Celebrate World Gin Day With Spirits That Reflect Their Wild Origins

Food & Drink

Although misunderstood by many — according to Statista.com, it is one of the least popular spirits in the U.S. based on total sales volume — gin is still beloved among fans of cocktails like the classic gin and tonic, and don’t forget that martinis were originally made with gin. With unique gins expressing flavors endemic to the countries in which they are made, the rise of provenance gins is something to celebrate.

“It is exciting to see gins of provenance on the rise,” says Adhel Martinez, brand ambassador of Las Californias Gin, a range of gins crafted with botanicals sourced from the United States and Mexico which tell the story of both the land and the people of Alta California and Baja California. “Although gin as we know it has been around for a very long time, the category continues to evolve and innovate to attract a new category of gin drinkers and seeking to transport you to a specific time and place through each sip.”

Here are a few newer entries from places near and far that celebrate their origins by using endemic ingredients, and a couple of cocktails for good measure.

Stray Dog Wild Gin

Stray Dog Wild Gin is one of the world’s first Greek gins, created by co-founders Johnny Livanos, a third-generation hospitality business owner, and his wife, spirits maverick Adriana Soley Livanos. This savory, smooth spirit is flavored with wild foraged mountain sage, bay leaf, rosemary, fennel seed, Mastiha, cardamom, coriander, juniper, lemon and orange. It’s made from mountain spring water sourced near its distillery in Aridaia, a picturesque area of northern Greece.

Designed to complement Mediterranean cuisine, Stray Dog shines on its own or in minimalist cocktails. The gin is available around the world, including in 25 states in the U.S. Since the Livanos are passionate supporters of animal welfare, Stray Dog Wild Gin donates a portion of their sales to Save a Greek Stray, a Greek animal shelter that provides food, veterinary care and homes for stray animals.

Mr. Pickles Pacific Northwest Gin

Oregon’s Wolf Spirit distillery launched Mr. Pickles Pacific Northwest Gin earlier this year. Named after master distiller Ben Green’s rescue pup, Mr. Pickles is a smooth, premium gin that reflects the personality of its namesake – nice, mellow, and a friend to everyone.

Using 100% white winter wheat, mono-sourced just down the road at the Camas Country Mill, the spirit is triple distilled, with the final distillation incorporating a vapor basket to introduce 11 botanicals that include sencha green tea, pink peppercorns, and marshmallow root. Mr. Pickles gin reveals its earthy forest flavors either served neat or in a dry Martini, but it also plays well with others, just like the friendly pit bull that inspired it.

Spikes, Petals and Pawprints

This cocktail was created by New Mexico mixologist Natalie Bovis.

  • 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves
  • 1 – 2 strawberries, halved
  • 1 ½ ounces Mr. Pickles Gin
  • ¾ ounce elderflower liqueur
  • ¾ ounce lemon juice
  • ½ ounce amaro

Garnish: a strawberry skewered with rosemary sprig, and a spritz of rosewater

Muddle rosemary and strawberry in bottom of cocktail shaker. Add other ingredients and shake well with ice. Strain into cocktail coupe, or over a large ice cube in a rocks glass. Lay strawberry skewered on rosemary sprig across glass rim and spritz with rosewater.

Gracias a Dios Agave Gin

Gracias a Dios produces handmade, ultra-premium quality mezcal and agave gin, made from espadin agaves in Oaxaca, Mexico. A 100% Mexican-owned company, Gracias a Dios values its people and the environment, employing eco-friendly practices that include water conservation, solar energy, and recyclable materials, and proudly offers fair wages to the local employees.

Their triple distilled agave gin using eight local ingredients — juniper, orange peel, lemon peel, cacao and coffee toasted seeds, eucalyptus leaves, rosemary, and prickly pear peels — that are macerated with the agave spirit during the second distillation. They offer three expressions: Receta Oaxaqueña, Old Tom, and 32 Botánicos, which includes 32 botanicals representing all 32 states in Mexico.

Lighthouse Gin

Named for New Zealand’s famous Cape Palliser Lighthouse, Lighthouse Gin is an homage to its unique provenance. This New World gin ia crafted by the country’s first female head distiller, Rachel Hall. Made from high-quality Australian grain combined with pure spring water that filters down from Remutaka Ranges, 80-proof Lighthouse Gin features nine hand-selected botanicals, including the star of the show, hand-zested Yen Ben Lemons.

Employing a personal, hands-on approach, Hall drives her 2018 Toyota Hilux pickup more than 30 miles each way to collect the natural spring water herself – a task she heartily enjoys.

Recognized as a true, non-hybrid lemon and among the most widely planted citrus in New Zealand, the Yen Ben Lemon originated in Queensland, Australia and migrated to New Zealand in the 1930s. A hardy citrus variety, the Yen Ben has a strong lemon flavor and high acidity. Other botanicals include navel oranges, coriander seeds, almond, cassia bark, cinnamon quills, juniper, licorice root, and orris root.

Kiwi Dreams

1.5 ounces Lighthouse Gin

2 ounces sparkling wine

.5 ounce Aperol

2 to 3 strawberries

1 tablespoon peeled and diced kiwi

Pour sparkling wine into a cocktail glass. Set aside. Muddle strawberries and kiwi in a shaker tin. Add Lighthouse Gin and Aperol. Shake with ice. Strain into a coupe or Martini glass and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with kiwi slices.

Revivalist Garden Gin

Revivalist Garden Gin is a new, sustainably produced spirit designed by gin connoisseur and acclaimed mixologist Brendan Bartley. Infused with unique botanicals and marrying sustainable distilling methods and ethnobotanical traditions, Revivalist produces an exceptionally balanced botanical forward spirit with soft, subtle notes. It’s perfect for summer sipping in garden-inspired cocktails

Featuring botanicals curated from around the world and locally grown in Pennsylvania, each plant is specifically selected for its ethnobotanical roots – the practice of using plants for functional, spiritual and culinary purposes.

Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin

Infused with wild plants from the Wicklow Mountains around the distillery in Ireland, Glendalough Wild Botanical Gin uses sustainably picked plants, hand foraged by full time forager Geraldine Kavanagh, which go fresh — not dried —into the still within hours of foraging.

Slow-distilled to tease out delicate flavors in tiny batches, the cut-points are decided batch by batch, by smell and taste (never timed or automated), putting this multi award-winning gin on a whole new level of flavor. The knowledge, experience and effort that goes into each bottle, embossed with images of the foraged plants, is what makes it so special.

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