For the Long Now Salon project artisan distillers St George Spirits helped us create a pair of distinctive spirits inspired by long-term thinking. Our gin features juniper berries we harvested from the peaks of our property on Mount Washington in eastern Nevada. In this video Lance Winters, St. George’s Master Distiller, extolls the myriad flavors that our juniper brings to the gin. Here, he and distiller Dave Smith are in the middle of preparing the berries for exposure to the vapors of the nascent gin.
Juniperus communis grows wild in sprawling, low bushes at a height of about 10,000 feet on our Nevada land, interwoven with multi-thousand year old bristlecone pines. The “berries” are not technically fruit but tiny pine cones. From Wikipedia:
The female seed cones are very distinctive, with fleshy, fruit-like coalescing scales which fuse together to form a “berry”-like structure, 4–27 mm long, with 1-12 unwinged, hard-shelled seeds. In some species these “berries” are red-brown or orange but in most they are blue; they are often aromatic and can be used as a spice.
Juniper is the key aromatic ingredient in gin, from which its name derives. Lance tasted a sample of our berries and said we had something special. Taste characteristics that Lance mentions include huckleberry, tart blueberry, pine resin, hops aromatics, chocolate, and Chinese long pepper. You can imagine our excitement at having impressed Lance’s experienced and discerning palate.
We gathered juniper by hand in Nevada while Lance assembled a recipe of botanicals including coriander and cedar that complement the berries and results in a gin we are proud to pair with the launch of our new space. The Salon is designed to be a social hub that fosters long-term thinking and inspires conversation. Remarkable spirits, in every sense, are required.
St George Spirits are famous for their eaux de vies, vodkas, gins, whiskeys and other hand-crafted spirits. Their delicious, inventive products come from a scientific and artistic approach to distillation. They marry cutting edge techniques with an extensive knowledge of the centuries old tradition of distilling eaux de vies. And like the best artists and scientists, they are always up for a new challenge.
It is auspicious that we launch this project as St George reaches an impressive anniversary:
When Jörg Rupf founded St. George Spirits in 01982, he was a lone wolf making elegant eaux de vie in a wine cooler world. In those days absinthe was illegal, craft-produced American gins were unheard of, and there was no such thing as an American single malt whiskey.
We want to congratulate everyone at St George Spirits as they celebrate 30 years in business. To think they’ve accomplished so much and aren’t even a century old.
Our collaboration with them has been fun, inspiring and educational. Their care and expertise helps make our Salon and Founder’s Club bottle keep truly special. Their headquarters is close by to us in Alameda, California and they are open for tours and tastings.
See more videos on The Long Now Foundation Vimeo page.