Bummer and Lazarus Gin Review

Liquor importation is a tricky and expensive thing. There are a great many wonderful gins that can’t be bought here. There are many, many reasons that I am enormously lucky to have my Gentleman Gin Drinker, one of them are his regular international work trips, and his great generosity in devoting his liquor allowance to gins from the world over. He recently returned from San Francisco with three beautiful American gins.

Bummer and Lazarus is distilled by Raff Distillerie on Treasure Island. Isn’t that delicious? Carter Raff has been distilling there since 2011. He started with absinthe and now distills bourbon, rhum (sic) and, of course, gin.

And the story of the name is even better. In the 1860s San Francisco  was overrun by stray dogs. Dogs outnumbered people two to one. Dogs were baited and trapped all over town. Bummer was a stray Newfoundland who would have been killed, but for his remarkable ability as a ratter. He rescued another dog from a fight, the dog was badly injured and not expected to survive, but Bummer tended to him, bringing him food, cuddling up to him at night to keep him warm. He soon made an unexpected recovery and earned the moniker Lazarus.

The two were inseparable. Their comradery became the stuff of legend. When they were impounded by new dog-catcher an angry mob demanded their release and they were petitioned as protected property of the city. They lived on the fat of the land for several years but then Lazarus died after being kicked by horse. Two years later Bummer died and his eulogy was written by Mark Twain. A plaque honouring their friendship was unveiled in San Francisco in the early 1990s.


Bummer and Lazarus is made from a grape spirit. It starts life as a California grape brandy which is then distilled with botanicals to make gin. It’s distilled in a copper still, a light and pure gin that qualifies as a London Dry.


Orris root
Coriander seeds
Angelica root
Bitter orange peel
Lemon peel
Cinnamon bark
Liquorice root


The aroma is light and floral and familiar. I hadn’t read the notes so I did realise it was a grape based spirit, but knew the scent as soon as I read that. So similar to G’Vine. The botanicals are very traditional but perfectly balanced. I have no problem with not being adventurous when you get the basics this right.


Makes a terrific gin and tonic with Fevertree tonic. I garnished with a twist of lemon and a touch of freshly ground black pepper. The heat in the pepper cuts the floral sweetness beautifully. Adding an edge without changing the flavour.

With its light floral tones, it’s lovely in a wet martini with a twist of fresh lemon peel. The woody tones from the vermouth with the sweetness of the gin and lightness of the citrus its refreshingly enjoyable martini.


I can’t find any review, if you see one or write one, let me know!


Not readily available in Australia, The Wine Stop ships internationally by request so that’s probably your best bet.

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