The Spirited Journey of the Gray Whale And the Legacy of Gray Whale Gin

Photo © Courtesy of Gray Whale Gin

In 2016, while camping in Big Sur, California, Marsh Mokhtari, a food & adventure show host, and Jan Mokhtari, an award-winning creative director and filmmaker, were discussing the creation of a legacy product. As they looked across the crystal waters to admire the beauty of the California coast, they spotted a gray whale and its calf on their northern migration.

At that very moment, the idea for Gray Whale Gin was born, creating a project that aimed to bring people together and give back to the environment at the same time.

Every year, the Gray Whale makes a 12,000-mile migration from the warm lagoons of the Baja Peninsula to the cool waters of the Arctic. This journey inspired Marsh and Jan to create a gin that celebrated the Gray Whale by using ingredients and materials that would be organically sourced or wildly foraged from local farmers, following the magnificent mammal’s migratory path. This journey inspires the flavors in every bottle.

Into the Gin

From hand-zested limes from Baja California, the birthplace of the Gray Whale, to wild-foraged juniper berries from Big Sur, each bottle of Gray Whale Gin is distilled with botanicals from the California coastline along the gray whales’ migration pattern, allowing gin-lovers to taste their way along the Pacific Coastline.

The flavorful journey starts with organic limes, lemons, and oranges from Temecula Valley, lovingly hand-zested to add bright notes of citrus to every batch.

Kombu Seaweed, harvested from kelp beds on the Mendocino Coast, is abundant in flavor and rich in mineral content, adding an earthy umami flavor profile.

Juniper is wild-foraged from the Big Sur rocky coastline, a super-berry packed with antioxidants and praised as a natural detoxifier for centuries. These hand-picked berries make for a smooth sip, every time.

Gray Whale Gin harvests fir needles from living Fir Trees in an organic tree farm in Sonoma Valley. Fir needles, each one de-needled by hand, impart a cool pine coastal quality—a breath of Northern California.

Organic mint from Santa Cruz adds a perfect amount of refreshing, calming flavor, while almonds harvested from California’s Capay Valley add a creamy finish.

Gray Whale Gin is seven-times distilled in Sonoma, California and uses carefully selected botanicals to make every sip shine. The fresh fir needles and hand-zested citrus are placed into a vapor-extraction bag and tied inside the copper-pot-still helmet, hovering above the base spirit. Alcohol vapors rise up to the extraction basket, heating the citrus and fir, releasing those notes. These rich flavors continue across the line arm to cool and condense for 48 hours before the gin is bottled and sealed with a 100% biodegradable cork.

Beyond the Bottle

Beyond making an impact with consciously crafted flavors, every bottle of Gray Whale Gin supports Oceana, the world’s largest organization solely devoted to marine conservation. Oceana’s vision is to make our oceans as rich, healthy, and abundant as they once were, creating the ideal environment for marine life, like the California Gray Whale, to survive.

Gray Whale Gin previously partnered with Oceana to ban drift gill nets, a direct threat to Gray Whales, off the coast of California. Additionally, through their membership with One Percent for the Planet, Gray Whale Gin has pledged to contribute at least one percent of their annual sales to environmental causes.

Photo © Gray Whale Gin

A Sip of Summer: The Whale Flower


  • 2 parts Gray Whale Gin
  • 3 parts Elderflower Liqueur
  • 2 parts Grapefruit Juice
  • A Splash of Soda Water
  • Grapefruit Wedge & Lavender Sprig (to garnish)


  • Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice.
  • Shake for 3-4 seconds.
  • Strain over fresh ice.
  • Top with a splash of soda water and a grapefruit wedge and lavender sprig.

Celebrate the legacy of the Gray Whale by making Gray Whale Gin part of your summer drink menu. Find out more at

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