THE GOTHIC GIN EDITION
SAN FRANCISCO, USA
OUR LATEST GIN HAILS FROM ONE OF THE MOST COSMOPOLITAN CITIES IN THE WORLD - SAN FRANCISCO, HOME TO THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, ALCATRAZ AND THE PAINTED LADIES (BELOW).
We’re excited to announce our return to delicious and unique international gins with the spectacular Gothic Gin. This clean, refreshing drop, which has finally arrived from bustling San Francisco, is a great way to take your at-home cocktail game up a notch. The extraordinary spirit has already made quite a mark in its first year, taking out Gold Medals for the best contemporary gin in the US at the 2019 and 2020 World
OUR FEATURED GIN HAS BECOME THE TOAST OF THE TOWN, AS THE TIPPLE OF CHOICE EVERYWHERE FROM FORMULA ONE TO THE GRAMMYS.
Gin Awards, as well as filling the glasses of guests at the Grammys afterparty earlier this year. We speak to founder Chris Klug, who developed the recipe for Gothic Gin while on a bucket-list trip to Barcelona. And our featured mixologist – Jared Roll – has created a range of signature cocktails that hero its key botanical: eucalyptus. Our Ginsider this issue might already be familiar to the Tassie gin lovers out there – Gin-uary Hobart founder Courtney QuinnMcCabe. In addition to building a hugely popular annual festival, Courtney even boasts her own line of pre-mixed G&Ts. Plus we profile five women leading the way in the world of distilling. Got a question, request or have some feedback on this month’s gin? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love hearing from our members.
Andrew Burge Founder, Gin Society
VISIT US AT WWW.GINSOCIETY.COM
4 GOTHIC GIN spirit to the stars
14 WOMEN IN GIN
ginâ€™s leading ladies
Co 22 THE GINSIDER
The Gin Society team Founders: Andrew Burge and Craig Hodges Director: Jagdev Singh General manager: Edwina Lawry Creative director: Annah Lansdown Editors: Lisa Cugnetto and Helen Alexander Sub-editor: Simon Jones
26 CLASSIC AMERICAN COCKTAILS
iconic drinks originating from the States
32 THE GIN LIST
5 must-try Californian gins
36 IN THE MIX cocktail adventures from Hollywood
42 THE REVIEW with Leon Dalloway of Gin Journey
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SPIRIT TO THE STARS It’s no coincidence that Gothic Gin’s tasting notes say: “conjures a lively fragrant nightlife”. Since launching last year, it’s been sipped at some of the most glamorous events around the world. And now you can bring a taste of that sparkling nightlife to your place.
BORN IN BARCELONA
DISTILLED IN SAN FRANCISCO
THERE WAS A TIME WHEN Chris Klug didn’t like gin. In fact, it wasn’t all that long ago. Having studied viticulture and distillation as a hobby for years – while pursuing a successful career in technology with the likes of Microsoft and Salesforce – he decided he might as well learn how to make gin so he
IN A BLIND TASTE TEST, GOTHIC GIN WON HANDS DOWN Barcelona
could better understand why he didn’t like it. “Thankfully, the opposite happened. I took a class in Barcelona and realised gin is the most refined spirit there is. When done right, the flavour profile can vary quite bit. In my opinion,
IT’S THE WINE OF SPIRITS.” That was back in September 2017, just months before Chris was diagnosed with a degenerative spinal cord. Following a period of medical leave and weeks of therapy, the next step was major surgery.
The Gothic Quarter, Barcelona
“I wasn’t a fan of that plan,” he recalls, “so I took what I believed to be a bucket-list trip. I didn’t know how much time I had left or what I’d be able to do with it.” And so he returned to Barcelona, one of his favourite cities in the world, and took the gin-distilling class again. “I got the recipe I’d created out of archive, refined it a couple more times and did a blind tasting with the two professors and two master distillers, who were also taking the class. My gin won hands down. The distillers came to me and said,
‘Congratulations, you made a good gin – what’s its name?’ The laboratory was in the Gothic Quarters of Barcelona, so I said, ‘Gothic Gin, of course.’ But I was really thinking, ‘Okay, whatever, this is just for fun.’”
The Uffizi Gallery in Florence
THE MAKING OF A
However, things quickly escalated and, while Gothic Gin is formally distilled in San Francisco, it was born in Europe. That evening, just before midnight, while sitting with friendsat a restaurant in Plaça Reial, Chris bought the domain name www. gothicgin.com for $4.95 and, in his words: “It just took off from there and developed a life of its own.” While staying in a 17thcentury house built by fishermen on the Ligurian coast, Chris hired a lawyer back home and established the business, before finding inspiration for the logo while visiting the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
“The angels of assumption are brought together to create a skull. It’s intended to be spiritual, not religious. The brand is about receiving enlightenment to become your true self. The Latin phrase on the neck – per divinitatem lumen – means ‘enlightenment through divinity’.” Back in San Francisco, Chris didn’t stop for breath – securing contract manufacturers in wine country, taking the laboratory recipe up to a 1,000-litre pot still recipe and
Gothic Gin’s logo, inspired by a visit to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence
FOR THE LOGO THE ANGELS OF ASSUMPTION ARE BROUGHT TOGETHER TO CREATE A SKULL
submitting the first product development run into the 2019 World Gin Awards.
Asked what his plans are for the future, Chris doesn’t miss a beat: “World domination!”
“We were awarded Gold in the American Contemporary Gin category, so that was exciting! I then went into production and, in August last year, we began selling.”
He might just be right. Gothic Gin won Bronze at the Singapore World Spirits Competition in the $100 bottle category and was once again awarded Gold for US Contemporary Ginthe at best the 2020 World Gin Awards.
A fishing village on the Ligurian coast, Italy.
AN A-LIST TIPPLE For a spirit that’s only a year old, Gothic Gin has already enjoyed more high-profile moments than most distillers could ever dream of. During his bucketlist trip, Chris spent time in Cannes and Monaco, met some interesting people and ended up conducting a tasting for them. “It was in an incredible compound of these amazing multimillion-dollar villas
perched on a cliff in the south of Spain. It was just absolutely unbelievable.” And it was through his contacts that Chris had the opportunity to dive with great white sharks off the coast of Mexico, where he met Grammy governor Robin Nixon, and – long story short – Gothic Gin ended up sponsoring the EDM after-party at this year’s star-studded awards ceremony.
Diving with the sharks in Mexico
The Grammy’s EDM after-party
GIVING SOMETHING BACK But for all the glitz and glamour, Gothic Gin is equally committed to supporting good causes. “When I worked in tech, I taught people how they can incorporate philanthropy into their business processes and marketing programs. I’m very big on community engagement and I just carried that through.” 11
WHAT IS A CONTEMPORARY GIN? London Dry gin. Instead, we are a contemporary gin.
According to the World Gin Awards’ submission guidelines, the term ‘contemporary gin’ refers to gins with flavour profiles where juniper is still discernible, but other flavours such as citrus, spice and floral notes are more prominent than in a ‘classic gin’. “Gothic Gin follows London Dry methodology, which is just a single distillation with the grain steeped in the pot with their traditional ingredients,” Chris says. “However, we do vapour infusion up inside the helmet of the pot with eucalyptus and Valencia orange peel. Because of that, we’re not able to call ourselves a
“We start with a koshercertified, corn-based grain neutral spirit and source our botanicals through the San Francisco Herb Company, who scour the earth for the highestquality and sustainably sourced ingredients, and preferably those that are organically grown. Alongside the juniper we have coriander seeds, which makes it not as piney, as well as Angelica root, orris root and Lampong pepper from Indonesia. Then I do two different processes with the eucalyptus – you have to be so careful not to produce a green gin when using eucalyptus – one in the pot and then as an infusion.”
With a focus on clean oceans and safe water, Gothic Gin works with Fins Attached and donates 5% of its profits to good causes. Chris was also working on charity concerts in Sydney and Melbourne following the devastation caused by the recent bushfires, before these were halted by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. As for ‘enlightenment through divinity’, it seems Chris found his in gin: “We are not a big corporation. I don’t come from a multigenerational spirit company. This is truly something that I received through inspiration. I get to bring some of my business
and technology knowledge and, with all the work I’ve done to develop a palate, it seems I’m pretty good at making gin. So yeah, this is my calling, and it’s what I want to continue to do.”
Women Gin in
SINCE STARTING OUR SPIRITED SOCIETY, WE’VE BEEN HONOURED TO MEET TALENTED DISTILLERS ALL OVER THE WORLD. HERE, WE’RE SHINING A SPOTLIGHT ON A FEW OF THE DISTILLING WORLD’S LEADING LADIES.
The pioneer L AU RA J OH N SON Y O U & YOURS DI S T I LLI NG CO. S A N D I EG O, U S A A one-hour distillery tour was all Laura needed to kickstart her craft-spirit career. Having studied at the Distilled Spirits Epicenter in Louisville, Kentucky – which is also known as the ‘moonshine university’ – and Dry Fly Distilling School in Spokane, Washington, she founded California’s first urban destination distillery in 2017. Her entrepreneurial spirit earned her a place on Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2018. “I wasn’t going to let the lack of employment opportunities nor representation of women in craft distilling sway me from my true passion. With You & Yours, I was inspired to create a distilling 14
concept that put equal thought and effort behind not only the quality of the spirits, but the quality of the experience as a whole. That’s why our tasting room is such a large part of who we are and what we do. Following on from the success of the distillery and the tasting room, we recently launched a line of canned cocktails. “It’s so important to assemble a team of like-minded people. Having a rock-solid team makes or breaks you. At You & Yours we’re all extremely independent and we know our strengths. Everyone has their own lane and really nails their own individual tasks and areas of specialisation.”
The scientist DERV IL L A M C GOWAN A N T H E R S PI RI T S G E E L O N G, AU S T RALI A Having worked in cocktail bars to fund her studies both in Australia and overseas, Dervilla graduated with a PhD in microbiology and a serious passion for Negronis. A few years ago, she left her job in medical research and started making gin… “My partner Seb got a job distilling at the Craft & Co in Collingwood, and once I saw their 180-litre copper pot still – called Carl – I instantly fell in love. We started playing around on a two-litre still and, before we knew it, we were making our own gin. My PhD has been a great asset in distilling and business because it teaches you problem-solving and extreme persistence, which are very useful skills for both.
“I’m not really sure if there are any male distillers in Australia as I only speak to the women... just kidding! This industry is traditionally male and I have heard some stories where women were vigorously excluded, but the rise of craft spirits has levelled
the playing field and exceptionally talented women are emerging as the industry develops. One who immediately comes to mind is Brogan Carr from Brogan’s Way in Melbourne. I’m really excited to see how she will change the country’s gin scene. “Australia has some of the most unique flora and fauna in the world, which means Australian gin distillers are the luckiest in the world because we’re spoilt for choice with our wonderful native
Leading Way the
botanicals. In our flagship gin we use two types of gum leaves and finger limes, while our special edition Habitat has about 15 Australian natives. I love making gin because you get to discover plants you never knew existed, like the revelatory Geraldton wax that has a flavour like yellow Skittles (so much fun!) and aniseed myrtle. Gin is a spirit that anchors us in our geography – it’s a chance to literally taste the place where the gin was made.”
When it comes to seeking a source of gin-spiration, many of the women we spoke with pointed to three master distillers who have been blazing a trail in the UK for years. Like Lesley Gracie, who created the recipe for Hendrick’s 1999. Tasked with concocting a drinking experience that resembled ‘eating cucumber sandwiches in British gardens’, it took 21 trial distillations to determine the perfect blend of 11 botanicals, plus the additional essence of cucumber and rose. She continues to distil small, 500-litre batches of Hendrick’s to this day. Meanwhile, Anne Brock, with her PhD in organic chemistry from Oxford University, came up often in conversations. Having worked for four years as the lead distiller at Jensen’s Gin – our April 2019 member gin – she’s now at the helm of Bombay Sapphire. Then there’s Joanne Moore, who’s been a distiller for almost 25 years and has overseen world-renowned brands such as BLOOM, Opihr and Thomas Dakin.
The adventurer ALICIA M AC IN N E S L U SS A G I N J UR A , SC OT L AND United by their love for the remote Isle of Jura – and a penchant for gin – neighbours Alicia MacInnes, Claire Fletcher and Georgina Kitching started distilling in 2015. With all 15 botanicals used in Lussa Gin grown on or foraged from the island, on a sunny day Alicia can be found among the Scots pine trees with her dog Ginny or on a paddleboard gathering sea lettuce.
“I’m Australian – from Perth – and I first visited Jura roughly 16 years ago. I love this wild, remote, dramatic and friendly island. I love living in a place that gives me a tranquil and serene feeling, and I love living by the ocean where I feel in awe of nature and the elements.
“But while it’s a very beautiful place, job opportunities are scarce, especially for women. So really, I was driven by necessity and inspired by the chance to create a gin that embodies this amazing place. The three of us took inspiration from each other, too. “When we started distilling, there was less than a handful of female distillers in the UK and even fewer distilleries owned by women. I would say that we are a group on the rise. It’s wrong to say that distilling is traditionally a man’s occupation. Historically, women were highly skilled in botany, fermenting and distilling for medicinal purposes and, without a doubt, for drinking too. Lussa Gin wouldn’t exist without support from the Isle of Jura community. This is something that’s inherited from the people who lived here before us, and it’s definitely our responsibility to nourish this. I would like to think that the whole community feels our success has as much to do with them as it has to do with us.”
The ethical K ATHY C ATON enthusiast BR I G H T O N G I N BR I G H T O N , U K It’s not always the easiest approach, but Kathy is committed to doing things in an ethical, sustainable and community-minded way. From “dangerous experiments” with an eBay-bought still in her kitchen to recently winning a Gold Medal at the inaugural Nordic Spirits Awards for her Seaside Strength Navy Gin, it’s been an eventful few years… “You don’t know what you don’t know until you discover you don’t know it – and I am glad I didn’t know how many difficulties and challenges there would be along the way as I probably wouldn’t have had a go! I have always loved gin. People used to laugh at me when I was younger because they just thought of it as their nan’s drink. But it’s always been good to me – even when I’ve had a bit too much. Brighton’s such a party town and, one morning while out jogging, I realised it needed its own gin! “I think a lot of people come to craft spirits having been a passionate consumer. That was my journey. I made every mistake in the book (my first
still exploded) but, nine years later and significantly greyer, I’m proud to say Brighton Gin is on the shelves. “We are a small set-up but we value diversity – the team comprises every identity of the LGBT spectrum and we have 20-somethings working alongside our production manager who is in her late 70s. In fact, she’s my mum! She brings a terrifyingly fierce work ethic and it’s fascinating to see people of such varying ages come together to create our gin.
“We use organic pure wheat spirit and locally grown coriander seeds and milk thistle, which is indigenous to the nearby South Downs. The mash from the still is composted and our bottles contain 40% recycled glass. Plus, we are the UK’s only certified vegan gin, and that includes the wax that seals the bottle and the glue we use on the labels.”
The ingredient WAITLING ON LEDI IMAGERY :)
NAL E D I G OOT TSC H L ED I G I N C A P E TOWN, S OU TH A FRICA Naledi was just 22 when she became South Africa’s first black female gin distiller. Her handcrafted pineapple, strawberry and raspberry-infused gins are now sold across the country. “I’m motivated by different types of gins, the smell of the different botanicals and the curiosity of people. Apart from the juniper berries imported from Italy, we use locally sourced lavender, coriander, cardamom, wild rosemary and buchu [which has traditionally been used as a medicinal herb]. “The gin scene in South Africa has evolved. There are now more than 50 20
distillers located here and the list of female distillers is growing too. Like Lucy Beard, who owns Hope Distillery, Andri Janeke from New Harbour Distillery and Lorna Scott of Inverroche Gin. “Just being part of the industry feels like an
achievement, but I am also proud of how we’ve grown – we started distribution with 100 bottles per infusion and now that’s 1,200 bottles. This year, we aim to make the brand one of the most authentically African premium gins and are introducing a fynbos-infused gin.”
THE GINSIDER Our latest Ginsider is Gin-uary Hobart founder Courtney Quinn-McCabe. We’re pretty jealous that this globetrotting gin connoisseur is able to list Hobart’s famous Lark Distillery on her résumé, but what’s even more impressive is that she turned a hobby into a hugely popular festival – and even has her own line of G&Ts!
Not content with singlehandedly putting on a massive gin event every year, Courtney recently released her first batch of premade G&Ts: Little Gin Co.
Why is gin such a special spirit to you? When I moved to Tasmania in 2012, I started working at a whisky distillery and loved the whole process of crafting spirits. When you’re having a drink, it’s not often that you actually stop and think about the craft and the passion that went into the end product.
“Little Gin Co was created because my very good friend Emma and I wanted a ready-todrink gin and tonic in a bottle that was easily accessible, and one standard drink. It’s all good and well if you rock up to a party with a bottle of gin – you’re everyone’s friend. But sometimes you don’t want to do that. So we created a G&T that captures the essence of Tasmania.”
After the whisky distillery I started working at Lark. Around 2013 they were doing the Tasmanian Godfather Gin and I remember saying to a friend, “I reckon gin is going to be huge. I think it’ll be the next whisky.” They laughed at me and I promised myself I wouldn’t tell anyone else my prediction. I love gin because it’s pure alchemy. You take a neutral, base spirit and then create magic.
What do you look for in a gin? I’m a mad citrus fiend – kaffir lime, lemon, grapefruit, mandarin. I love anything citrusy and I appreciate a gin that showcases that element. I do venture out, but it depends how I’m feeling. Sometimes I want a big juniper punch while other times I prefer a more subtle fennel mouthfeel. Tell us about your personal gin collection. My poor husband! Our gin collection sits atop our piano and it keeps getting bigger and bigger. I’m so fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to hear all the stories directly from the distillers who attend Gin-uary, so they all stand out for different reasons.
C OUR T N EY Q UIN N -McC A BE
I’ve pretty much got a gin from each distillery that’s attended Gin-uary since the
start. A few from this year include Hobart No.4, Hunnington Vapour Infused, Forty Spotted Rare Tasmanian, Strait, IronHouse and plenty more. G&T, Martini, Negroni – what’s your go-to gin cocktail? I really do love them all, but I especially love a good sundowner G&T – especially once the kids are down for bed.
Recently I had the pleasure of drinking one of the most phenomenal cocktails at the Ginuary– Aloft [a fine food restaurant in Hobart] dinner collaboration. It was a twist on the French 75 but using Lawrenny Highlands Gin. It was just amazing. Are you a fan of the tried-and-tested lime wedge or do you like changing up your garnishes?
COURTNEY’S DESERT ISLAND GINS
GIN-UARY GIN Tasmania, Australia A unique spirit specially crafted for the annual Ginuary Hobart Festival. Only attendees can get their hands on this rare gin. “The Gin-uary Gin is amazing. Unfortunately it’s all sold out but people can buy next year’s batch if they come to Gin-uary 2021!”
APPLEWOOD GIN Adelaide Hills, Australia Truly indicative of the Adelaide Hills, this botanical-rich gin distils spectacular ingredients to reflect the terroir of the land. “I love the creativity of using wattleseed and rare desert limes.”
THE BOTANIST Islay, Scotland 22 hand-foraged botanicals from the picture-perfect Islay region combine to make a world-class gin that exudes style and substance. “It always reminds me of when my husband and I first got into gin properly.”
I love a good citrus garnish but I also think with the new-world gins coming out, instead of just using a lemon or lime – which still have their place – people are using garnishes to really complement the gin. At my ticket launch party at The Story Bar in MACq 01, for example, we were serving the Forty Spotted Australian Citrus Gin with a sprig of fennel and it took the drink to a whole different level. And with the French 75 with Lawrenny Gin, it was served with a little blue cypress sprig, and it was fantastic. Give us the rundown on Gin-uary. As part of the tourism component for my University of Tasmania degree, I studied an elective unit of festival management. And because I was a mature-age student, I was one of those people who looked at the unit outline first, so I already knew what was in store for me. We had to create this hypothetical event, so I thought, “We’ve done lots of whisky events like Whisky Live, Whisky Expo – whisky this and that” but I realised there wasn’t anything, especially in Tasmania, that was gin focused. So I had the main idea for an event just sitting there but I didn’t think I was going to execute it in real life. Mostly that was because I didn’t have a venue in mind. But a few months later I went to an event at The Goods Shed in Hobart and it’s got so much character with its exposed beams. I thought to myself, “Okay, in order to do this I need to call all the people I know in the industry to see if it’s something they would be willing to attend.” They gave me honest, positive feedback and so I dived right in. I madly did everything myself and had 18 distilleries in that first year, with 1,200 people in attendance. Last year was fantastic with 21 distilleries, and this year there were 25 distilleries – all Tasmanian. How do you think the public’s perception of gin has changed? There’s a lot more information out there now,
which makes it much more accessible. I really think people have – excuse the pun – a thirst for knowledge, and this is through wanting to understand where their product comes from. It also means that with social media platforms, people are better able to engage with the distillery and each other. It’s also a different spirit today. I used to hear people say, “Oh well I just don’t like gin. There’s too much overpowering juniper.” Whereas now we’ve got so many different varieties of gin that, really, there’s a gin for everyone. Tassie is a gin paradise, but if you could go anywhere else in the world to sample amazing gins, where would that be? I think I’d probably go to the UK. There’s a huge variety of gins on offer there, as well as plenty of cracking festivals which are both educational and fun. I also like that different parts of the country are putting their own twists on gin. What do you like most about the Gin Society? Who doesn’t love getting gin in the mail? I used to struggle with buying gin because I was worried I might not like it. It’s just great that Gin Society sends out a variety of gins, many that people haven’t tried before. Also, giving that information to subscribers is fantastic because all that education, all that information makes it a special subscription. Plus it’s real value for money, easily accessible and not just for gin fanatics like me. Anything else you’d like to share about the Tassie gin scene? It blows my mind how far the Australian gin industry has come in the past five years, and it will only get bigger. With the recent accolades won by Tasmanian distilleries at the World Gin Awards, we’re shaking things up and showing the world that we’re not just a little island at the bottom of Australia – we’re a place where magic happens.
Classic American cocktails
Some of the world’s most iconic drinks originated in the States, and even Prohibition couldn’t stand in the way of the country’s pioneering bartenders. We take a look at just a few of the tempting tipples that were born in America and went on to make a global mark. 26
Comstock Saloon, San Francisco
The good people of San Francisco knew a thing or two about cocktails decades before Gothic emerged on the gin scene. In fact, it was here that the “father of American mixology” – bartender Jerry Thomas – wrote The Bar-Tender’s Guide: A Complete Cyclopedia of Plain and Fancy Drinks. First published in 1862, the book includes recipes drawn from Thomas’s peers as well as some of his own creations. One of those, the extravagant Blue Blazer, 28
involves lighting scotch on fire and pouring it between two mixing glasses to create “a blazing stream of liquid fire”. The drink’s popularity might have swiftly burnt out, but the book provided a timeless source of inspiration for generations of mixologists. We celebrate some of the cocktails that have endured, as well as the stories behind them.
Prank turned marketing ploy:
TOM COLLINS In the 1870s, this gag was the height of hilarity: you approach Mr A and ask if they’ve heard of Tom Collins. You claim that Tom Collins has been talking behind Mr A’s back and spreading nasty rumours. Mr A rushes to the nearest bar and asks for Tom Collins only to be told there’s no one there by that name. That is, until an enterprising bartender created a drink called a Tom Collins. From then on, anyone enquiring after Tom was presented with a refreshing gin sour. The second edition of Jerry Thomas’s book contained the first recorded recipe for the cocktail, which called for “1 large wine-glass of gin”, sugar syrup and lemon juice.”
From Manhattan to Martini, via the
What started life in the 1884 recipe book The Modern Bartender as a twist on the rye whiskey-based Manhattan was later published as a drink in its own right: the Martinez. Made with gin, sweet and dry vermouths, and aromatic bitters, it’s often referred to as the precursor to the Martini. There are a number of stories as to when and where it was originally invented, but many believe it was born behind the bar of San Francisco’s Occidental Hotel, which was a popular stopping-off point for tourists on their way to the Californian town of Martinez. And who just happened to be working at the hotel around the same time? Our friend, Jerry Thomas.
Bar Drake, Sir Francis Drake Hotel, San Francisco
Surviving the speakeasy era Just over 100 years ago – on 17 January 1920 – America officially went dry. Activists had hoped that prohibiting the sale, manufacture and transportation of alcoholic beverages would curb excess consumption, but all it really did was push the country’s drinking culture underground. Bootleggers set up secret supply chains, while home-brewing and unlicensed bars – nicknamed speakeasies – flourished. These illicit spots ended up having a huge impact on the way we socialise today, as men and women no longer sat in segregated areas and competition between owners saw an increase in live entertainment. 30
Prohibition came to an end in 1933, and there are several stilloperating spots in San Francisco that managed to evade law enforcement. Like the Sir Francis Drake hotel, which made use of its dumbwaiter to deliver drinks directly to the rooms of wealthy patrons. Today, there’s less secrecy – both the Bar Drake lounge area and modern Lizzie’s Starlight bar boast a stellar drinks list (450 Powell St). Similarly, the turnof-the-century Comstock Saloon (155 Columbus Ave) has been lovingly refreshed and serves classic cocktails from behind the original mahogany bar.
A cocktail that’s the
One of the best things to come out of Prohibition was the Bee’s Knees, a sweet twist on the Gin Sour that relied on the addition of honey and lemon to make the bootlegged spirits and bathtub gins that proliferated in the 1920s taste a little better. The drink has experienced a recent revival following the popularity of Bee’s Knees Week, where venues across the country serve the cocktail and donate a percentage of their profits to the Bee Cause Project, which builds beehives in urban areas. Bee’s Knees
One of the most colourful mixed drinks around, New York bartender Hugo Ensslin committed the Aviation to his 1916 Recipes for Mixed Drinks, which
was one of the last cocktail books published before Prohibition. Gin, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice and crème de violette liqueur are shaken with ice and strained into a chilled glass. Its pale purple hue can be switched to blue if you leave out the maraschino – making it a Blue Moon. 31
The Gin MUST-TRY
From hilly San Francisco to palm-fringed Los Angeles, this west-coast state is home to many a craft distillery producing spirits of the highest calibre. We round up five noteworthy gins straight out of California. 32
DISTILLERY 209 NO. 209 GIN
No. 209 Gin is a small-batch spirit handcrafted in San Francisco by Distillery 209, which sits over the waterâ€™s edge on the cityâ€™s Pier 50. Distillery 209 produces a range of wine-barrel reserve gins and a kosher gin and vodka, but their flagship spirit is the No. 209. Distilled five times, this aromatic gin is citrus and floral led with a touch of spice. It features 11 botanicals including angelica root, orange peel, coriander seed, bergamot, cardamom pods, cassia bark and lemon peel sourced from around the world.
Those who like their gin with a twist will appreciate Wilder Gin. A herbaceous, savoury spirit with a 43% ABV, it’s made with 100% organic neutral wheat spirit and nine botanicals, including wild foraged Californian sagebrush, purple sage, bay laurel, yerba santa, pixie mandarin peel and chuchupate. Its makers, Ventura Spirits, take a creative approach to distilling that showcases the bountiful agricultural offerings of California’s central coast. They describe the fresh flavoured-packed Wilder Gin as a “botanical blend evocative of coastal mountain trails”. http://venturaspirits.com
MULHOLLAND NEW WORLD GIN
Mulholland New World Gin is the creation of LA-based Mulholland Distilling founders Matthew Alper and Hollywood’s own Walton Goggins. Their New World Gin is made with 100% non-GMO cornspirit which is distilled six times and brings together traditional botanicals like juniper, coriander and angelica and marries them with French lavender, Japanese cucumber and Persian lime aromatics. The end result is a unique, bright and fresh gluten-free gin that was awarded Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2018. Enjoy it neat or as a standout base for gin cocktails. www.mulhollanddistilling.com
AMASS DRY GIN LOS ANGELES
AMASS are distillers of a different kind. They seek out and work with reputed distillers from around the world to craft their spirits. AMASS’s first spirit is a premium dry gin inspired by – and an ode to – Los Angeles. (Their second release is AMASS Vodka, which was crafted in Copenhagen). AMASS Dry Gin is made in downtown Los Angeles by master distiller Morgan McLachlan, who is co-founder of local operation The Spirit Guild. She takes an experimental approach to distilling and has created a terroir-driven spirit in AMASS Dry Gin. Packaged in an aesthetically pleasing matte-black bottle, it is a complex but vibrant and wellrounded spirit featuring unique botanicals like California bay leaf, sarsaparilla, reishi mushroom and lion’s mane mushroom. www.amass.com
ST. GEORGE TERROIR GIN
Established in Alameda in 1982 by Jörg Rupf, St. George Spirits is one of the earliest and best-known artisan distillers to come out of California. Their Terroir Gin is a distinctive spirit with an ABV of 45%. Intense, earthy and aromatic, the foresty flavour profile is described as “an ode to the wild beauty of the Golden State”. Terroir Gin is made with 12 botanicals including California bay laurel, local Douglas fir, roasted coriander seeds and coastal sage. It works a treat in a martini or G&T. www.stgeorgespirits.com
In the Mix
GIN COCKTAIL ADVENTURES FROM HOLLYWOOD With years of experience developing cocktail recipes in some of Southern Californiaâ€™s best bars, Jared Roll is looking forward to putting Gothic Gin on the mixology map. 36
ared had always been an enthusiastic gin drinker, and it was while bartending at Hollywood Boulevard’s beloved Cabo Wabo Cantina that he tried Gothic Gin for the first time. “I was running the bar and we would get salespeople in all the time trying to sell their spirits,” he recalls. “Then one day Chris walked in – and he is not your typical salesperson.”
Jared says the word ‘passionate’ doesn’t begin to describe Chris’s meticulous approach to creating a fantastic drinking experience. “He is a perfectionist. He cares about every pour, every ounce,” says Jared, who was so impressed with Chris’s pitch that he left the bar world behind and joined Gothic Gin in a role that’s part sales, part mixology.
Hailing from Oklahoma, Jared originally moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to pursue a career in acting and, while that remains a side hustle, he threw himself into the Southern California bar scene – opening and running bars, all the while honing his craft. As a result, he has been approached by plenty of new liquor companies, but none have come close to the exacting standards and quality of Gothic Gin.
One of his first tasks was to work with Chris to come up with a few great Gothic serves. “It’s a process that has involved a lot of trial and error,” Jared says. “We are always refining our drinks and we want to add some signature cocktails that no one else has. The addition of eucalyptus as one of the key botanicals is something that really sets us apart, and I wanted to make sure we gave it a chance to stand out.” JA ROD ROL L
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45ML GOTHIC GIN 3 FRESH CUCUMBER SLICES, DICED 2 FRESH GINGER SLICES 30ML LIME JUICE 15ML AGAVE SYRUP 2 FRESH JALAPENO SLICES EXTRA CUCUMBER AND JALAPEÑO, TO GARNISH
1. Strongly muddle cucumber and ginger in a cocktail shaker. 2. Add jalapeño and lightly muddle depending on ripeness (if the jalapeño is extremely ripe, extra muddling will make the cocktail too spicy). 3. Fill shaker with ice and pour over gin, lime juice and agave syrup.
4. Shake to combine (about 8–10 shakes). 5. To serve, roll the rim of an Old Fashioned glass in salt and add fresh ice. 6. Strain cocktail over the fresh ice. If the drink doesn’t reach the top of the glass, add a little extra lime juice. 7. Garnish with cucumber and jalapeño.
For this reason, the Gothic Kiss is made with fresh jalapeño chilli and ginger, while the Gargoyle is a gin-based take on the mojito – with diced cucumber adding an extra-refreshing element.
Despite its flexibility in cocktails, Jared says Gothic is a great ‘straight up’ gin. “You can make cocktails with a whole range of ingredients, but what really matters is the spirit within them.
45ML GOTHIC GIN 4 FRESH CUCUMBER SLICES, DICED 4–5 FRESH MINT LEAVES 50ML SWEETAND-SOUR MIX SPLASH OF LEMONADE EXTRA MINT, TO GARNISH
1. Muddle cucumber and mint in cocktail shaker. 2. Fill shaker with ice, pour over gin and sweet-and-sour mix. Shake to combine. 3. Pour into a Collins glass and top up with lemonade. Garnish with a few mint leaves.
TIP: If you don’t like your cocktails so sweet, use half lemonade and half soda water. And if you don’t have access to sweet-and-sour mix, use 30mL lime juice and 20mL simple syrup.
That’s why I like to taste Gothic neat or in a classic martini.” As the gin continues to gain recognition across the world and through industry competitions, Jared is looking forward to being involved.
“We have so many new drinks and new ideas that we want to try,” he says. “I’ll be getting involved as much as I can, because I believe in the product and I believe in Chris.”
THE REVIEW Each issue, a Gin Society expert reviews our featured spirit. This month itâ€™s Leon Dalloway of Gin Journey.
LEONâ€™S TASTING NOTES
Whack! The lampong black peppercorns arrive on the nose with that juniper that makes this a gin to get excited about. When it drops on the palette, the eucalyptus gives you that menthol which is going to
work well in a G&T garnished with some fresh herbs. The citrus is subtle yet apparent. This gin is definitely a G&T gin, Iâ€™m mixing it with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water and garnishing with a rosemary sprig.
n more of ou o s d n a h r r Get you
g ins c i t s a fant From Barcelona’s stunning Le Tribute and the extra fine Juno from Mt Taranaki, to Singapore’s spicy Tanglin and the extraordinary London to Lima.
All are available to purchase on our website
VISIT WWW.GINSOCIETY.COM 42