Washington Island, Wisconsin is at the heart and soul of everything produced by Death’s Door Spirits. This 22 square mile island was once known for its potato farming. Washington Island “spuds” made their way around the world for their quality and flavour. However, in the early 1970’s, vertical integration in the potato industry left Washington Island without contracts to grow its crops. Without customers, island farmers stopped planting and instead switched to other jobs that were either more tourism-based, or moved off the island to find a livelihood elsewhere. Fast forward to 2005, a small group of like-minded people began exploring reinvigorating farming on Washington Island. Armed with enough seed to plant 5 acres and enough know-how to get it done — brothers Tom and Ken Koyen began growing wheat on the island. What started as wheat to use as flour at the Washington Island Hotel has grown into a select specialty grain for use in Capital Brewery’s Island Wheat Ale and all of Death’s Door Spirits products. Since 2005, Death’s Door Spirits and Capital Brewery have supported the farmers’ efforts on Washington Island to expand the acreage of hard red winter wheat from 5 to 1,200. Death’s Door Gin has a surprisingly simple botanical mix of organic juniper berries, coriander and fennel. Using juniper berries that grow wild on Washington Island with coriander and fennel sourced from within the state, Death’s Door Spirits is able to showcase how complementary and complex simple expressions can be. Death’s Door Gin employs a base of organic Washington Island wheat and organic malted barley from Chilton, Wisconsin. Death’s Door Gin has a full London Dry flavour without all of the bitterness because of the extraction process and the base spirit used. In fact, you can taste all three botanicals: loaded juniper berries up front; spicy, citrusy notes from the coriander seeds in the mid-palate; and a soft, cooling finish provided by the fennel seeds. Death’s Door Gin is big enough to stand up to classic or vintage cocktail treatment, but soft enough to be enjoyed on the rocks or as a dry martini. It truly is the “utility” gin of our time.