NEW YORK – June 4, 2018 – O.R.E. 118 Raw Vegan Gin, the first spirit of its kind in the United States and the only spirit to be allowed a Raw Vegan claim on its Certificate of Label Approval, has launched in time for National Gin Day on June 9, 2018. While there are other vegan gins – where no animal products or by-products are used in their distillation or filtration – O.R.E. 118 is the only raw gin available in the U.S. market. The gin is “raw” because throughout its entire fermentation and distillation process it is kept below 118 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature above which many enzymes break down and foods and beverages are no longer considered raw.

This genre-defining spirit is the creation of founder Robert Elder. While dining at a raw vegan restaurant in Manhattan he requested a gin martini. Dismayed to discover that martinis were not served because there were no spirits that were both raw and vegan, he undertook to change that and established his family-run company, 118 + 1st, to produce hand-crafted, raw spirits. The name of Elder’s inaugural product, O.R.E. 118 Gin, has a double meaning: O.R.E. stands for “Original Raw Essence,” and the letters are also his father’s initials.

“You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy O.R.E. 118 Gin,” Elder says. “With its juniper, ginger and pepper notes, our gin is ideal for purists and cocktail enthusiasts alike. Still, it fills a need in the market for raw and vegan spirits. If gin is one of your favorite spirits, as it is mine, then you will love the depth of flavor and smooth finish O.R.E. 118 Gin offers, whether you are a vegan or an omnivore.”

O.R.E. 118 Gin uses a unique production method to create the product. Chardonnay grapes are the base material, which are then fermented and distilled multiple times under vacuum to create an eau-de-vie. Vacuum distillation is used to keep the temperature below 118 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas traditional methods of distillation take place at temperatures of 174 degrees Fahrenheit and above. A mixture of organic botanicals is then macerated in the eau-de-vie for 24 hours prior to the final distillation. Because this gin never reaches a temperature above 118 degrees Fahrenheit, the “Original Raw Essence” and delicious flavors of the fruit and botanicals are retained.

O.R.E. 118 Gin can be chilled and served straight up, showcasing its wonderful purity of flavor. However, “this signature flavor profile is also the reason it makes such exciting cocktails,” says Nikita Malhotra, beverage manager and sommelier for landmark New York City Restaurant Tribeca Grill.

O.R.E. 118 Gin can be found at well-known restaurants across New York City, including Nobu, Batard and Aquavit, and is currently featured on the cocktail lists at Candle 79 and Tribeca Grill. It is available for purchase at Crush Wine & Spirits and Mister Wright Fine Wine & Spirits, and is distributed by Opici Family Distributing.


Fast Facts:

  • America’s first raw vegan spirit (gin)
  • Base Spirit: Chardonnay grapes
  • Organic Botanicals: Italian juniper berries, black sesame seeds, green peppercorns, Kaffir lime leaves, ginger root, orris root
  • Tasting Note: A bright nose leads to a smooth, fresh taste and depth of flavor. Notes of pepper and ginger make it an ideal drink
  • for gin purists and cocktail enthusiasts alike.
  • Serving Suggestions:  Enjoy on its own, in a dry martini, or as a base for cocktails, including the Vegan Mary, Zengroni,
  • One Eightini, and The Oregano. Find recipes at
  • Suggested Retail Price: $34.99
  • Distributor: Opici Family Distributing – currently available in NY only


About 118 + 1st 

118 + 1st is a company born out of a love for hand-crafted spirits meant to be enjoyed with friends and family. It was founded by Robert Elder in 2017 and today each member of the Elder family plays a role in the company’s success: Michael and Rob Elder (sons), and Richard Elder (brother). The number 118 stands for the temperature – 118 degrees Fahrenheit – that differentiates raw foods from cooked foods. It also represents the street where Elder’s Italian grandparents lived in New York City; their brownstone was located on 118th street between 1st and Pleasant Avenues. In the cellar of the brownstone, Elder’s grandparents also made their own hand-crafted wine and spirits (grappa).  O.R.E. 118 Gin is the company’s inaugural product.


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