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Walheim Ranch Gin is a collaboration between renowned chef and distiller, Eric Olson of Atascadero’s Central Coast Distillery, and pioneer specialty citrus grower and horticulturist, Lance Walheim. It has the unique citrus overtones from fresh rind of California-grown Bergamot sour oranges with subtle hints of Earl Grey Tea, fennel and other botanicals. Enjoy it in a sophisticated gin and tonic or martini. Also, wonderful in a Negroni, Greyhound and other cocktails. 100 proof.

Lance Walheim is familiar to many home gardeners and commercial citrus growers, especially in California. He has written over 30 garden books, including 3 on citrus. He was a staff writer for Sunset magazine and is one of the Senior Editors of the last 4 editions of the Sunset Western Garden Book, the bible of western gardening.

Lance is also a pioneer in the citrus industry. Over 35 years ago, he and his partners founded California Citrus Specialties and are responsible for helping introduce and promote many new citrus varieties to chefs, gardeners, supermarkets and commercial growers. He also established a 17-acre specialty citrus grove in Exeter, California.

A culinary school graduate, Eric Olson sharpened his cooking skills while traveling through 27 countries. The highlight of his resume and certainly a gauge of his pedigree, were four years he spent as Executive Chef of the upscale Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. In 2017, set out on his own and established Central Coast Distillery, home of the award-winning Forager Spirits, in Atascadero, California. He is also chef of the small restaurant in the distillery. For more information on Central Coast Distillery and their fine spirits, visit www.foragerspirits.net

Bergamot sour orange is a fruit you may not have heard of but may be familiar with its flavor and aroma. The rind of bergamot is the distinctive flavor you taste in Earl Grey tea. The oils in the rind are also used in perfumes. Though the juice is very sour and the rind powerfully fragrant, bergamot is also being used by creative chefs in variety recipes for sauces, drinks and deserts. Bartenders are increasingly becoming familiar with bergamot and using it in a variety of cocktails – a small slice of the rind added to a gin and tonic creates a cocktail you won’t soon forget.The dried rind of bergamot sour orange is also used to flavor a few gins. The fruit is grown primarily in Calabria, Italy and parts of West Africa. There are also some small plantings in California, of which Walheim Ranch is one of the largest.

From a botanical standpoint, bergamot sour orange is thought to be a hybrid of unknown origin, but probably with sour orange and lemon, lime or citron parentage. It’s about the size of an orange, but yellow when fully ripe. The rind is powerfully fragrant and rich in distinctly aromatic oils. The juice is bitter to sour. Both the rind oils and the juice are reported to have health benefits.

Eric Olson: Central Coast Distillers, 5804 Traffic Way, Atascadero, CA 93422
(805) 901-6094: foragerspirits.net
Lance Walheim (559) 737-1698