COMMON GROUND GIN REVIEW
Gin is kind of one of those who love it or hate it spirits. For some, it’s an introduction to aroma and flavor, for others it’s a reminder of bad times in college with simple rock gut gin and juice combinations. For us, it was probably 2013, our first year at Tales of The Cocktail that really opened up our minds to how amazing gin and gin cocktails can be. Today we’re spreading that love, reviewing Common Ground Gin, launched in 2020 by two coworkers and lifelong friends.
No good brand comes without a story, and Common Ground Spirits are no exception. CG is a black-owned distillery out of Berkeley California, started by two coworkers in tech, turned life long friends. The name comes from the belief that finding a common ground with each other adds substance and meaning to life. Their common ground is the belief that everybody, no matter race, religion, or gender identity should have equal opportunities in all aspects of life. And while we seem to be in some dark times these days politically, we can all agree spirits bring us together. And that’s what CG’s Gin and future bourbon expression are all about. Common Ground Gin comes in two expressions, Gin 01 (basil and elderflower) and Gin 02 (black currant and thyme) and today we’ll be sampling them both;
nose: Basil is one of those house hold herbs that’s got a hard to miss scent, and its distinction comes through strong in expression 01. Herbal, with a bit of citrus undertones, softened by the elderflower’s sweet aroma.
Tastes: The nose is mostly basil, but the elderflower takes the lead in the flavour. While there are 8 botanicals in total in this expression (Juniper Berries, Cucumber, Basil, Elderflower, Coriander Seed, Rose Petals, Lime Peel, Lemon Peel), the elderflower really finishes off nicely with a sweet honey like taste. The harsh first sip usually associated with gin, is muted by a soft and sweet finish. This would go well in a gin basil smash; a simple cocktail with only 4 ingredients allowing the gin to really shine (Gin, Basil, Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup). The spirit itself is modeled after the Flo & Basy – a cocktail from Coppinger Row in Dublin, Ireland. While we’ve never been there, we can see why they fell in love with the flavor.
nose: Expression two starts out with a much more citrus forward nose, with fruitful undertones and a bit of earthiness. A perfect example of the lemony aroma often associated with thyme followed by the sweet of black currant.
Tastes: What a difference some dried fruit makes. This one has a lot of citrus notes but the flavor profile shouts sweet dried fruits. This combination of botanicals (Black Currant, Thyme, Meyer Lemon peel, Peppercorn, Juniper Berries, Coriander Seed) offers a flavor that in my opinion makes it the perfect gin for your heavy citrus or fruit forward cocktails. Think of a gin paloma or a Blackberry/Raspberry gin rickey.
Final Words: The two expressions we have here couldn’t be more different, a perfect example of how unique the gin category can be. With gin, the only consistency is Juniper, which gives it the earthy/piney scent that comes with love/hate. Besides that, gin is a blank canvas, one that founders Julian & Tory have created to tell their story. Both of these craft gins come in at 45.22% ABV, slightly lower than some of the national brands you may already be familiar with, and are well priced for the category at less than $40. The gin lover can’t go wrong here. So, if you’re in the Bay area, Georgia, or the DMV be sure to check out where can you buy Common Ground Spirits, or visit them and buy directly online from them at www.commongroundspirits.com