FINE FOOD, SPIRIT & WINE
gin for the win
The rise of new age Gin development.
From a 100 year old mulberry tree to a gallon of ants, these luxury spirits are made of the wildest ingredients with a wilder price tag.
- team luxe List
In honour of World Gin Day coming up on June 8th, London will be hosting an elaborate five day festival to celebrate the historically beloved drink. England’s long standing love affair with gin can be traced back to the 11th centaury when Italian monks sought to make a medicinal drink using Juniper, an analeptic herb.
Juniper, which forms the main ingredient in gin, was prescribed by doctors in the form of juniper tonic wines, for coughs, fevers and even stress. Sound familiar? The ‘Gin Craze,’ or so it was called, happened in 1689 when the king of England legalised the production of alcohol in all homes. By 1733, the average person was drinking 1.3 litres of gin per week. Over consumption of gin amongst mothers, who ended up neglecting their children, was particularly high. Thus gin became locally known as ‘the mother’s ruin.’
This brings us to the 21st centaury, where gin is globally appreciated, always on trend and… less likely to ruin motherhood.
Unlike whiskey and wine, gin does not need to be aged in a barrel or cellar for it to obtain its best quality. However, some of the most carefully produced gins involve years of distillation. Today, the surge in global producers of gin has increased the types and flavour profiles of the base spirit, the result is an amalgamation of flavour pairings in infinite combinations to choose from.
Each producer brings in their unique blend of botanicals from their native lands because ‘rarity’ in gin is mostly achieved through acquiring “rare or hard to source ingredients” which in turn affects the final price of the bottle.
Gin captures the botanical depth of natural ingredients & is popular choice for cocktail drinkers around the globe for its refreshing attributes and easy drinking style.
This, however, does not mean that a complex blend is the only way to assure a good quality gin. Master Distiller of the award-winning Archie Rose Distillery, Dave Withers offers a simple analogy to elucidate this point. He explains, “The way gin is made, most distilleries will approach their process the same way as crafting a perfume. If you were to take a perfume that had [all the scent notes] in there, you’d find that it wouldn’t smell nice.”
Rare and luxury gins, with its wide array of flavours to experiment with, are highly sought after and make for a special gift for seasoned collectors, new investors or enthusiastic mixologists. Be it for a negroni, martini or just a classic G&T, the following are some must have bottles to add to your bar:
Jam Jar Gin Morus LXIV
London based distillery, Jam Jar, released this limited edition liquor with a 64%ABV limit, to be sold exclusively at Harvey Nichols. Priced at £4,000 (S$7,050), this drink is twice the cost of what was formerly the world’s most expensive gin, Watenashi, for £2,000 (S$3,525).
This rare gin is considered to be the most valuable in the world, particularly because it is distilled from the leaves of a single 100-year old mulberry tree. Made in small batches, this drink has a flavour profile of intense juniper and citrus zest oil. The bottle itself is a statement of pure craftmanship with a porcelain vessel, cork, cotton paper labels and hide leather case.
Forager's Clogau Reserve Gin
A collaboration between Snowdonia Distillery and the jewellery brand Clogau, this liquor is made using water filtered from seams of gold near the Clogau mine. The sweet taste of juniper, sea buckthorn, cameo apple, elderberry, gorse flower and heather, hand foraged from the welsh mountains, is what will greet you at your first sip. Exquisite things come in small batches and this exquisite thing will cost you £200
Monkeys 47 Distillers Cut
In the gin business for over 5 decades, this drink sells in an array of flavours and styles. Pernod Ricard’s Gin Hub releases a brand new limited edition every year, with new flavours in small batches. Last year’s ultra-exclusive release was made of petals from the scarlet monarda flower, found in the Black Forest. These red petals add a bergamot flavour to the gin. Ideally enjoyed with one part gin and two parts tonic water, this delicious drink will cost you £150
Spring Gin Gentlemen's
Cut / Ladies Edition
Packed with 48% alcohol, up from their usual 38%, this drink is distilled a total of four times, the last one being with over a dozen juicy botanicals like angelica, orange blossom, rhubarb roots and pine nuts. This distillation process along with its blend of botanicals gives the drink a highly distinctive, soft taste with a wonderfully crisp finish.
As the name suggests, this collaboration from the minds of Cambridge Distillery and the Nordic Food Lab, is made from the essence of 62 wood ants from the forest of Kent. The red wood ant (Formica rufa) is a rich source of formic acid, and has a tangy, citrus taste. The drink also has notes of juniper, wood avens, nettle and Alexanders seeds Taking almost a year in the making for each batch, this juicy liquor will cost you an easy £220
We’re not all international. In the last two years, India has been going through, what many are calling, the gin revolution. A variety of different producers emerging from the Indian market have bringing in ancient herbs and botanicals, we are the land of spices after all. Mitali Tandon, founder of The Secret Gin Society says “Gin is an extremely versatile spirit. It’s easy on the palate and people enjoy discovering a brand’s story through its botanical choices, especially the ones that use locally sourced botanicals.” It’s easy to see why India is the 5th largest market for gin with its innovative use of himalayan botanicals and Indian aromatic ingredients. Here's our picks of top homegrown gins:
India's third gin to come to market, Stranger & Sons was launched in 2018 and produced in Goa using a blend of herbs from across the country. The drink which is only currently available in Goa, Pune and Mumbai, uses the classics like mace, juniper, liquorice, cassia and citrus peels.
Distilled at one of India’s oldest distilleries, Hapusa encapsulates the rich heritage and culture of Indian flavours. It is the first gin in the world made with indigenous Himalayan Juniper berries, created entirely with botanicals found in kitchens across India. The bold flavour palate comes through with the use of fresh turmeric, gondhoraj lime (Kaffir lime) and raw mango, which makes this an ideal evening drink to sip on.
Available only in Goa and Maharashtra, Pumori has big plans to expand pan india. A delicate and non-pungent gin that strikes a balance between London Dry and New Western Dry, Pumori was unveiled in 2020. Named after Mount Pumori, a Himalayan range of mountains. The flavours that greet you are a mix of Himalayan juniper, orange and lemon peel, cinnamon, vanilla and licorice.
True to its name, this drink is produced in the Terai region of India. Crafted completely using indigenous ingredients, it is distilled in the traditional one-shot process in a copper pot at the family-owned distillery in Rajasthan. Using 11 indegenous botanicals, one of them being orris root which is used for its depth and texture. This vibrant drink begins with lush green notes lifted by a citrus zest. This is followed by a characteristic floral bouquet and a sweet and piney juniper aroma.
Awarded the Best Gin Gold Medal 2020 by The Fifty Best, USA and also ranked Best in Asia 2019 by The Gin Guide Awards in UK, this drink is locally sourced and globally appreciated. Made from a blend of botanicals such as lemongrass, Darjeeling Green Tea and other native spices, the aim of producing this drink was to combine the luxury of Indian spices with the royalty of Indian culture. Carefully produced by triple-distillation in a neutral grain spirit and then re-distilled in a traditional copper pot -the recipe handcrafted in a time-honoured way. The gin is available in duty-free stores in India and in Delhi NCR and Goa.