Checking in with You & Yours Distilling Co.’s Laura Johnson
The San Diego ‘distillerista’ is creating new spirits and making a name for herself
You & Yours Distilling Co.'s vodka, Sunday Gin and Winter Gin. | Photo: Lindsey Marie Photography
It’s been a busy year for You & Yours Distilling Co. Since I checked in with founder Laura Johnson back in March 2017, she’s been profiled in Imbibe magazine, included in Forbes’ list of 30 entrepreneurs under 30, featured in Food & Wine, and San Diego Magazine readers picked You & Yours as Best Local Spirits for this month’s Best Restaurants issue.
Johnson’s also been keeping busy making cocktails for some pretty cool pairing dinners, running Y&Y’s distillery and tasting room, working on new spirits, keeping up her blog Distillerista (try this easy DIY orgeat!), and helping promote San Diego’s lady bartenders. So, it was no surprise when she asked if she could do this interview via email because she’d lost her voice.
I started off by asking her about the event happening this week—Thursday, June 14—when Kettner Exchange’s Bao St. Buns will do a pop-up at You & Yours Distilling Co. (1495 G Street, East Village) from 6 to 10 p.m.
Tell me what you have planned for the pop-up with Kettner Exchange on Thursday.
Chef Brian Redzikowski will be bringing his famous buns for $4 each and Kettner Exchange beverage director Steven Tuttle and bar manager Paulina Konja will be guest bartending and bringing a few new cocktails to our tasting room for the evening. It’s free to attend and open to the public—all buns and cocktails are á la carte.
Easy on the Eyes: You & Yours Sunday Gin, lemon, grapefruit, blood orange, cinnamon, rhubarb, soda
Chi Chi: You & Yours Vodka, lime, pineapple, coconut, cinnamon
Chai Knees: You & Yours Provisional Gin, lemon, honey, chai
You recently introduced a Provisional Gin? How would you describe it?
This is our third batch of the Provisional series and happens to be my favorite so far—a barrel-rested version of our Winter Gin (my version of a London Dry). It’s 55 percent Winter Gin that's spent a little over two months in used single-malt whiskey barrels and 45 percent unaged Winter Gin, blended and proofed at 95.
For Negroni Week, a lot of bars were using You & Yours Sunday Gin. Do you have a favorite Negroni variation using the gin?
I love any sort of white Negroni variation or a Negroni/spritz hybrid. The more effervescent the better!
Last month, You & Yours and El Dorado started “Sunday is for the Girls,” where a female bartender creates three cocktails using You & Yours Distilling Co. spirits. (A portion of sales from 9 to 10 p.m. will be donated to Keep A Breast Foundation.) Who’s the bartender for June 24?
Meghan Balser of Herb & Wood! I can't wait.
Any new spirits you plan to introduce this year?
We're collaborating with Loews Coronado Bay Resort and are distilling a special spirit just for their property. It's a citrusy summer vodka with lemon, kumquat, and a touch of rosemary. It’ll be available at Loews and our tasting room only, beginning June 26 at Loews and June 27 at Y&Y.
Got ideas for a future post? Any under-the radar bars or bartenders to check out? Email me.