5 secrets about OsCo Automatic Sea Gin

Count yourself lucky. I almost wrote “sea-crets.”

OsCo tasting at Alchemy Bottle Shop, Oakland, CA, April 2017. The nori is in the tallest jar near the squirrel.

Sea Gin uses sustainably foraged nori and sea salt.

Up Mendocino way, OsCo’s nori hunters at Sully Farms roam Californian beaches for a certain type of seaweed. They spread their harvest on the beach to dry in the sun and salty sea air. The resulting seaweed — black, ruffled, and dense — adds distinct brine and rich vegetal notes to a spirit also flavored with bay leaf, sage, lemongrass, and “other stuff.”

OsCo’s gins and brandies are grape-based for a more unctuous mouthfeel. You can practically taste the slick seaweed on your tongue.

Trick Dog’s Bigfoot cocktail employs a nori stand-in.

Trick Dog’s mural project menu included the Bigfoot cocktail made from OsCo Automatic Sea Gin, Arkansas Black applejack, Riesling, Meyer lemon, lavender, lime, served up with a bit of nori.

But not the same nori that gives Sea Gin its briny punch. OsCo offered Trick Dog that nori, but its chewy, ruffly texture is hard to reproduce as neatly as Trick Dog’s substitution.

Trick Dog’s Bigfoot with Oakland Spirits Company’s Automatic Sea Gin. One of my all-time favorite cocktails.

Make a martini, not a G&T.

Owner and distiller Mike Pierce has a strong recommendation: Sea Gin doesn’t play nicely with bubbles and is better suited to a martini than a gin and tonic.

He wryly tells the story of receiving a picture from a smiling bartender, excited about having Sea Gin at his bar, holding up a G&T. Mike, on the other hand, could only shake his head and reiterate his advice.

Workhorse gins are the general rule. A gin that specializes in a particular kind of cocktail — or, to put it another way, a gin whose own distillers happily malign it for one of the most common gin cocktails — is unique.

Their other two gins, Gin No. 5 and Uptown Dry, are superb with tonic, by the way.

Passion project? OsCo can help.

Certain that the craft spirits world is ready to be rocked by your hibiscus cumin whiskey? OsCo can make your dreams come true (within reason — they can’t make hibiscus cumin whiskey catch on).

It’s not the only seaweed gin.

While Edinburgh Gin has a bit of seaweed in the mix*, it’s not a distinct flavor. The same cannot be said, presumably, for Wales’ Dà Mhìle Seaweed Gin, which is intended to accompany seafood.

(*Correction: Edinburgh Seaside Gin is a specific seaweed gin, though it is not available where I live.)

So while OsCo Sea Gin may not be the only seaweed gin, it’s certainly the leading contender on the United States West Coast, and the inspiration for a raft (get it? sea pun) of cocktail creativity:











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