Golf, Gin, and Mad Men with St. George Spirits

Changing what we drink…on the 19th hole.

The television show Mad Men, is changing the way we drink. Madman and Evil Genius, Lance Winters, is changing what we drink. For my first installment on Lance, I will introduce you to his St. George Gins. With the 2012 PGA TOUR Championship taking place at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta this week, golf and gin…it’s the appropriate tipple.


Originating in the Netherlands during the 17th century, Gin was first sold in pharmacies as a medicine to calm stomach problems. Eventually in 1688 King William III introduced Gin to England. English Gin became very popular after 1690. Rum was given to British sailors as part of their daily ration. The officers did not want the same beverage as the lower ranks. Officers were now provided Gin which gained popularity and spread throughout the officers’ clubs and golf clubs. In the first ever printed bartenders guide, ‘The Bon-Vivants companion, 1862′, Gin is prominently featured in cocktails that are enjoyed today.


Lance Winters, Master Distiller and proprietor of St. George Spirits may have enjoyed Gin when in port as a nuclear engineer aboard a Navy aircraft carrier. What I do know is that having the great pleasure of spending time with Lance and his wife Ellie, is how they embrace what they do with a passionate energy. I was intrigued to learn that Lance draws inspiration for his spirits from everyday living. He is not a mad scientist making what doesn’t exist; he goes mad expressing what he has found existing. Lance approaches distilling like making fine perfume; the perfect scent will lead him to the perfect flavor. In his own words from the St. George website, he describes St. George Terroir Gin:
Terroir Gin is our ode to the wild beauty of the Golden State. Distiller Lance Winters has a passion for exploring place and memory through distillation, and the aromas of the coastal forests on California’s Mount Tam were what inspired him to start making gin in the first place. Terroir Gin has an intense earthy, woodsy nose and flavor derived from Douglas fir, California bay laurel, and California coastal sage—complemented by bright, citrusy top notes. This is a unique and proudly Californian gin with a sense of place and poetry.

Botanivore Gin (our “botanical eater”) earned its name because it’s loaded with botanical ingredients. We distilled 19 different botanicals to compose this spirit (no small feat!) and the resulting gin is beautifully balanced and vibrant. Lance compares this gin to an orchestra where all the components are working in harmony. Deliciously herbaceous and bright, Botanivore is a versatile addition to any gin cocktail.

Dry Rye Gin has twice as much juniper in its recipe as either of the other two St. George gins, and a base of pot-distilled rye that provides structure and spice. Warm bass notes of pepper and caraway give Dry Rye Gin an intriguing depth of flavor, while the rye provides a sweet maltiness reminiscent of a genever. Try our Dry Rye Gin in your favorite cocktails that call for either gin or rye—or sip it straight for a gin experience like no other.
Which Gin should you use for your Gin & Tonic while on the links, at the 19th Hole or putting around at home? That is entirely up to you. Seeking a Gin Cocktail with a history? I suggest you take a recommendation from an associate of mine, Thirsty South. Cheers!
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Gregg Jarahian is a Atlanta-based Marketing and Social Media professional. He’s fond of libations, tasty food and friends to share them both with. Follow him @Greggarious1.
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