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Tara Jasper, owner and creative force behind SipSong Spirits, is back on Brew Ha Ha with Harry Duke and Herlinda Heras today. The last time she was on Brew Ha Ha was this episode of July 30, 2020. Tara grew up among the coastal redwoods of northern California. After studying culinary arts and raising a family, she started making gin. She begins by shaking up a cocktail with SipSong Spring Gin, one of her seasonal gins and they toast to all the hospitality and medical workers.
All their botanicals are harvested in early spring in Sonoma County. There are all kinds of juniper. In Finland, they use juniper as part of the flavoring of Sahti. Our ornamental juniper berries are shaped like mace balls. The ones in Finland were soft and become sappy and stick when you break them open. SipSong gins often win blind tastings among gin fans. She enjoys the idea of making gin without a lot of fussing around like in a busy kitchen, and then being able to share her work all over the place.
The Ah-Ha Moment
When she started making gin, she didn’t know if she could make a gin that she would enjoy more than her favorite gin. Monkey 47 was her favorite at the time. It was $65 for a 375 ml bottle. In a blind tasting of her gin against that one, she preferred her own. That was her “ah-ha moment” when she decided she wanted to get a still and start making gin.
“We have some amazing local distillers in this area. We’re very lucky. It’s so cool. This is no longer wine country. This is booze country,” says Tara Jasper.
She met someone who had the same still she wanted, but only used it part time. Since then, she has been using it, sometimes on short notice when the Spring blossoms are ready.
Fight Like A Girl
Tara is also a pilot and she holds tastings in an airplane hanger. She is also active in women’s health care awareness, especially regarding the BRCA gene and how important it is to know if one is a carrier. Tara is a breast cancer survivor and she supports Fight like a Girl, a breast cancer support community.
There is an old Prohibition law that makes shipping of spirits illegal. During the pandemic, that law was suspended but only temporarily. She suggests that people express their preferences to their elected officials, to allow shipping of spirits permanently.
Indira gin won a double gold, which means every judge gave it a gold. It is flavored with botanicals and people love it in a Gibson. Another friend has suggested that she make gin with hops.