Can American juniper berriers give gin terroir?
Gin tastes like juniper, and all juniper is the same, right? Not so much... “Among producers in the gin world, juniper provenance is becoming an increasingly important thing to consider," says Matt Strickland, head distiller at Washington, D.C.'s District Distilling Co., a distillery, bar and restaurant. As with the types of grapes used for wine making in different regions of the world, juniper can also reflect a sense of place.
Does a Biologist Forage Juniper for Your Gin?
A DC distillery that has created their craft gin program around native botanicals from Texas? Yes, that would be District Distilling on the corner of 14th and U Streets NW. Unique in the gin industry? Yes, again. "99% of gins are made from the common juniper which is harvested in Europe," explains District Distilling's co-owner Molly Cummings, who also happens to be a biology professor at the University of Texas and Forager-in-chief for District Distilling. She emphasizes to us, "Really, no other distillery is foraging at this level. We've made a pretty intense commitment to harvesting U.S. juniper, so it's likely we'll keep standing out in the in the spirits industry."
District Distilling Co.’s New Gin Embraces the Forager Trend
Chefs foraging for ingredients has become commonplace, especially during ramp season. It’s much rarer for distillers to collect materials in the wild, which is what makes District Distilling Co.‘s new spirit so intriguing.
6 New and Unusual Gins
Made in Washington, D.C., at the city’s first combination distillery-bar-kitchen, this gin uses two kinds of juniper, including a wild red-berry variety foraged from the West Texas Mountains. They get distilled with other botanicals—everything from orange and lemon peels to hops and orris root—along with their house-fermented and -distilled rye vodka to evoke a bit of the mid-Atlantic with a dash of Texas, says head distiller Matt Strickland. The result is a spirit that’s bold, complex, subtle and seductive.