Meet the Team introduces you to the writers and experts behind Gin Magazine and gin-mag.com, as they talk about their lives both in and outside the gin world. This week we meet Virginia Miller, a San Francisco-based food and drink writer who has travelled to more than 40 countries, 11,000 restaurants and 20,000 bars to write about and judge their offerings. You can follow her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @ThePerfectSpot and at www.theperfectspotsf.com.
Gin Magazine (GM): How did you end up in the gin world and what do you like most about working in it?
Virginia Miller (VM): The shared passion of my fellow gin mavens… and the historic joys of gin, from the culture surrounding its British roots (and further back, to genever), to its current day renaissance and vast possibilities as botanical combinations and regionality are endless.
GM: What did you do in your pre-gin life?
VM: From my youth working in records shops (music is always and ever my first love), to early years career in HR management, my deep passion and knowledge for food, dining, restaurants and lifelong pursuit of writing, led to my initial published articles and eventually becoming restaurant critic at the SF Guardian, then Zagat editor, then national Table8 editor. My dining and food passion quickly led to an equal passion for drink. Much as I am a wine fanatic and beyond, cocktails and spirits immediately were where I fell hardest over 15 years ago. There weren’t many writing about cocktails back then, so I soon was being asked to write about it for many magazines, newspapers and online, then spirits and extensive judging as I also began visiting distilleries around the globe. I’ve been a gin and spirits fanatic ever since.
GM: What’s the best piece of career or life advice you’ve been given?
VM: Relationships and connections are everything. So even when industry connections share early news or plans with me, I keep those confidences rather than share as a “scoop.” Keeping those relationships trustworthy and with a sense of safety and honesty is more important than publishing the early word on something, even if I know about it first.
GM: What moments or occasions have you reaching for a gin?
VM: Watching classic films (from Thin Man 1930s to mid-century, Rat Pack-era kitschy-ness); listening to records (I have an extensive vinyl collection); cooking dinner; picnics in stunning Golden Gate Park (which starts one block outside my house in SF). Let’s just say, many occasions.
GM: What would be your ideal holiday destination and activities?
VM: With Christmas Day also being my birthday, there is nothing I love more than celebrating holidays and birthdays (many of my family members have birthdays right around Christmas, too) with family and close friends — and, of course, quality food and cocktails. I adore an alpine December holiday, whether near home in the mountains and waters of stunning Lake Tahoe, the majestic Swiss Alps or breathtaking Italian Dolomites (the latter also a favorite region for Germanic Italian food and wine).
GM: If you were a gin or a gin cocktail, what would you be?
VM: While in theory I’d love to be the fizzy, light, layered glory of my beloved Ramos Gin Fizz, I am more the depths and loyalty of a Martini — coupled with the savoury, sassy drama of a Gibson.