Our very own David T. Smith drops some knowledge bombshells about the brand new Alamedapocalypse Gin...
At times of unease, when tyrants have their "finger on the button", some in the world look to a small island in San Francisco Bay for hope. There, they find two distinguished distillers and one gin to help them survive the apocalypse. Help us, St. George - you're our only hope!
St. George Spirits, now located on a decommissioned US Naval Base on Alameda, was founded by Jörg Rupf in 1982 and was the pioneer in the renaissance of American Craft Distilling. Jörg began by distilling fruit brandies (eaux de vies), combining the techniques of the old world with the raw material of the new. In 1996, Lance Winters, who had previously worked as a brewer (and a nuclear scientist), joined the distillery and, in 2005, he was joined by Dave Smith (great name!).
Jörg retired in 2010 and Lance became the Master Distiller, with Dave filling the role of Head Distiller. The following year, things got really interesting with the distillery launching a range of three gins:
St George Terroir Gin
A gin designed to capture the taste and aromas of the Pacific coastal forest in California. Its botanicals include: douglas fir, bay laurel and coastal sage. This is a bright, green and piney gin that simply sparkles in the glass.
St George Botanivore Gin
What is a botanivore? Well, if a carnivore eats meat and a herbivore eats plants, then a botanicare must eat... botanicals! This complex and engaging gin is made using 19 different botanicals, including bergamot, dill, fennel, ginger and citra hops.
St George Dry Rye Gin
Many gins are made using a base spirit produced from grain; wheat is particularly popular in Europe, whilst distilleries in the USA and Canada often use corn. For their Dry Rye Gin, St. George decided to use a base spirit made from rye, which is usually reserved for making whisky and the bread for pastrami sandwiches. It’s a great example of how much character a base spirit can add to a gin and is really used as a botanical in it own right, join others including juniper, black pepper, caraway, coriander, grapefruit and lime peel.
In addition to these gins, the distillery also makes a range of other spirits including vodka and botanical vodkas, rums, whisky, absinthe, brandies and liqueurs.
That Boutique-y Gin Company Alamedapocalypse Gin is distilled in a 1,500 litre copper pot still using a combination of pot distillation and vapour distillation: some of the botanicals are placed directly into the pot, whereas others are placed in a botanical basket held above. As alcohol vapour from the still passes through the botanicals in the basket, it picks up their flavours and aromas. As these botanicals are not directly exposed to the heat of the main pot, the characteristics that are extracted are more delicate and nuanced.
Alamedapocalypse is made using botanicals that include juniper berries, angelica, and coriander. The addition of bay laurel and coriander leaf give the gin a green leafiness, whilst cinnamon and anise add a spiciness. Finally, a medley of citrus is included to give the gin an extra “zip” of liveliness.
Nose: Bright and booming. Grassy pine, bay leaf and aromatic cilantro.
Taste: Thick, mouth-coating texture, with notes of honey, Indian spice and a touch of hot chocolate.
Finish: Black pepper with notes of black tea, lime and a lingering note of ginger spice.
Overall: A complex gin - fresh and green with a touch of Eastern spice.
The label shows a post-apocalyptic Alameda Island, the city of San Francisco smouldering in the far background. Closer to our heroes, one of three hangers has just been taken out by an atomic bomb, resulting in an explosive mushroom cloud; thankfully, hangers 2 and 3 remain intact. Dave and Lance, who have evidently become some sort of monk warrior knights, are battling an anthropomorphic - and probably radioactive - shark.
Albert Einstein famously said, “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought.”, but in this version of a dystopian future, Dave uses a kyber-crystal fuelled cowbell, whilst Lance prefers to rely on his street-fighter skills.
50ml Alamedapocalypse Gin
10ml dry vermouth
Add ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir vigorously (for at least 20-30 seconds). Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass.
The coriander leaf (cilantro) notes from the gin really come through in a Martini, adding floral, leafy notes with a hint of citrus. A dash of cracked black pepper sprinkled over the top is a wonderful garnish.
Three Minutes to Midnight
50ml Alamedapocalypse Gin
15ml lemongrass and ginger gordial
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into an ice-filled tumbler. Top up with around 150ml of sparkling water. Garnish with lemon peel or, for a touch of class, a piece of lemongrass.
A flavoursome and complex drink full of exotic, fruity flavours; in particular, the lemongrass and cilantro, followed by a warm tingle of black pepper and ginger. Spicy, yet refreshing, this would make a lovely accompaniment to a Thai curry.