Oh Snap! A Snap Pea & Sunday Gin Sour

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New cocktail menu tastings are DEFINITELY in the top five when it comes to things I get to do for my “job” at You & Yours Distilling Co. and our most recent spring menu tasting did not disappoint. In fact, I think this Snap Pea Sunday Gin Sour, the “Oh Snap!,” by our tasting room manager, April, might be one of my favorite cocktails ever presented at Y&Y.

Fresh juiced snap peas lend a gentle but invigorating jolt of grassiness that compliments our bright and citrusy Sunday Gin just flawlessly. And the frothiness from the egg white and bit of complexity from a dash or two of peach bitters and fresh mint send it totally over the top. I think it might even be the new Bunny Foo Foo! 😉#ifyouknowyouknow… keep scrolling for the recipe or better yet, sign up for one of our March Cocktail Classes to learn how to make it from April herself!

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Oh Snap! Makes 1 cocktail.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Sunday Gin
  • 1.5 oz snap pea + honey mix (see recipe below)
  • .75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 dashes peach bitters
  • 1 small sprig of mint
  • 1 egg white, separated

Directions:

Add all ingredients (tear mint before adding) to a cocktail shaker WITHOUT ICE and dry shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds. The longer you shake, the frothier the cocktail will be. Then add ice and shake a second time. Double strain directly into a short rocks glass and garnish with a single snap pea.

Snap pea + honey mix: Combine two parts fresh juiced snap peas with one part honey simple syrup (1:1 honey to water, heated gently until fully dissolved). Keep mix refrigerated.

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2019 Travel Plans & Bucket List

I had so much fun writing last year’s post around this time last year so I thought I’d share this year’s travel plans too. If you’ve been to any of the locations, or are planning trips of your own, please share your recs!

Distillerista-2019-Travel-Plans{ luggage essentials: Senreve Maestra bag in noir, Away The Bigger Carry On in navy, Longchamp Overnighter in gunmetal and a Scottish Fold stowaway 😉 }

Spring…

  • March – We’re contemplating a quick snow trip before its too late in the season – thinking of meeting some friends in Park City, UT mid-March. TBD, but I hope we can swing it!
  • April – The trip I’m MOST excited for this year is definitely when we head back to The Bahamas in mid-April. The Bahamas are so special to us for tons of reasons – I’ve been traveling there with my family for twenty+ years, it was the first vacation Luke came on with me and my family when we officially started dating, it’s where we got engaged, spent my birthday and it’s where we’ll be getting married next year! I can’t wait to head back to do a bit of wedding planning and a looooot of relaxing.
  • May – We’ve been promising to take my mom to Santa Barbara for YEARS so this Mothers’ day (which always falls on or around her birthday) I think we’re finally going to pull the trigger! It’s one of our all-time favorite spots to travel to for a long weekend – see my past trip recaps here and here.

Summer…

  • June –  SO excited for this… we’re headed to Europe! I haven’t been back in almost 5 years, which feels a little crazy. And I’m doubly excited as we’re doing something a little different this time, a rail trip through Scandinavia! We’ll be starting in Denmark, making our way through Olso and the fjords of Norway before ending the trip in Sweden. Then to top it off we’ll hit London on our way home to catch up with some friends and spend a few days in my very favorite city!
  • July – Hopefully making time for a trip to NYC with girlfriends to scope out my wedding dress. (!!!)

Fall…

  • October – Can’t wait to celebrate Luke’s 35th birthday (he’s a Halloween baby) in JAPAN for the Rugby World Cup! I can’t imagine a better collision of Luke’s favorite things – rugby, travel, yakitori, lollll …the list goes on. And perhaps a quick couple of nights in Hong Kong before we head home as well – it’s been at the top of his bucket list for ages.

Winter…

  • No plans beyond the fall just yet, but since we spent the Holidays down under last year, I’m looking forward to nice quiet holidays at home this year.

And not that the year is leaving us much room for additional travel, hah, but here’s a short list of where I’d like to go this year if we get the chance!

  • New England – Been dying to take a fall road trip through NE for years now, especially since we have dear friends in both Massachusetts and Rhode Island and I have family in Maine… Maybe this will be the year!
  • Montana – Cough, cough @Luke. Montana is at the top of my list and as such, I’ve been promised a trip for quite a while now. I think it’s high time he paid up, don’t you?!
  • Canada – I have only been once, to Victoria a loooong time ago, and there are so many parts of the country I’d still love to explore.
  • Oaxaca – high, high on our list. Perhaps we can tack it on to a return trip to Mexico City! One of our favorites.

What about you, where are you traveling this year?!

Review of the Week! Vol. 2: El Jardin’s El Conquistador G&T

Welcome back to a new series here on Distillerista! Each week I’ll be sharing a shorter format post reviewing one thing I tried over the previous week. It may be a cocktail, a non-alcoholic drink, a product, a spirit, or a recipe. Just a little something I enjoyed and wanted to share so you can too!

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This week is the first of what is sure to be many in a category of these reviews: a You & Yours Distilling Co. cocktail menu placement featuring one of our spirits! This week it’s a gorgeous Spanish-style Gin & Tonic featuring our Winter Gin, AKA my version of a London Dry style of gin.

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The ‘El Conquistador‘ at El Jardin in Liberty Station is everything a Gin & Tonic should be: gorgeous to the eye, intoxicating to the nose and perfectly bright and balanced on the palate. Complimenting our Winter Gin is Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water, then it’s all garnished with aromatic orange zest, eye-catching star anise pods and lemon balm and fennel fronds from the Chef’s own garden. As delicious as it is beautiful! Be sure to get to El Jardin to try one quick, as Bev Director Eliza and her team are about to overhaul the cocktail menu for spring and a new Sunday Gin cocktail will be taking the Conquistador’s place!

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Cheers! And be sure to check out last week’s Review, a gorgeously creamy “Dirty” Ginger Turmeric Cappuccino.

Styles of Gin 101

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Ever wondered what the difference is between Gin & Genever? Or thought to yourself, “What the hell is Old Tom Gin?” Well, I’m here to help! Here are my ultimate Cliff Notes on the five most popular styles of gin you’ll find out in the wild. 

Genever – The original gin, or more accurately, the spirit modern-day gin was born from. Less dry and spicy, with a lighter botanical profile than London Dry. Also not as clean or sharp as London Dry. Usually distilled from grain, specifically malt, so it has a more robust, cereal-like foundation. Often combined with neutral grain spirit to balance and infused with herbs and spices, including juniper. Kind of like a gin, but not quite. You can find all kinds of Genevers, some unaged, some aged for months, up to several years. 

London Dry – This is your traditional, modern-day standard for gin. 98% of the time, when people think gin, they’re thinking of a London Dry style gin. London Drys are juniper forward, piney, usually slightly spicy, very dry, and often have anise or licorice notes. They’re clean and sharp on the pallet and can have quite overwhelming flavor profiles. This is what makes gin such a great cocktail ingredient, as their punctuated flavor profiles can hold up to other bold flavors.

Old Tom A hybrid between Genever and a London Dry and my favorite style! Will often be distilled from a grain base in lieu of neutral spirit, like Genever, to give it that maltiness, but given a robust botanical profile more like that of a London Dry. Very often either A. barrel aged and/or B. post-sweetened. 

American- / Western-style – Both of these terms are kind of a catch-all for any gin that’s not necessarily juniper-forward. The Beverage Alcohol Manual (a federally distributed document and every distiller’s bible) simply states that a gin is any spirit predominately flavored with juniper, so as you can tell, this give distillers enormous creative freedom when creating a gin. These terms can describe floral gins, citrus gins, spicy gins, infused gins, or any gin that uses a lighter hand when it comes to juniper berries.

Sloe Gin – A gin or gin liqueur that’s usually lower in ABV and characterized by the flavor of sloe berries. Most often the product of a post-distillation maceration of sloe berries and some sort of post-sweetening to tame the tartness of the sloe berry. Lovely warmed up a fire!

Review of the Week! Vol. 1

Welcome to a new series here on Distillerista! Each week I’ll be sharing a shorter format post reviewing one thing I tried over the previous week. It may be a cocktail, a non-alcoholic drink, a product, a spirit, or a recipe. Just a little something I enjoyed and want to share so you can too!

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This week I’m sharing a non-alcoholic bevvy! I’m trying to cut back my caffeine consumption to one coffee a day and since I typically always have a morning coffee at home, I’m always looking for interesting non-coffee based lattes or specialty tea drinks when I’m out and about at a coffee shop. This past weekend after perusing our local farmers’ market, it was a bit chilly out and we were feeling a nice warm coffee before heading home.

We ducked into Frost Me Gourmet, a relatively new little cafe and bistro in our neighborhood and I immediately lit up when I saw the ginger turmeric cappuccino! It’s essentially a warm infused almond milk beverage that can be served “dirty,” if you prefer, that is with a shot of espresso. I opted for dirty but with a decaf shot and it was delicious! Perfectly frothy and creamy (as almond milk sometimes has trouble with), with just the perfect amount of earthy and warming spice from the ginger and turmeric. Just the thing for a chilly winter morning!

Negative Calories: The Celery Cocktail You NEED in Your Life this January

We recently did a staff Q&A for our weekly feature series on the You & Yours Instagram and one of the questions asked what “What is your favorite cocktail from the Winter Menu?” Mine is hands down the Negative Calories. Technically a carry over from our fall menu (it’s that good!), the name ‘Negative Calories’ is a play on celery’s guilt-free nature and although the cocktail may not actually be calorically negative, it is just about as healthy as a cocktail can get. It’s fresh, herbaceous, a touch savory, and incredibly, incredibly invigorating! If you haven’t tried one yet, I suggest you make your way to the tasting room immediately. Not local to San Diego? Recipe below!

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Negative Calories. Makes 1 drink.
Ingredients: 
  • pinch sea salt
  • large torn basil leaf
  • 3 dashes orange bitters
  • .75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 oz celery syrup (2:1 – fresh celery juice : simple syrup)
  • 1.5 oz Winter Gin

Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a shaker and shake all ingredients until very cold. Double strain into a stemless wine glass and garnish with a fresh basil leaf.

 

2019 Goals & Projects

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When I posted the photo above to my IG detailing one of my favorite big-picture productivity hacks, I asked if you guys would like a blog post detailing a bit more about all the You & Yours-related 2019 goals and projects we have on our plates this year. I got a couple of yes’s so I decided to put finger tips to keyboard and give you a little glimpse into what our team will be working on in 2019. I’m curious, which project are you most excited for?!

1. Y&Y KITCHEN… No secret here, we’ve been working on building a kitchen into our 1495 G Street space for quite a while now. We got dealt a super disappointing hand in late 2017 when we heard the landlord had rented out the space adjacent to the tasting room without consulting us first. I.e. where we had planned to put the kitchen, barrel storage and additional private event space. So we had to go back to the drawing board. Thankfully, 2018 brought us the warehouse (see #2!) we’re expanding into early this year, so we’re now able to move some things out of our jam-packed production floor in order to make room for a small kitchen. We hope to offer our small menu (which we’re working on with one of our favorite chefs! stay tuned!) of Southern-inspired small plates by early spring!

2. WAREHOUSE… If you’ve taken a distillery tour any time in the last year, you know our production floor is getting TIGHT. I mean, very, very, very crowded. Every morning our production manager has to pallet jack everything out into our two staff parking spaces in order to work in the distillery. Not ideal. Thankfully construction is well underway at 367 15th Street (just a few blocks from our original location) and we should be occupying the new headquarters by late March. In addition to acting as ground zero for all things canned cocktail production, this new warehouse location will be used for storage, spirit production overflow and private tastings. But perhaps my favorite part of the build out? Actual work space! Had to build myself a corner office, obviously! 😉 

3. DISTRO – ADDITIONAL STATES… 2019 is ALL. ABOUT. THE DISTRIBUTION for our team at You & Yours. We get inquiries every day asking for our product in other states and we’re beyond ready to expand outside of California. We’re working several angles and potential partnerships at the moment and hope to launch at least three additional states by the end of the year. We’ll keep you posted!

4. CANS – EAST COAST… Speaking of, if all goes well, East Coasters can sip on our canned cocktails in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts this summer! If you happen to live in those states, start hassling your local liquor store owners and grocers now! 

5. BEER GARDEN… If you saw our canned cocktail announcement you may have caught that we’re gluttons for punishment and have decided to build an outdoor beer & wine garden on the lot behind the new warehouse. Yeah, not like we have anything going on at all… but we love East Village and feel really passionate about continuing to improve the neighborhood, and therefore feel a concept of this kind would do a lot of good for the area. More details to come but we hope to welcome guests by late summer this year!

6 & 7. [REDACTED] Unfortunately I can’t share much about these projects just yet, but one may involve a game-changing partnership and the other mighttttttttt be our second tasting room location! The suspense!

8. BLOG MORE!… I say this every year but I want to deliver more consistent content here on Distillerista. I truly do love to sit down and write about spirits, distillers, hospitality, our travels, our plans and projects, and, of course, all things Y&Y. It’s just that at the end of the day, taking time to write blog posts doesn’t feel the most productive use of my time, considering all we want to accomplish this year. BUT it’s something I really enjoy and it actually relaxes me, so I’m hoping to bring you more blog posts this year, if only for those reasons alone! What you would like to read about or learn here on Distillerista this year? Your wish is my command.

Last but not least, what are YOUR 2019 goals? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

A Very Distillerista Gift Guide!

The Holidays are here, can you believe it?! Below are some of the things I’m gifting – and wishing for! – this year… whether you’re searching for something for the traveler, spirits enthusiast, aspiring distiller or ultimate host(ess) in your life, I’ve got you covered!

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For the traveler…

Away Suitcase (pictured) I SWEAR by my bigger carry on from AWAY. I love this thing so much, I bought one for my fiancé too. They hold SO MUCH (seriously, I packed for two+ weeks in New Zealand with just this one bag! And we know I don’t like to outfit repeat…) and they’re incredibly durable and easy to maneuver. Plus all the fun colors to choose from! You’ll never by another suitcase again.

En Route Passport Holder (pictured) A cute passport cover makes a great stocking stuffer for your wanderlust-ing bestie.

Carry On Cocktail Kit (pictured) I – honestly – never fly without one, and neither should you! Or anyone you love. I’m all about elevating your imbibing experience, and that means when you’re flying too.

Silk Eye Mask (pictured) Nothing like a chic silk eye mask to make coach feel a little more luxurious!

Hydrating Sheet mask… I love embarrassing my fiancé on long flights and throwing on a sheet mask (bonus points if you do it WITH the eye mask!) What better time to multi-task than on a long flight, self-care included!

 

For the spirits enthusiast or aspiring distiller… 

Gin Making Kit (pictured) Have a budding distiller on your hands? Get them an at-home gin making kit!

Sunday Gin (pictured) It wouldn’t be a Distillerista gift guide if I didn’t include a bottle of Sunday Gin! I may be a little biased, but that aside, it’s a lovely entry point enter the world of gin for a friend who may need a little coaxing over to the good side! Check out our website for where to buy (shipping options included), or pop by the tasting room to pick up a bottle.

Cocktail Class (pictured) If your gift recipient is local to San Diego, consider purchasing them two tickets to one of our cocktail classes! Such a great way to learn – or brush up – on the basics of cocktail making and a fun date night idea to boot.

Large format ice molds (pictured) No better way to enjoy your favorite spirits than over a large format ice cube. They provide the bit of chill you’re looking for plus slow dilution.

Table Top Distilling Book For the more studious spirits enthusiast, a wealth of knowledge on small-scale at-home distilling lies in this wonderful book!

 

For the ultimate host or hostess in your life… or anyone really!

Seasonal Candle with Cloche (pictured) No one was ever mad about receiving a candle! And this glass cloche provides an extra bit of elegance.

Chic Corkcicle cooler tote (pictured) Such a game changer! No more lugging around a sad styrofoam box. Throw a few bottles of wine (or better yet, canned cocktails!) into this cooler bag and head to the park incognito!

Large marble + brass serving stand Bonus points if you gift it with treats already nestled on top!

You & Yours Canned Cocktails are Here!

It has been a year+ long labor of love but our canned, ready-to-drink cocktails are finally here! 

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Ever since we started talking about opening You & Yours Distilling Co., we’ve always known that a canned cocktail was in our future. Seeing as we’re a very cocktail culture-minded brand and company, canned cocktails felt like a natural progression for our product line. Not to mention the sector is due to explode any minute and you know we wanted a piece of that!

If you’ve been to You & Yours before, then hopefully you’ve seen for yourself the amount of intention and effort we put into our in-house cocktail program. If so, you know we lent the same love and effort when formulating our canned cocktails. We worked with a “beverage architect” firm to help us get the products exactly how we wanted them and are SO happy with how they turned out.

A little bit about the formulation process… first, we sent the “beverage architects” the spirits that we planned to use in each of the canned cocktails so that their team could formulate each round of samples with the actual liquor that would be used to produce them. Let me tell you, shipping a five gallon bucket of vodka across the country is a lot more difficult than you’d think! Hah! 

Then we sent over a (in my case, very, veryyyy detailed) description of the flavor profiles we were looking for for each product, as well as any other existing products that we’d like to try to emulate. For example, we sent them some Cran-Raspberry Lacroix as inspiration for a jumping off point when formulating our canned Vodka Soda, Splash of Cranberry. And for our Gin & Tonic, we sent some of our favorite tonic water (East Imperial, of course). Not because we necessarily wanted to copy the flavor of either, but because we wanted the team at the formulation firm to be able to taste the products so they could have a point of reference when we referred to the respective flavor profiles in our descriptions and feedback.

Once the team at the beverage architect firm had everything they need to get started, then the fun began! They took what we told them and sent them and created the first round of sample cans and shipped them to us to taste and give feedback! The first couple of rounds were a bit underwhelming, as you’re really just trying to nail down sweetness level and alcohol percentage. Fun fact: it took us all the way until the final couple of rounds to nail the ABV of our Mule can! I fought for it to be higher in alcohol than the other two because it had so much more going on, flavor-wise. I felt it needed a bit more punch to cut through the heartier ginger and lime notes – but more on that later! 

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All in all, it took us about 8 months and 12 rounds of samples (2-3 samples of each SKU are included in each round) to solidify all three formulations! The three canned cocktails we just launched are a Gin & Tonic (obviously), a Vodka Mule and a Vodka Soda, splash of Cranberry. Read on to hear a little more about each one!

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G&T – Being a gin-focussed distillery, we knew we wanted to do a Gin & Tonic right out of the gate. Another fun fact: this was also the one it took longest for me to nail down the formulation. By the end of the process I was so burnt out and kept wanting to tweak and tweak and tweak but ultimately let go and just went with the one we knew was amazing. I’m so happy I did because I probably could have kept driving myself crazy perfecting for another ten rounds but the final product we have today is so freaking good. It’s a gorgeous mix of our flagship American-style Sunday Gin with a nice mellow grapefruit and lime-scented tonic water. So refreshing.

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Vodka Mule – Everybody and their mother loves a good Moscow Mule so it was a no-brainer for us to create one for our initial launch. However, creating a canned version of a cocktail that has SUCH strong – not to mention differing – opinions amongst it’s fans (if you’ve never had an argument with a mule fanatic over the correct type of ginger beer to use, consider yourself spared) is no easy task. My approach? Go outside the box while staying true to our in-house cocktail program. Something really fun we do at the tasting room is add a few dashes of peach bitters to our ‘Prized Pony’, which we make with fresh juiced ginger syrup, fresh lime juice and sparkling water instead of pre-made ginger beer. It makes such a difference, resulting in a light, fresh and vibrant Mule-style cocktail and so we wanted to hold true to that as much as possible in our canned version. If you savor intently enough, you should get a nice juicy peach note when sipping on our canned Vodka Mule!

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Vodka Soda, Splash of Cran – This one was designed to be an elevated, slightly more sophisticated version of your classic call out drink – a vodka soda with a splash of cranberry juice. We made it a little more special with notes of tart cherry and pomegranate and kept the sweetness level very low (less than 3 grams per the entire can) so that you could enjoy several without any cloying aftertaste or feeling too saccharine after a few sips. I have to say, I think this one may be my favorite of the three! Shhh, don’t tell the G&T.

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Each four-pack of our canned cocktails retails for $14.99 and can be found for sale at our tasting room, as well as our local retail partners like Lazy Acres, Bristol Farms, Baron’s, Total Wine and several other wonderful independent liquor stores!

If you’re a retailer and are interested in stocking our spirits or canned cocktails, contact our Head of Sales at tom@YouAndYours.com!

Scroll on for a few more fun moments throughout the process…

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{ our first canning run at the distillery! }

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{ so happy! finally sipping the final product out on the water! }

Distillerista-YAYDC-Canned-Cocktails-1{ my bff Erin sipping a G&T on a camping trip to Joshua Tree! }

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{ release day! }

Distillerista-YAYDC-Canned-Cocktails-11{ our designer, John, picking up his first four-pack at his local liquor store! }

Distillerista-YAYDC-Canned-Cocktails-6{ bottling in the parking lot during a canning run }

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{ celebratory promo photo shoot!* }

*First & final images by Arielle Levy :)

My Favorite Mixers for Craft Spirits

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When it comes to cocktail mixers, I’m a big believer in matching quality with quality. What I mean is, I wouldn’t dare disrespect a high-end, ultra premium gin with some shitty tonic water out of a gun… Instead, I’d search for an artisan or similarly premium tonic water that compliments and highlights whatever is already going on in the gin’s botanical recipe. for example, our Sunday Gin is very citrussy and bright, and lighter on the juniper. Instead of drowning it with a high sugar, quinine-heavy base level tonic water, we pair it with a gorgeous low sugar grapefruit tonic water to bring out that juiciness (see photo below!). The low quinine level and subtle sweetness lets the floral and feminine notes of the gin shine, all while putting an exclamation point on those lovely citrus top notes we’re going for.  Similarly, you wouldn’t want to take a nuanced, delicate spirit and overpower it with a sharp, sweet ginger beer or too sweet soda. The mixer should always compliment and amplify the spirit, and most importantly, be of comparable quality. Below are the thoughtfully-crafted mixers I reach for when serving my favorite craft spirits!

East Imperial… East Imperial is by far and away my favorite brand of top-quality mixers. They have a range of products from soda water to ginger beer and ginger ale (shown above), plus four different styles of tonic water. FOUR! If you haven’t seen East Imperial around before, it’s because they’re still fairly new to the US. They’re kind of like the Fever Tree of the southern hemisphere, seeing as the company hails from New Zealand, but the quality and flavor is so much better. To get your hands on some, you can order from their website here, or source through Young’s Market here in California.

0Z0A4362{ Our best-selling cocktail @ Y&Y, the Distiller’s G&T. Built Spanish style with all the botanicals that go into the gin basket when distilling our flagship Sunday Gin! }

Topo Chico… chances are you’ve heard of this cult favorite sparkling mineral water before. It comes from Monterrey, Mexico and I can tell you with 100% certainty, it’s worth the hype and then some! What makes it so good? Two things: bubbles and salt content. The effervescence is like no other sparkling beverage you’ll ever have. The carbonation is just so poppy and satisfying, and a high mineral content makes it both cleansing and thirst-quenching at the same time. It’s my favorite thing to pair with low ABV spirits for a spritz-like tipple.

Lacroix… I have to include Lacroix water here because a.the wealth of flavor options and b. expert subtlety of said flavors. They’re spritzy and refreshing and lend juuuusssst the right amount of added flavor. If you haven’t experimented with Lacroix cocktails, start with my three two-ingredient favorites here!

Lagunitas Hop Water… A bit of a wild card but oh so interesting! Like a zero-ABV IPA, Hop-flavored Sparking water adds dryness and bitterness without overwhelming a spirit. Try splashing some into a Greyhound or pairing with your favorite blanco tequila.

Mead… this one might surprise you but I love mead paired with spirits in cocktails. A vodka + mead + sparkling water spritz is such an underrated delight and seeing as there are so many styles and varieties of mead, the options are endless for coming up with creative new ideas! To test the waters, try a 1 oz. mead float on top of your next margarita!

Nostrum Shrubs… shrubs have been natural partners to spirits for ages, and this is one of my favorite brands. I love to take the kumquat + kaffir lime leaf + lemongrass shrub and pair it with our Y&Y Summer Citrus Vodka and Topo Chico! Divine!