It’s hard to find a craft cocktail with locally made gin in Broward County. It’s even harder for a small-time distiller to make it without boatloads of money. A.J. Fazendin is changing that.
By contracting with another distiller, Fazendin is able to follow through with his dream of becoming a distiller. He recently finished his very first batch of Prescribed Spirits gin. The 20-gallon batch crafted with his own faculties and labor will be part of his first bottle release slated sometime before the end of the year, Fazendin said.
Alcohol is not the only thing Fazendin crafts: He’s also a chef. Graduating from Colorado Mountain College Culinary Institute, 28-year-old Fazendin has been at it for nearly a decade. He’s originally from Dillon, Colorado, but traded the mountains for beaches and moved to Miami with his girlfriend some time ago. He now works as a sous chef at StripSteak by Michael Mina at the fancy Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.
Fazendin learned how to distill by helping out at various distilleries. Without having a place to make his own gin — and lacking the hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase a building and buy his own equipment — how does a self-starting distiller get by?
After searching the area for a distillery, Fazendin approached South Florida Distillers owners Avi Aisenberg and Joe Durkin, who agreed to let him use their facility. For those who don't know, South Florida Distillers is a new distillery that began in Fort Lauderdale earlier this year. They are the makers of Fwaygo rum.
“I’ve looked at people do start-up brands, but nobody gave me the opportunity to use my own recipe,” Fazendin said. “Everyone else kind of wanted to make it for me and sell me the bottle.”
Even though Fazendin is contract distilling, his company — Prescribed Spirits — is separate from South Florida Distillers, and has its own label (which is currently pending approval from the federal government). The first full batch of gin was completed on August 12.
Fazendin couldn’t go too much into detail about his recipe, saying that he uses his own blend of herbs and botanicals. He said it’s very fragrant, smooth and doesn’t have an overpowering juniper flavor. It’s a martini-type gin, he added.
The first batch is finished, but he’ll continue to make more leading up to his bottle release party, which he said should be anywhere “between 30 and 60 days” but it could take longer. There are no plans on when and where it’ll be, but Fazendin promised to keep us in the loop.
Until then, anyone can win a free bottle just by liking Prescribed Spirits' Instagram page.
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After the release party, Fazendin will slowly prescribe his gin across area bars. The bottles will also be on sale at South Florida Distillers.
And how did Fazendin come up with the name Prescribed Spirits?
“I thought of early 1900s prohibition medical alcohol, using spices to cure diseases and sickness,” he said. “That’s the model I liked.”