Introducing Winauk Root by Ginbrew

Have you ever thought to yourself “Wow, I really love this root beer, but I also wish I was drinking gin”?

Us too. All the time.

So we just went ahead and solved that dilemma with our newest blend, Winauk Root. We started with the gin basics, a mellow background of juniper and coriander. From there, we experimented with different botanicals and flavors traditionally found in a classic, old-fashioned root beer. Heavy on the roots and barks rather than fruit and flowers, our blend balances sassafrass (called “Winauk” by the Native Americans of its local Virginia lands), sarsaparilla, birch bark, and wintergreen, with some extra secrets in there to bump the warm, earthy spice notes. This blend started out in our ‘probably won’t work but worth a shot’ tier of gin-speriments, but after tasting our early batches, we knew this was going to be a winner.

This is some delicious gin, ladies and gents.

The piney bite of juniper plays perfectly with the cool wintergreen, warm spices, and that certain undefinable oomph of sassafrass that we instantly recognize in a good strong root beer. After a few refinements, we knew this stuff was delicious, but more than that, it was interesting, unique, and, to our palates, hit that elusive blend of originality and familiarity that defines a great gin.

The question now was what to do with it!

Gin and root beer are not traditional bedfellows, so a whole new round of cocktail experiments (lucky us!) was in order to find the best application for our new blend. The results were surprising in the best way. We found an unexpected versatility for such a unique flavor, and realized Winauk Root can play a lot of different ways, from classic standbys, to refreshing party drinks, to stiff and sophisticated sippers. Pair it with soda, or bitter, funky amaros, and you’ll see how differently delicious this blend can be. Or put a new twist on an old classic by using it in a G&T or Negroni. We hope you’ll do some experiments of your own (share them with @gin_brew on instagram!) but in the meantime, here is a Ginbrew Original to get you started. Stay tuned for more!

Sassafrass Fizz

  • 1 1/2 oz Winauk Root
  • 1/2 oz Cynar
  • 1 egg white*
  • Root Beer to top (2-3 oz)

We started with the most obvious deployment of Winauk Root (Winauk + Root Beer) and added a little funky sweetness with Cynar (feel free to experiment with other amaros!) and a light frothiness with egg white for a classic fizz feel. Shake together gin, cynar, and egg white without ice. Once emulsified, add ice and shake vigorously. Doublestrain over crushed ice in a Collins glass, and top with root beer to taste.

*Sub in a whole egg for the egg white to make a Sassafrass Flip, with some extra body and creaminess!

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