Los Angeles, California based Spirit Guild creates atypical spirits. For example, their Star Keeper Gin begins from a base of distilled citrus fruits.
California grown Clementines are juiced, fermented and distilled. Their Vapid Vodka is available and showcases the unusual base spirit’s character. It’s not entirely neutral, and it forms an interesting base for the gin.
Vapid Vodka tasting notes: Nose is bright and slightly fruity/grassy, reminiscent of a spirit distilled from cane. Soft texture with hints of vanilla. Especially on the finish, reminiscent of red winter wheat.
However, Spirit Guild Distillery continues to build on it with another novel ingredient not seen in any other gin (as of writing). Star Keeper gin uses two kinds of juniper: Juniperus communis and Juniperus californica. A slow growing juniper, native to the hills of Southern California and Mexico, its berries figured prominently in the cuisines of the region’s Ohlone People.
Aroma: Sagey, with woody juniper, amber facets, peppercorn and orange. It’s a beautiful nose, slightly reminiscent of a perfume.
Flavor: Camphor and sage hits nearly immediately as it hits the tongue. Quickly, piquant, slightly warm pink peppercorn emerges as a counterpoint. Woody, green juniper with pine notes, peaky coriander and white grapefruit pith.
Finish: Long, warm, and faintly nutty with pleasant echoes of spice.
While some of the gin’s best facets aren’t on display, it works well in a Negroni, with its juniper, sage and especially peppercorn coming through.
Finally, it’s a good mixer— especially in drinks where the gin’s flavor is front and center. Think, gin and soda or gin and sparkling lemonade.
Overall, Star Keeper Gin
Exciting and distinctive, Star Keeper Gin is a beautiful example of how unusual ingredients (base and botanical) can be combined to create something quite remarkable. It’s easily one of the most fun gins I’ve discovered in 2021— and one of the best.