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EWA Alumni: Sara Sergent

EWA Alumni: Sara Sergent

Sara Sergent, a previous candidate on our Diploma in Gin, co-owns Alpine Distilling with her husband, Rob – an Executive Bourbon Steward and multi-generational distiller from Kentucky. After making her first gin in Edinburgh, Sara is now at the forefront of the American Gin movement.

Alpine Gin is a 3X double gold medal winner, most recently earning Double Gold in London at the Women’s Wine and Spirits awards 2020 and is the highest ranked US Gin at the World Spirits Competition. We caught up with her to find out more…

What attracted you to the Diploma in Gin?

I was very excited to enrol in the Gin diploma. It was an amazing opportunity to have a private tour of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh – one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world – with Dr Greg Kenicer. To access the library and archives is a once in a lifetime experience. As a distiller, I love to learn and the idea of expanding my knowledge in the history of gin was very appealing.

The EWA provided hundreds of pages of prep work and knowing that Geraldine Coates would be the onsite expert made this diploma particularly exciting. Ian, Kirsty, Geraldine, Greg and the rest of the EWA team have crafted a wonderfully unique certified experience.

What aspects of the Diploma did you find most enjoyable?

For me, class time with Geraldine was amazing. The cottage classroom in the Royal Botanic Garden was lovely and the gardens were spectacular.

How has the Diploma helped you at Alpine Distilling?

Since I was already a distiller, the EWA provided a deeper study of the history of gin, opened new relationships with others from around the world in the spirits field and expanded my knowledge in botanicals.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into the industry?

I highly recommend the Diploma in Gin for anyone already in the spirits field or for someone looking to get into the spirits field. My advice is to seriously dive into the materials prior to the onsite classes as they include additional material and the proctored exam is in-depth and lengthy.

Whisky/gin wisdom: quick fire questions:

First gin you ever tasted?
Bombay Sapphire with my Grandma.

Best whisky you have ever tasted?
Our Lafayette Spiced Bourbon whiskey… my husband made it for me as I was a gin fan long before I was a whisky fan. I enjoy or Alpine Gin, but I am also a big fan Daffy’s.

Who is your whisky or gin hero?
My whisky hero is Peggy Noe Stevens and my gin hero is Geraldine Coates.

Who would you most like to conduct a tasting for, dead or alive?
My very distant relative is the Great Piratess O’Malley and I would love to do a gin tasting with her and my Grandmother (my Dad’s Mom) as they we were both wildly amazing women.

Favourite whisky distillery to visit?
Glenfiddich. It is rich with history and absolutely beautiful.

Ultimate bottling for your collection?
We truly enjoy our Macallan Fine Oak 21 Year Old Scotch

Favourite non-whisky or gin drink?
Tawny Port.

Favourite food pairing for whisky and gin?
I enjoy pairing alkaline foods like mushrooms and nuts with a whisky for cocktail hour. With gin I enjoy fresh raspberries.

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