It's April! Flowers are blooming, trees are budding, birds and bees are doing...what birds and bees normally do: it's a great month! However, besides Easter and Passover, there are few holidays this month so finding a theme for a blog post can be a bit difficult.
Fortunately, one dragon-slaying saint has his name day this month. Furthermore, he inspired the name for a distillery in the Bay Area. So with this post I honor St. George's Day (April 23) with a look at St. George Spirits and their finely-crafted products.
St. George Spirits was named "#1 Craft Distiller" in 2014 by Thrillist. Yet in 1982, decades before the recent wave of craft distilling began, Jörg Rupf founded St. George Spirits. With distilling in his blood, he brought Old-World distilling methods from Germany to the Bay Area and began making eaux-de-vie using California-grown fruits.
Eau-de-vie is a type of brandy that is made from fruits other than* grapes. Sold as Aqua Perfecta, the Poire (pear) and Framboise (raspberry) eaux-de-vie are available at Premier Wine & Spirits. Both are excellent examples of this type of fruit brandy, beautifully capturing the essences of the fruits used to make these distillates.
If "Old World" eau-de-vie is not your style, St. George also blends a bourbon: Breaking & Entering. While this straight bourbon is produced and aged in Kentucky, St. George blends it into a sweet-smelling bourbon with notes of caramel, banana, and cinnamon (think Bananas Foster).
St. George also provides a line of superb gins, each one offering something a little different for each palate. Botanivore is the closest to your classic, dry gin but with the juniper “dialed back” some, allowing the other 18 botanicals and herbs to bring some complexity to your cocktail. Dry Rye is a 100% rye-based gin that, along with the other botanicals, gives a light and citrusy taste with just a hint of spice too. Terroir (my favorite) uses Douglas Fir, sage, and other West-Coast botancials to give this gin a "sense of place" (hence the name, terroir). All three gins are available at Premier Wine & Spirits in Amherst, NY.
For the adventurous, St. George even has an Absinthe, too. The multitude of herbs and botanicals used in the absinthe give it a touch more complexity beyond the normally over-powering flavor of anise found in most other absinthes. This one has a particularly delicate lemon finish and is also available at Premier Wine & Spirits in Amherst, NY.
While these spirits may have nothing to do with St. George's name day, I highly recommend checking them out this week (or any other week, for that matter).
*The exception being grappa which is distilled from grape marc/pomace –the by-products of wine making (skins, pulp etc.)