Artisan Spirit: Fall 2021

Page 46

Burl Gin and their bourbon cask–aged Tiki Spiced Rum, boast medals from entities like the SIP Awards, the American Craft Spirits Association, and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Sywassink attributes the success to a strict adherence to making spirits of purpose and not just for creativity’s sake. “If you don’t have a practical side to making a spirit, where you’re not understanding its flavor profile or figuring out how to use it, it’s difficult to enjoy,” he said. “It may be good, but it won’t have any soul.”

Ghost Coast plants its flag in Savannah, but its talent’s roots are more widespread. The head distiller made his bones in Asheville, North Carolina and Chicago. The assistant distiller hails from Kentucky. The marketing manager comes from Cincinnati. The bar manager is a Massachusetts native. These diversified origins help Ghost Coast to carry a robust perspective into their operations, from the way the juice is made to how it gets exposed to the masses. According to Sywassink, they also demonstrate the city’s allure and its remarkable ability to light a spark within those who are new in town. “Once you come to Savannah, you get pulled in without realizing it,” he explained. “You get immersed into the city and its culture, and you realize you should have been here ages ago. We have seen so many people on staff bring their mentality and experiences from other cities; Savannah just recharges their energy, and they start building new experiences. When this happens, it blossoms into something special.” Even with this outside perspective, there’s still enough room for Savannah’s homegrown spirit to shine through Ghost Coast’s juice. This is in some ways in a literal sense — Sywassink cites the city’s water as a key ingredient within the process. It’s also present through the distillery’s local fans, who aren’t afraid to let their opinions known. “The community will take you in with a great big hug, but they’ll also be very honest,” he stated. “If you serve them something they don’t like, they’ll tell you. If you serve them something good, they’ll tell you it better be just as good the next time they have it. That certainly keeps us on our toes.” 46