A Sip of Nostalgia At CW’s Gin Joint
One step inside CW’s Gin Joint, and you are instantly thrown back to a time when fine spirits were savored in a casual atmosphere that exuded style and gentility, without pretentiousness, where notable and obscure liquors added a warmth and refinement to any conversation. And owner CW, whose real name is Carolyn Wilson, couldn’t be prouder of the space, the meaning it holds and the happiness it brings to its patrons.
Gin Joint Established
As I chat with CW on a Friday afternoon while she drives up to her Ocala farm to check on another one of her passions: her horses, she recounts how the Gin Joint happened as a matter of coincidence. CW, who also owns Gin Joint’s next-door establishment known as The Vault, a 1919 bank-turned-venue space, threw a 1920s-style event in honor of The Vault’s opening night, and again to celebrate its one-year anniversary. People loved the concept so much, she decided to make it a permanent fixture right next door.
“It took us about a year, but it has been so much fun,” CW gushes. “We still haven’t finished. I keep changing out the pillows and I just opened up some new oil lamps for the tables. When we finish switching it up, we will just switch it all up again.”
CW’s Gin Joint Vision
CW’s vision was to create a place filled with good food, good music and good drinks with a cozy, comfortable and seductive ambiance. The menu’s rich comfort food includes a delicious variety: cheese boards, raw oysters, entrees like duck confit and short ribs, lobster mac and tropical bananas foster to name just a few. CW herself raves about the Portobello fries; “Chef Gui Alinat makes the best I’ve ever had” and the canned white asparagus. The food has been so popular that the restaurant now also caters under The Vault Catering.
But the drink menu alone is reason to comb the establishment’s eclectic list of notable bottles will open a transformative experience for those who like sipping in style. You’ll have trouble deciding on a spirit; a shaken or stirred cocktail with some of the most clever names like Sidecar and Grocery Getter; one of 54 gin options, all of which pair uniquely with tonic; wine … the list goes on. What would CW do? You’ll usually find her with a glass of wine and occasionally with a Gin and Tonic, when she can get it.
“It has been so busy that it can be hard to get in. I even have a hard time getting a reservation,” she laughs. “But it is a great problem to have. We couldn’t be luckier, and we are so grateful that people really love it.”
Gin Joint Expanding
With such a warm response, the Gin Joint will be expanding to open up into the park area to include outdoor tables and landscaping. In early 2018, CW will also start working on an additional space within The Vault, the venue’s third floor. This spin-off will be the perfect place for special events with the same ambiance as the Gin Joint.
But even as busy as CW is, she is never too busy to stop and smell the roses and thank all the wonderful folks who have helped her make the Gin Joint a success.
“I couldn’t do all this by myself,” she gushes. “I have such a talented team. I just show up and they make everything look so good. I couldn’t thank them enough for their hard work and dedication.”
1.5 ounces of Tito’s vodka
.75 ounces of spiced cranberry syrup
.75 ounces of lemon juice
Add all ingredients to a shaker. Shake and strain over pebble ice. Serve in a sling glass.
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Visit CW’s Gin Joint and enjoy all of the beverages, food and of course gin.