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A Gin that Tastes Like a Hike on Mount Tamalpais

Have you ever wanted to call bullshit when people say they can “taste the terroir” or felt like a dunce for your inability to distinguish “chalky soil” from regular old tannins? Get your hands on St. George Spirits’ Terroir gin to loosen your tongue and prime your palate—friends, this is terroir you can actually taste.

Absinthe connoisseurs have been privy to the brand since 2007. But in the past 14 years, owner and master distiller Lance Winters has been on a subtler (but no less audacious) mission to redefine our expectations for drinking gin. Winters is a disarming provocateur whose constant humor belies a hawkish focus on quality and innovation. With each artisanal spirit, he aims to “exceed your imagination,” he says. In gin, Winters delivers the anticipated juniper and supporting botanicals but flips the rest on its head.

Inspired by a visit to his son’s summer camp six years ago, Winters set out to create a gin that captures the essence of a Northern California pine forest. He and blender/distiller Dave Smith tried every variety of pine—including Winters’ Christmas tree—they could find within a day’s drive of the distillery. The results tasted of soap and Pine-Sol, save for the elixir brewed from Douglas fir found in the foothills of Mt. Tam. Aromas of honey and pineapple are as prominent as evergreen is in the raw needles—traits that come through in the finished spirit. At bottling time, Winters and Smith combine three different blends into an expression of a forest that is so right on, it could make the bear on the label homesick.

This article was published in 7x7's March issue. Click here to subscribe.