Common Ground Spirits

Is that a hint of spring in the air? As I write this, it feels like it. Although winter isn’t quite behind us, I find myself dreaming of warm April and May days spent on the roof deck or in the park with a gin cocktail in hand! This quarter’s gin evokes the verdure of early spring with bright notes of basil, lime and elderflower. It is made by Common Ground Spirits, a local, black-owned company making a positive impact in the world of craft spirits and beyond. I hope you enjoy it. The only challenge will be not finishing the bottle before spring!


Sam Crocker

Resident Ginthusiast


Common Ground Basil and Elderflower Gin

Common Ground Spirits was founded in 2020 by Julian Peebles and Tory Brown, both successful professionals in the tech world and both men of color. They bonded over a shared belief “that everybody, no matter race, religion, or gender identity should have equal opportunities in all aspects of life.” Together they decided to start a spirits company with this as their central philosophy. They set out to work with members of their East Bay community, sourcing local ingredients and working with Ryan Sutherland of Sutherland Distilling Company in Livermore, California. Their first project was a gin inspired by a cocktail that Julian had at a bar in Dublin, Ireland, where he had once been a resident. The cocktail, called Flo & Basy, featured (you guessed it) gin, elderflower liqueur, and basil. The majority of botanicals are sourced locally and macerated in neutral non-GMO spirits. The basil and cucumber are put in fresh prior to redistillation for maximum aromatics.

In addition to running the company, Julian and Tory mentor other black-owned companies, using their wealth of business knowledge to help them succeed. They hope to help bring about a more diverse and inclusive spirits industry. And what better way is there to bring people together than over a drink?

Origin: Berkeley, CA

Founders: Julian Peebles and Tory Brown

Price: $40.99

Tasting notes: 

Aroma: Refreshing floral and citrus notes

Taste: Uniquely fresh

Finish: Floral finish of elderflower on the palate

Botanicals: Juniper Berries, Cucumber, Basil, Elderflower, Coriander Seed, Rose Petals, Lime Peel, Lemon Peel


Gin Fizz

1.5 oz Common Ground Basil & Elderflower Gin

.75 oz Lime Juice

.75 oz Simple Syrup

1 Basil Leaf

Fever Tree Ginger Ale

Directions: Add gin, lime juice, simple syrup and basil leaf to a shaker tin. Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass. Top with Fever Tree Ginger Ale.

Basil Smash

1.5 oz Common Ground Basil & Elderflower Gin

1.0 oz Lemon Juice

.75 oz Agave Syrup

.25 oz Grapefruit Liqueur

3 basil leaves

2 dashes orange bitters

Directions: Add all ingredients to a shaker tin. Shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a Rocks glass with a half rim of kosher salt. Garnish with basil leaf.

Common 75

1.0 oz Common Ground Basil & Elderflower Gin

.5 oz Simple Syrup

.5 oz Lemon Juice

Top with Sparkling Wine

Directions: Add all ingredients except sparkling wine to a shaker tin. Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a chilled flute glass. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with a lemon twist.

Recipes courtesy of Common Ground Spirits. View more at

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