Traditional gin ingredients are fascinating and exotic.

In nearly all of my gin recipes, the Mediterranean juniper berry is the most important ingredient. The other ingredients have great names, such as sweet flag, grains of paradise, angelica root, and orris root. I had thought these ingredients would be hard to find, but I found almost everything I needed right here in Seattle at the Pike Place Market.

I started my search at World Spice, which is adjacent (actually on a street below) the Pike Place Market. The smells there are wonderful. They have Mediterranean juniper berries, from Italy, which are a rich deep purple and fragrant. Because World Spice did not have all of the ingredients I needed, I next visited Tenzing Momo.

Tenzing Momo is on the main level of the Pike Place Market down a short, slightly crooked, corridor. It is a truly tiny shop, with many, many jars of herbs and spices. The shelves were packed to the ceiling with these jars. I found what I needed here.

Orris root

The store clerk, who had unforgettable, clear, bright eyes, packaged roots, herbs, and spices in small brown paper bags that could not contain the great smells.

I bought a good quality vodka to serve as my neutral grain spirits, and have begun my experimentations. So far, so good.