Gin Want More
It’s time to be ‘gin’ all over again
“The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen’s lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the Empire.” – Winston Churchill
The gin bottle has well and truly shaken off the dust and ditched grandma’s cupboard. This movement from musty spirit to top dog has been felt the world over – and the pace at which gin has reinvented itself has been one of the most dramatic.
According to data from IWSR Drinks Market Analysis, “this much-hyped gin renaissance is not simply journalistic hyperbole”. The UK has a longstanding barometer of gin trends, its total gin consumption was over 6million nine-litre cases in 2018. “That figure is expected to rise to over 10million cases by 2023,” forecasts IWSR. “And, total global gin consumption is expected to rise 4.4% during the period 2018– 2023.”
The emergence of the craft gin movement has many of us pausing longer at the shelf, not just intent on picking out a pretty label, but one that dually combines a masterstroke of botanical balance and an authentic brand story.
“Globally the gin market is ever innovating – pink gin is no longer ‘niche’ – the spirits sector in general is diversifying rapidly to stay provenant. Gin makers are using local ingredients to deliver their own spin, and weave it into their story, doing it all sustainably – it’s a dynamic category to be in,” says Tony Burt of East Imperial, purveyors of premium mixers. “Tonics have followed suit because people are no longer looking for something to ‘mixin’. They want a mixer that balances flavour, heightens the botanicals, or compliments the citrus notes.”
Gert Taljaard of Clemengold Gin agrees it’s that balancing act we’re honing. “If you take a really top quality gin, such as Clemengold, and a really good quality mixer like East Imperial’s grapefruit soda, it’s really hard to get it wrong because you’re buying it right on both sides,” he explains. “You’re buying a really well crafted, carefully distilled gin with some amazing botanicals, and you’re adding in a smooth, herbaceous mixer that’s going to unlock the flavours in your gin and enhance the whole experience.”
Hitting the right notes
It’s that ‘unique’ experience that many of us are craving more than ever before, says Tony.
“Nowadays many of us are less about quantity and more about drinking to savour and enjoy. And, we’re health and wellness conscious, which is why gin and tonic fares so well. Whilst our products are not completely sugar free, they are low in sugar and made from all-natural ingredients. There’s a real focus on flavour and doing things well. And, for us, it’s not just tonics and sodas we’re reinventing either, we’ve also got a new Kima Kola coming out which features Madagascan sugar, vanilla and cinnamon notes to compliment dark spirits.”
Go another round
For those hesitant to reach out and jump onboard the craft gin train (maybe due to ghosts of gin drinking past), there’s no better time to wipe the slate clean and start over, says Gert, whose Clemengold has just won double gold at this year’s Berlin Intl Spirits Competition.
“The secret is not to be scared of sipping gin on its own, some of them are amazingly smooth and you actually get a sensation of the botanicals in the character of the gin,” he says. “My advice is to just forget it’s gin, pair it with a great mixer and don’t be scared to add a few garnishes. With Clemengold we often add orange and cinnamon or even thyme.”
And, dare yourself to give things a try because things are different these days, says Tony.
“We’ve had people who swore themselves off tonic due to the overpowering quinine then start drinking it again because ours is nothing like the stuff of old. It’s refined, it’s layered, it’s balanced – it tastes the way tonic should,” he says. “As makers, crafters, we’re coming up against increasingly sophisticated palates – people are interested in the locality, distillery process, the authenticity of what they are drinking. So, it’s essential we use quality products and botanicals that deliver on those expectations.”
And, don’t forget, gin isn’t bound to just tonic, says Gert. “We make a fantastic Elderflower Collins cocktail which is soda, elderflower syrup, mint leaf, gin and slice of lemon – you get an amazing clean sensation on your palate but you still get that beautiful flavour from the Clemengold. It really is citrus at its best!”
Go on, treat yourself – quench your thirst! East Imperial are gifting henry readers some special online purchasing power. Use the code ‘henry’ online for 15% off your first order. Visit www.eastimperial.nz
Celebrate summer with refreshing Clemengold Gin! Recieve 15% off your first order when you use promo code ‘henry’. Visit www.clemengoldgin.co.nz