Two friends of mine have a house in the hip Fishtown neighbourhood of Philadelphia, where they have set up the most elaborate cocktail bar I’ve ever seen in a private home. Their archive of spirits and mixing equipment is quite incredible – they’ve even set up an Instagram account dedicated to their selection. I enquired as to what their favourite gin is and, without a word, one of them immediately poured me a glass of St George Terroir Gin (£37.95 for 70cl from Master of Malt) from Alameda, California. I sipped it neat and was struck immediately by pronounced notes of the forest, of Douglas fir, of laurel and sage. The pine infusion gives it a totally unique personality.
St George, I learn, was founded in 1982 by German expat Jörg Rupf – a forerunner of the craft spirit movement bringing with him generations of distilling knowledge from the Black Forest. Today it produces single malts, vodkas, fruit brandies and even an absinthe, alongside its wonderfully woody gin. I swiftly bought a bottle from Astor Wines in New York and will be staying stocked up. This is my new go-to gin.