South Florida's Prescribed Spirits Gin Debuts at Craft Spirits Festival October 8

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A.J. Fazendin, the man behind Prescribed Spirits, is set to debut his new brand of gin at the Craft Spirits Festival in Coconut Grove on October 8. 

This moment has been months in the making for Fazendin, who's been trekking back and forth between Miami to Fort Lauderdale, where he distilled a batch of gin at South Florida Distillers in Fort Lauderdale. 

South Florida Distillers owners Avi Eisenberg and Joe Durkin opened their distillery to Fazendin. It's basically contract distilling, but instead of simply handing over his own recipe and letting them make the spirits, Fazendin toiled in the distillery on his own free time (he works as chef at StripSteak at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami for his day job). 

Fazendin began distilling over the summer. Now, he's got 40 cases and 360 bottles ready to go for distribution. A couple of those bottles will be available for tasting at the upcoming festival. He received label approval from the federal government in late August and recently finished labeling every bottle. 

Coming in a 750 milliliter bottle, Prescribed Spirits is an 88 proof (44 percent alcohol) light gin made with Fazendin's own blend of botanicals that's not too hard on the juniper. Some people like it, he says, but some people don't, although he's confident he can turn heads with a few cocktails. 

Fazendin prefers a Tom Collins made with his gin, although he says it goes well as a classic martini, straight, shaken and chilled. 

"Maybe a little bit of dry vermouth too," Fazendin adds. "It's definitely not your strong, overpowering gin."

Bottles of Prescribed run $35 a piece. Fazendin hasn't gotten around to selling his product yet. It's coming, though. He signed on with Morgan Wine and Spirits, which will be distributing the gin. 

When it comes time to convince bartenders to try his gin, Fazendin's thinking he'll either make a Tom Collins or dirty martini. 

Eventually, Fazendin wants to be a full-time distiller but doesn't have any immediate plans to leave his current job. He does have plans to make more gin, though. 

Fazendin's stoked at the fact that it was his hands operating the distilling equipment and no one else's. He balks at the fact that anyone should let their spirits recipe rest in the hands of another. 

"This is is my product and my label," Fazendin says. "I just needed the space to do it." 

South Florida Distillers - Small Batch Craft Rum Distillery is located at 1110 NE Eighth Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-541-2868, or visit southfloridadistillers.com.

The Craft Spirits Festival is 7 to 11 p.m. Thursday, October 8 at the Cruz Building (3157 Commodore Plaza, Miami) in Coconut Grove. Admission is $75. Visit craftspiritsfest.com.

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