Time and place

Time and place

Time and place


Astraea Spirits

A collection of tequila bottles gathered from various locations.

From ocean to forest, Astraea Spirits conjures the tastes and smells of the Pacific Northwest through its premium terroir gins

Master distiller Danielle Leavell has crafted a love letter. Uniquely, the recipient is not a person but a place – the Pacific Northwest in the US, Danielle’s home. Instead of paper and ink, there is Astraea Spirits, her collection of premium terroir gins distilled from the region’s finest ingredients. “Astraea is a love letter to a muse, the Pacific Northwest,” says Danielle. “Our gins honour the wild landscapes of my home, its ocean, mountains, meadows and forests.”

A serene waterfall nestled in the lush greenery of a tranquil forest.

Danielle conceived Astraea while studying for an MSc in Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. She missed her home, but realised that people in Scotland were “incredibly proud of their country’s terroir-based products”, which inspired her to “recreate the tastes and smells of the Pacific Northwest in premium quality terroir gins”.

She launched Astraea in 2019, naming it after the ancient Greek goddess of justice, innocence, purity and precision. “As the creator of a premium gin line, purity and precision are important to me. And Astraea is a female-led brand, so I also wanted to place a female icon at its head.”

The four gins conjure the Pacific Northwest’s landscapes. Mist evokes the sea air and offers the lightest expression of juniper, balanced by citrus and camomile. “Mist is a crisp, classic London Dry for the American market. It’s our gateway spirit, perfect for those who are new to gin.” The others offer top-quality terroir experiences rooted in the region’s flora. Meadow is classic, floral and grassy, with locally sourced lemon verbena, lemon balm, rose hip, honeysuckle, camomile and citrus. Ocean uses a sustainably sourced local seaweed, bull kelp, to create a fresh spirit with a bracing dash of brine. Forest’s local balsam fir and spruce work with juniper and grapefruit for a bold coniferous take.

These distinctive, versatile gins have already won awards – Gold and Silver at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Double Gold at the 2022 New York International Spirits Competition. They can be served in limitless ways, but Danielle recommends four perfect pours. “For Mist, it’s gin and tonic all day long; Meadow is unbelievable as a negroni bianco; Ocean is the ultimate martini gin, and Forest is phenomenal as a classic negroni.”

Distilled in Seattle, sustainability is central to the process. “Life – and business – in the Pacific Northwest is centred around sustainability,” explains Danielle. “When I set about creating Astraea, I wanted to show that sustainability can be beautiful and luxurious. It’s about being mindful and only taking the right amount of produce from the land.” For the Forest gin, for example, modest harvesting of fir and spruce benefits the delicate ecosystem, but must be finely judged on an annual basis; each year, the yield differs and the amount of Forest gin produced fluctuates accordingly.

All elements of Astraea gin consider the environment. Danielle worked with Spanish manufacturer Estal to produce a beautiful, sustainable bottle, while the labels made by Eurostampa are non-toxic and recyclable. Water used during distilling is reclaimed, and the team are working on products that utilise spent botanicals.

“It all goes back to this concept of a love letter that evokes a sense of place,” concludes Danielle. “We all want to experience something special, and I’m so proud that by creating Astraea I’m able to offer people an opportunity to experience our little corner of the world and its wonderful landscapes.”