After a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19, the annual Gin and Juice marketplace returned in person Sunday afternoon, featuring hometown vendors, drinks sampling, live music and an art gallery in Long Beach’s California Heights neighborhood.
Taking over a business corridor near the corner of Wardlow Road and Lemon Avenue, “Gin and Juice: Mi Vida Local Marketplace” showcased locally sourced gin from Wille’s Tin Shop, one of the city’s few distilleries.
Distiller Forrest Cokely of Wille’s Tin Shop said because gin was “unfairly looked down upon” as an alcoholic beverage of choice, he and his partners for the event aimed to use gin’s flavorful “cocktail power” in a way that’s interesting, rewarding and informative to customers.
Playing on Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice,” organizers also sought to bring a celebration of Long Beach culture including hallmarks such as VIP Records as a vendor and Santeria, a Sublime tribute band, as a performer.
Patron Vanessa Peralez said that cocktail culture is very tight-knit and creative nowadays as bartenders try to elevate their drinks.
“It’s very creative,” she said. “It’s like cooking.”