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Beer, Wine & Spirits

That gin you're drinking may have been aged in a wine cask


Would you prefer a glass of wine? Or a cocktail? The line is blurring between the two.

It's not unusual to see distillers using wine barrels to age or finish their spirits: Plenty of whiskeys spend time in sherry casks, for example.

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Now Distillery No. 209 in San Francisco is using an odder pairing, letting its gin age in sauvignon blanc or cabernet sauvignon casks. (As we've previously reported aged gins are getting trendier.)

"It just seemed like a good idea at the time," chief executive Joe Fairchild told CNBC on Wednesday at the Tales of the Cocktail festival's "Bring Your Own Barrel" event. The distiller had access to wine barrels from Napa's Rudd Winery, which owns the company, and decided to experiment.

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The results (both $55 apiece) include a gin aged in sauvignon blanc barrels for 60 days, and one aged in cabernet sauvignon barrels for six months. Both have strong juniper and spice notes, with notes of the oak and character hints of the wine.

They're certainly sip-able solo, but would also play nicely in cocktails."I'd do it with a negroni, anything you'd put a bourbon in," said Fairchild.

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Distillery No. 209's wares are currently available only in California, but plans for wider distribution are in the works. is in New Orleans for the 12th annual Tales of the Cocktail festival, which runs through Sunday. Check back for more coverage of the trends shaping what you'll drink at home and on the town—and how much you'll spend doing so.

By CNBC's Kelli B. Grant