Upstart Los Angeles-based distillery The Spirit Guild crafted a gin that came out almost too delicious. The clementine foundation never overpowers, allowing the rest of the botanicals to shine through and each remain refined in their own right. But the overall combination of citrus, pink peppercorns, juniper, and pistachio—though proudly sourced locally—does result in a gin that’s not right for martinis and almost too sweet for a gin and tonic.
Gin and tonics, meanwhile, tend to lean towards sweetness on their own. For gin snobs, pairing the liquor with soda water and lemon better highlights the herbaceous alcohol while simultaneously negating the chances of headaches (though malaria prevention does come into play, here). Astral Pacific Gin topped with Perrier and a lemon wedge gets pretty close to perfection.
But here at Spirited, we’re not interested in “pretty close” when it comes to drinking. “Only the finest or nothing at all” is our kind of mantra. In that spirit (sorry), Astral Pacific cried out for, deserved, and received a more complex concoction for a hot, muggy summer in newly tropical Los Angeles.
Adding a hint of fennel’s bitterness and licorice, plus the piney menthol of rosemary, brings out everything that makes Astral Pacific Gin just a bit too aggressive on its own. Float it all over in a big bath tub over plenty of ice and this drinks perfectly pairs with an afternoon on the deck, waiting for the Pacific Ocean breeze to finally break the heat.
1.5 oz Astral Pacific Gin
½ oz Fennel Syrup
Soda Water (preferably Perrier)
Rosemary Sprig for garnish
Squeeze of Lemon (and for garnish)
Mix the gin and fennel syrup with ice in a shaker. Strain over a wide glass topped up with crushed ice or many small cubes. Top with soda water, then a squeeze of lemon, and garnish with the rosemary sprig and a slice of lemon.