As former bartenders, the principals in the 86 Co. knew what they wanted in spirits.
Still, they went a step further by polling the bartending community at large. The result is a collection of spirits — gin, white rum, vodka and tequila — made for mixing in cocktails. Fords Gin is a collaboration between Simon Ford, former brand ambassador for Plymouth Gin, and master distiller Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillers in London. Their wheat-based offering is cut with Mendocino County well water, and boasts a balanced foundation of juniper and citrus. The floral and herbal qualities predominate without overpowering, thanks to a distinctive balance of coriander, cassia, angelica, orris and jasmine, as well as a mix of lemon, orange and grapefruit peel. The 86 Co. calls this an "aromatic" gin and that description is spot on. It's stunning any way you use it — from martinis to gimlets to Collins drinks. At this price point, it is an absolute steal.