This December marks the 20th anniversary of Anchor Distilling Company’s Junípero Gin and the birth of modern-day craft gin in America.
Handcrafted in San Francisco beginning in 1996, Junípero is celebrated for its bold, unfiltered flavor and high proof of 98.6, and is the first craft gin distilled in the United States after Prohibition.
After several decades of exclusively producing beer, Anchor Distilling Company visionary and former owner Fritz Maytag, credited with sparking the craft beer revolution, saw a similar opportunity in craft distilling in the early 1990s. Maytag began experimenting with distillation after realizing at the time, that there were no copper pot-distilled whiskies or gins being made legally in America. Anchor Distilling became the first craft distillery in a craft brewery in modern times. The idea to make a gin was in part fueled by the experience, knowledge, and inspiration that Maytag and his team had gained while developing Anchor Brewing’s spiced Christmas Ale. The process of choosing the botanical blend was similar to choosing the spices for each year’s holiday brew.
“Our top priority and the wonderful challenge was in selecting and blending botanicals that would create a distinct flavor and balanced character. The goal was to produce a juniper-forward, London Dry-style gin for gin lovers. It took us more than two years to get it right.”
– Bruce Joseph, Anchor Distilling’s Head Distiller, who started as a brewer in 1980 and was involved in the distillery’s beginnings.
In 1996, the recipe for Junípero Gin was finalized and the botanical blend became a coveted secret. In addition to the special recipe, Maytag and his team used a copper pot still and removed the step of chill-filtering to create the clean, crisp, and bold gin that is popular for its full mouthfeel. While most gins sold for $15 a bottle, Maytag’s vision and confidence led him to introduce Junípero at $30, and in doing so he created the premium craft gin category.
“We refer to Junípero as the gin that launched a thousand craft gins. We are thrilled to celebrate the impact that Anchor Distillery has made on the craft category over the last 20 years and toast to the future.”
– Dennis Carr, president and CEO of Anchor Distilling Company
In the 20 years since Junípero’s launch, the U.S. has seen a boom in consumer thirst for craft spirits, which has led to an avid interest in the details of production and specific ingredients used to create each new liquor. As a result, Anchor Distilling is celebrating Junípero’s milestone anniversary by unveiling the once top-secret recipe for the gin’s unique botanical blend: Junípero Gin begins as a grain neutral spirit and is redistilled once in a copper pot still with 12 botanicals:
- Juniper Berries
- Coriander Seed
- Angelica Root
- Orris Root
- Dried Lemon Peel
- Sweet Orange Peel
- Seville Orange Peel
- Cassia Bark
- Anise Seed
- Grains of Paradise
The resulting spirit remains unfiltered and expresses the following tasting notes:
Junípero Gin (49.3% ABV; $33 SRP)
Aroma: Strong juniper core. Crisp and clean with bright citrus notes and herbal complexity
Palate: Aggressive, big structure with juniper at the forefront that opens up and reveals its full complexity in the finish with notes of lemon peel, cardamom and lemongrass
Awards: Gold Medal, WSWA Tasting Competition, 2016, 94 Points, Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2016, 4 Stars, Highly Recommended, Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal 2015, Gold Medal, Best Gin in Show, NY World Wine & Spirits Competition 2012, Double Gold Medal, San Francisco World Wine Spirits Competition 2004
Top bartenders from around the country, including Pacific Cocktail Haven’s Kevin Diedrich in San Francisco, Tooker Alley’s Del Pedro in Brooklyn and Midnight Rambler’s Chad Solomon in Dallas, feature Junípero Gin in their craft cocktails.
“Junípero is the ne plus ultra of gin. Even in a cocktail heavy with big flavors, there’s no doubt on the very first sip that it’s a gin cocktail because all the essential flavors are right there.”
– Del Pedro
By Del Pedro at Tooker Alley, Brooklyn, NY
- 1 3/4 oz. Junípero Gin
- 3/4 oz. Lemon Juice
- 3/4 oz. Rosemary Simple Syrup*
- 1/4 oz. Luxardo Apricot Liqueur
- 1/4 oz. Aperol
- Egg White
Preparation: Combine ingredients; dry shake; wet shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with spritz of rosemary hydrosol and a small sprig of fresh rosemary.
*Rosemary Simple Syrup
Bring 20 oz. of water to a soft boil in a saucepan. Add 3 oz. of fresh rosemary, tamp down until it is all immersed in water. Cover and allow to simmer for 15 minutes over a low heat. Turn off heat, keep covered and allow to steep for one hour. Strain out 16 oz. of “rosemary water” into another saucepan. Add 1 lb. of granulated white sugar. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Let stand until cool and then refrigerate.
For additional recipes or more information on Junípero Gin, visit AnchorDistilling.com.