There is no other sense that can transport us as quickly as scent--a quick whiff of an old flame's trademark perfume, or the chalkboard smell of a classroom has the power to abruptly flood our brain with memories and feelings.
The smell of spirits can bring back the sickening feeling of college parties and overindulgence, but distiller Lance Winters at St. George Spirits is trying to remind you of something different with a trio of new gins: a walk in the woods.
"What drew me into making gin was the idea of exploring terroir through spirits," says Winters, whose Mt. Tam edition of St. George Terroir Gin includes Juniper Ridge locally harvested juniper berries, wild Douglas fir harvested by Winters in Marin, California bay laurel, and coastal sage. Of the three, this was our favorite, with a complexity of smells and tastes that perfectly captures a stroll through the redwood groves.
The other two gins clearly share that same inspiration, although each finds its own focus. The Botanivore is the most classic with the broadest blend of botanicals including bergamot peel, dill, star anise, celery seed, and fresh cilantro, making it the most tonic and classic cocktail-friendly. The Dry Rye Gin has pear and floral aromas, but with a deep maltyness from the pot-distilled rye grain spirit base that makes it bartender Scott Beattie's choice for negronis.
The gins, all 45% alcohol by volume and $36 for 750ml or $12 for200ml bottles, should be showing up in bars, stores and the distillery's tasting room later this week. A hike in the woods has never been easier.
St. George Spirits, 2601 Monarch (at Midway) Alameda, 510-864-0635