In Miami Beach, it's not unusual for a celebrity to host a party. It's also not unusual for cocktails to be involved.
But, when a celebrity — in this case, Snoop Dogg — is hosting a cocktail-making class to launch his strawberry gin, Indoggo, you go. To keep with the strawberry theme, this class took place at Strawberry Moon at the Goodtime Hotel, the collaboration between David Grutman and Pharrell Williams.
The afternoon got off to a less-than-promising start when Snoop Dogg was a no-show. In his stead, the hands-on cocktail class was led by actor and BET host, Terrence J, and Indoggo partner Keenan Towns.
The simple drinks — a gin and tonic with basil and a gin and lemonade — were intended more to highlight the new spirit than to teach a master class in bartending: we're on deck.
Priced under $30, the indigo-hued bottle would make a sleek addition to your home bar. (The name, Indoggo, is a mashup on Snoop Dogg's moniker and the name of his favorite cannabis strain, Indigo.) Thankfully, the gin isn't tinted an artificial pink hue. The scent is more strawberry jam than fresh-picked fruit. Though the gin is described as having been made with seven botanicals, including orange, coriander, and cassia, strawberry is the dominant flavor, hiding gin's typical notes of juniper, pine, and citrus. The corn-based spirit is gluten-free and has no added sugars or artificial flavorings.
The flavor is...divisive.
Lovers of traditional gins might find Indoggo too much of a fruit bomb and lacking the subtlety and depth of a traditional gin.
On the other hand, people who aren't ardent fans of the spirit might find Indoggo a pleasant segue into becoming a gin drinker.
Keenan Towns, cofounder of Trusted Spirits
with Marc Weisberg, a developer of spirits brands who partnered with Snoop Dogg on the gin, says Calvin Broadus, Jr., (Snoop's given name) knew exactly what he wanted when it came to stamping his imprimatur on a bottle. "The conversation started with me asking Snoop what he likes to drink. When he said he was into vodka-cranberry, I suggested we make a vodka."
What with the enduring popularity of Snoop's 1994 hit "Gin & Juice,"
however, the rapper was adamant about the spirit he wanted to brand.
Says Towns: "He asked me to make him a gin that drank like a vodka."
The first order of business was to ask people what they didn't like about traditional gins.
"People said that gins were too piney or that they were strong and pungent," says Towns, adding that Indoggo did the trick. "We took away all the stuff that people didn't like about gin and gave them this beautiful strawberry essence."
Towns says the strawberry notes work well in most gin cocktails, from the negroni to the French 75 and the classic gin and tonic. It also works with a squeeze of lime and a splash of club soda.
Indoggo was released in October 2020, when clubs and bars were still shut tight. Thankfully, says Towns, retail liquor stores kept the brand afloat. The spirits maven says that his company plans to expand its portfolio, with celebrity-backed tequilas, whiskies, and a sangria.
But the first order of business was to introduce Miami to Indoggo. Towns says the spirit got its greatest compliment to date when David Grutman, co-owner of the Goodtime Hotel, told him to stop comparing it to vodka.
"He told me not to try to fit into the vodka box and that we have a great gin. I will take that as solid advice."