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The Bandon Martini

What is it about gin and the Pacific Northwest right now? Maybe it quenches a thirst brought on after trampling the aromatic ground cover—piney, sweet, spicy plants—in the hills everywhere north of San Francisco and on up to the Cascade Mountains. In any case, there's an American gin party happening there. Anchor Distilling in San Francisco, most famous for its beer, has been making an intense Junípero gin for a few years; a small venture called Distillery No. 209 is also now producing a gin in San Francisco; and in Portland, Oregon, a restaurateur is teaming with a local distillery to produce GBT Summer Gin and, later, GBT Winter. But our fav­orite West Coast juniper juice comes from Bend, Oregon. Bendistillery's Cascade Mountain Gin is a pale yellow spirit infused with the berries of the wild junipers that can be found thick on the ground in local mountains. It's spicy, crisp and aromatic with a lot of backbone, and at ninety-five proof it has an extra kick that makes it particularly well suited to a large martini with tart, chewy olives. Phil Sabol, sommelier at Bandon Dunes, says: "We've done very well with that and with Crater Lake Vodka [also from Bendistillery]. We're proud to serve Oregon goods here." Bendistillery makes a lower-octane (eighty-two proof) gin as well, called Desert Juniper, which is the sort of soft, smooth type that's aimed at vodka partisans. The excellent No. 209 is also worth hunting down if you like a citrusy, complex gin in the vein of Tanqueray No.10 or Citadelle.

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