sausage House

Located on popular Rainey Street in Austin, TX, where bungalows have been converted into bars, sits this local favorite, Bangers Sausage House & Beer Garden. 960 1280

  

Sheep Herding

Sheep Herding

Jack Maxwell poses with a herd of sheep in Greece before leading them into town. 960 1280

  

Romantic View

Romantic View

The view of Athens, Greece is amazing to enjoy as a couple… 960 1280

  

Late Night View

Late Night View

… or with a cocktail of your choice. 960 1280

  

Sicily, Italy

Sicily, Italy

Jack cheers his glass of Marsala wine as he walks through a grape field in Marsala, Sicily. 960 1280

  

Shaved Ice with a Kick

Shaved Ice with a Kick

In Palermo, Sicily Jack and guide Chico Palladino find a Grattatelle stand (shaved ice with flavoring) where Chico has the shop owner add a little liquor to Jack’s serving. 960 1280

  

Big Time Bugatti

Big Time Bugatti

Jack gives a cheers as he takes off in a 1929 Bugatti in Palermo on the Targa Florio track. Looks kind of like the car from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang! 960 1280

  

Bar Kaluma

Bar Kaluma

Jack grabs a drink at Bar Kaluma while in Finland. 960 1280

  

Boot Tossing

Boot Tossing

Jack tries his hand at the interesting and unique Finnish sport of boot tossing. 960 1280

  

Hitting the Streets

Hitting the Streets

Jack and his Finnish guide Nikko wait at a bus stop in the city of Helsinki. 960 1280

  

Fishing in Hungary

Fishing in Hungary

Jack and local Hungarians fish in the murky water of the Tisza River with a traditional Roma fishing net. 960 1280

  

Budapest

Budapest

The capital city of Hungary, Budapest, prepares for a large storm. 960 1280

  

Nagyhegyes Farm

Nagyhegyes Farm

Jack Maxwell enjoys a large traditional breakfast on a local Hungarian farm in Nagyhegyes. 960 1280

  

Memento Park

Memento Park

Jack walks through Memento Park in Budapest where statues of Hungary’s past communist leaders stand. The statues were relocated after communist rule fell in 1989. 960 1280

  

Maasai Elders

Maasai Elders

Elders of the semi-nomadic Maasai tribe enjoy honey wine with Jack Maxwell in the great Ngorongoro Conservation Area of Tanzania. 960 1280

  

Cheers!

Cheers!

Jack toasts to the camera while in Tanzania. 960 1280

  

Banana Beer

Banana Beer

Jack asks a local how much banana beer he consumes a day. The answer is a surprising 5 liters. 960 1280

  

Mini Horses

Mini Horses

Jack checks out some miniature horses with on the beach in Shetland, Scotland. 960 1280

  

Highland Games

Highland Games

Jack shares whiskey with Robert, the MC of the Highland Games while in Scotland. 960 1280

  

Can You Knit That?

Can You Knit That?

While in Scotland Jack tries to knit as fast as Hazel Tindall, the fastest knitter in the world. 960 1280

  

Wagon

Wagon

Riding in the back of a wagon in the city outskirts in Hungary. Their preferred method of transportation. 960 1280

  

Acropolis

Acropolis

The theater at the Acropolis in Athens. 960 1280

  

Booze Crew

Booze Crew

The Booze Traveler crew in Manila, Philippines. 960 1280

  

Arctic Circle

Arctic Circle

Well, no going back now … 960 1280

  

Bridge of Death

Bridge of Death

Walking across the so-called “bridge of death” in the Philippines. 960 1280

  

Bugatti

Bugatti

In a 1929 Bugatti. A pretty good way to see Sicily, Italy! 960 1280

  

Chocolates

Chocolates

Making chocolates in Savannah. Yes, we are adding liquor to them. 960 1280

  

Cow's Blood

Cow's Blood

Drinking cow's blood with the Maasai in Tanzania can get a little messy. 960 1280

  

Dive Bar

Dive Bar

Tanzania, Africa. I like dive bars, but ... ;-) 960 1280

  

Drinkin' and Fishin'

Drinkin' and Fishin'

Drinkin' and fishin' in the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. Well, I'm drinkin' and they're fishin'. I mean, the show is called Booze Traveler! 960 1280

  

Female Impersonator

Female Impersonator

At a female impersonator show in Savannah. This is all I can show you. ;-) 960 1280

  

Gypsy Dance

Gypsy Dance

Dancing with Hungarian gypsies. 960 1280

  

Hobbiton

Hobbiton

Walking through the Shire in Hobbiton, New Zealand. 960 1280

  

Hungarian Feast

Hungarian Feast

Lunch the Hungarian way — a gigantic, all-day feast. 960 1280

  

Ifugao People

Ifugao People

With the Ifugao people in the Philippines. 960 1280

  

Jeepney

Jeepney

Riding on top of a jeepney, because that's how they do it here in the Philippines. 960 1280

  

Kava

Kava

Trying some kava at a formal ceremony in New Zealand while wearing the traditional lava-lava. 960 1280

  

Maasai Warriors

Maasai Warriors

Walking with the Maasai warriors of Tanzania. 960 1280

  

'Macbeth' Throne

'Macbeth' Throne

Something whiskey this way comes. At the castle in Scotland that inspired Macbeth. 960 1280

  

Maui Sailing

Maui Sailing

Sailing old-school on Maui. 960 1280

  

Patagonia

Patagonia

Patagonia, Argentina. I would turn around to see that beautiful view of the Andes, but I'm afraid I might fall. 960 1280

  

Pharmacia

Pharmacia

Stopping into a place called Pharmacia for a little "medicine" in Buenos Aires. 960 1280

  

Puppet

Puppet

Hey, wait a minute: This puppet in Sicily looks an awful lot like me … ;-) 960 1280

  

Rugby

Rugby

About to play rugby with some professionals in New Zealand. This could go a little sideways, I'm thinking. 960 1280

  

Sailing

Sailing

Sailing into the sunset in Zanzibar, Tanzania. 960 1280

  

Rock Sledding

Rock Sledding

Doing a little rock sledding in Hawaii. It's all downhill from here. 960 1280

  

Shepherds

Shepherds

With shepherds on the Greek island of Crete. 960 1280

  

Deer in Argentina

Deer in Argentina

Oh, deer! 960 1280

  

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing

A little snowshoeing through the Andes of Patagonia, Argentina. 960 1280

  

St. Andrews

St. Andrews

At the world-famous St. Andrews golf course in Scotland. Oh, yeah, and I'm wearing funny clothes. 960 1280

  

A Match Made in New Zealand

A Match Made in New Zealand

I love you... still 960 1280

  

Viking Cruise

Viking Cruise

Oh, it's THAT Viking cruise line?! (Shetland, Scotland) 960 1280

  

Jack and the Zulu Tribe

Jack and the Zulu Tribe

Jack poses with members of the Zulu tribe after drinking their beer and participating in a ceremony to honor their ancestors. 960 1280

  

Making a Potjie Meal

Making a Potjie Meal

Jack watches as his local guide, Kobus, adds a little mampoer to their potjie meal. Potjie is a traditional backyard cooking competition in South Africa. 960 1280

  

Riding a Tractor

Riding a Tractor

Jack rides in the back of a tractor in search of ostriches at the Skeiding Guest Farm in Heidelberg, South Africa. He is looking for ostrich eggs because they are a main component in a local hangover cure. 960 1280

  

Snatching a Ostrich Egg

Snatching a Ostrich Egg

Jack snatches an ostrich egg from right in front of a resting ostrich in order to make an omelet — the South African hangover cure. 960 1280

  

Drinking Amarula

Drinking Amarula

Jack and public relations officer Lorette Selane enjoy a glass of Amarula, the second-best-selling cream liqueur in the world. 960 1280

  

Searching for Ubusulu

Searching for Ubusulu

The crew captures Jack riding through the water in search of the sweet and fast-fermenting ubusulu, also known as palm wine. 960 1280

  

Sampling Palm Wine

Sampling Palm Wine

Jack talks with brewer Poomsie and guide Vusi as he waits to sample the local palm wine. 960 1280

  

Shooting Pool

Shooting Pool

Jack plays a round of pool at Denn's Tavern, which was once a South African speakeasy. 960 1280

  

Zulu Beer

Zulu Beer

Realizing that there’s an empty glass in the room, Jack fills the cup with Zulu beer. 960 1280

  

Tribal Dancing

Tribal Dancing

Meva and Jack sit and watch tribal dancing in honor of the Zulu ancestors. 960 1280

  

A Bottle of Mampoer

A Bottle of Mampoer

Jack selects one of the various flavors of mampoer made by the Nyati Distillery. 960 1280

  

About the Show

While working in the bars of South Boston, Jack Maxwell learned one thing: sit down with a stranger and a couple of drinks, and the whole world opens up. Booze Traveler is Jack's search for the world's most interesting drinks, and the people who drink them.

More About Booze Traveler

Meet Jack Maxwell

Host of Booze Traveler and a professional actor and adventurer, Jack Maxwell has learned his best lessons, stories and lighthearted jokes in the barrooms of South Boston.

Jack Maxwell's Bio

Booze Traveler Cocktail connoisseur Jack Maxwell will take his respect and appreciation for specialty cocktails to explore new locales, seeking out the people, places, customs and cultures behind drinks across the globe.
Jack Maxwell
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