Unless you’ve been hiding under a juniper tree somewhere, you already know that gin is way cool again. I mean, it’s been cool for years now! Why this change of heart, you ask? The new wave of craft gins are totally herby, never medicinal (think gypsy, not grandpa). Spearheaded by a few good Cal Poly alumni, Calivore Spirits is the newest local purveyor of this intoxicating spirit, and they’ve gone all out to encapsulate the Golden State’s goodness—as their name suggests. Their new Big Sur Gin is inspired by gorgeous Highway 1 coastline views, craggy cliffs, and epic sunsets. Made with a silky base derived from California wine grapes, the spirit is deliciously distilled with a dozen herbs, including juniper, lemon peel, white sage, yerba santa, elderberry, bay, fennel, and lavender. You can find it at a slew of local restaurants, including La Cosecha, Luna Red, Granada Hotel & Bistro, and Milestone Tavern. I never thought I’d say this, but I’ll have a gin and tonic ... and hold the tonic please!
• Calivore Sprint Co.’s Big Sur Gin—About $35 a bottle; find locations to buy a cocktail or a whole bottle at calivorespirits.com.
Hibiscus tea, made from the dried, vibrantly colored calyces of the hibiscus flower, is more than just a pretty pink drink. It’s packed full of antioxidants and is even known to lower blood pressure. This special house blend of powerful, fragrant floral flavor and refreshing iced, tart bite is exactly what I need to stave off the “meh” feeling that inevitably comes with the impending fall season.
• Big Sky Cafe’s Hibiscus Iced Tea—About $3; 1121 Broad St., SLO.
Hayley Thomas is ready for a whole new year of drinks! Keep ’em coming at email@example.com.