​Gin is made from the same base ingredient as vodka: neutral spirit. What separates gin from vodka is the inclusion of juniper and other botanicals in the distillation. However, there are almost as many different ways of including these botanicals as there are different gins throughout the world, so it can get a bit confusing.

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To extract flavors and aromas from their botanicals, most gin makers soak their botanicals in neutral spirit - a process calle “maceration”. Some gin makers stop here, with the resulting gin being called an “infused gin” or a “bathtub gin”.

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In order to make a cleaner, smoother gin, most gin makers distill this macerate in a pot still. This creates what is known as “dry gin” or “distilled gin”. Additionally, some distillers place botanicals inside a basket high up in the still where no liquid ever touches them. Rather, the extraction of the flavors and aromas is performed by the evaporated spirit as it blows past the botanicals inside the still. This process is known as “vapor extraction”.

To make Wheeler’s Wester Dry Gin, Santa Fe Spirits built a still unlike any other gin still: a combination of a direct steam injection still known to moonshiners as a “thumper” and a classic vapor extraction still used by few modern gin distilleries called a “carter-head still”. The resultant hybrid, for lack of a better name, is called “Botanicus Maximus”.

By utilizing both maceration and vapor extraction (depending on the preference of the individual botanical) Botanicus captures only the most perfect expression of each individual botanical for inclusion in Wheeler’s.

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