Text: Monty Sally

Jenever has travelled a long way from its origins in Holland in the 11th Century where distilled malt wine was made palatable using Juniper Berries. From its blasé medicinal liquor days in Europe, Gin has found its way to aamchi Goa and that too in a myriad avatars, as the gin today is not Just juniper but an assemblage of botanicals, spice, floral and fruit notes combined with such finesse to play like a symphony on your palette. The dual state of mind “Goa” from its nocturnal wild club scene to its susegad sacada noon’s has enamoured many a Gin manufacturer to set shop and create magic with spirits. Here are some cheers to the noteworthy “Gin in our Vicinity”.

Satiwa: Let us start the list with a high as high as the hills in Uttarakhand where the Organic hemp for this Gin comes from. Painstakingly developed with an experimentation period of eight months, this heady brew has found harmony with botanicals such as juniper, black pepper, rose petals, lemongrass and fennel. A product of Naveen Distilleries in Margao this nutty and spicy spirit with a hint of citrus and sweet fruit topped with a soft note of lemongrass promises a “happy high”. 

Samsara:  A Indian Craft Gin that leans towards a more holistic view, concepts like self expression, Curiosity and wanderlust and aims to release a thirst for exploration. This méthodeLondon Dry traverses the gin-verse as it dances with 11 botanicals which include hemp seeds, rose petals, vetiver grass, green cardamom and juniper berries to draw out floral, Citrusy and a lilt of Earthy. Crafted at Spaceman Spirits lab Pvt. Ltd Margao, Samsara persuades you to embrace your within and without as you pour out this “free Spirited” liquid.

Pumori: Great things come in small sizes or let me be more precise small batches. This is the story of Pumori, a gin christened after the snow-capped Mt. Pumori the “Daughter of The Everest”. This award-winning small 200-litre batch gin is meticulously hand crafted by weaving native botanicals cinnamon, cardamom, liquorice, orange peel, lemon peel, coriander seeds, rosemary, nutmeg, aniseed, almond, vanilla and importantly Himalayan Juniper. Perhaps it’s the Candepar woodlands that surround the Fullerton Distilleries that inspires the Gin to exude earthy, floral and herbaceous vibes which come full circle with citrus and spice aromas.

Doja: This premium gin boasts of two distinct cultures a mix of opulence and minimalism. Botanicals from Indian-scapes and Japan’s Wayakama Prefecture meld into the perfect sip. Doja has a yuzu dominant base with hints of Cedar Hinoki and Sansho pepper combining seamlessly with Indian sourced Botanicals into a heavenly distillation. This artisanal Indo-Japanese Gin holds within its confines two cultures in a constant state of flux embracing both the traditional and the contemporary. Producing this Trailblazing Indo-Japanese Gin is East Side Distillery Margao, Doja’s citrusy yuzu lemon and Juniper notes are intense on the palate and Promise to deliver the best of two worlds.

Sequer: Being susegad and a penchant for blue that’s Goa for you. Packed in a blue stout Bottle Sequer is an embodiment of the Goan Ethos. Formulated family distillery in Raia, owned by Spirit de Goa, this brand of Gin pulls no punches in unabashedly announcing “we are Goa”, even adding cashew as a botanical besides the usual juniper, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and rosemary. Sequer has Juniper, Nutmeg and the freshness of Rosemary.  Mild and herby with notes of cardamom with the kiss of orange peel Sequer is Goa in a Bottle.

Jin Jiji: A Gin that captures the halcyon bliss of India of yore by envisaging and creating a gin that aims to embrace tranquillity and inner happiness. In its purpose to capture and manifest the spirit of a nation, Jin Jiji India Dry Gin has at its heart wild Juniper foraged in the Himalayan Ranges and as an ode to the subcontinent it has used holy basil or “Tulsi” as we all know it. Crafted in copper Pot still’s by High Road Spirits in Goa, botanicals like Chamomile flower, angelica root, orris root, coriander seed, black tea, and cashew nut join the mix to imbibe the soul of India.

Tickle: How do you source a gin that tickles your fancy, Tickle is a Juniper forward Gin with a lingering taste of raw mango to give it a benign pickle like bite. Aimed at the ladies and created by a woman Master distiller using cold pressed techniques to extract maximum flavour out of the botanicals.  Juniper, orange peel, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander seeds, and even black pepper grown in the factory plantation of Adinco Distilleries Goa, all find space in the bottle. Memories of youth burst forth as you are hit with the aroma of Raw Mango as pepper and cardamom notes play on your palate.

Matinee: Who is crazy enough to flip the botanical game on Gin, that would be the mademoiselle’s at Matinee Gin. The duo has decided to move outside the safe environs of just the usual botanicals to include new botanicals in the Gin sipping Game like white turmeric, snake saffron, Kagazi lime, and Goan Peppercorns. 42 individual distillations result in a burst of freshness with a dash of earthiness, a citrus zing with a smidgen of spice. With the search for newer botanical twists still on don’t go anywhere “picture abhi baaki hai mere dost”.

Tamras: Remembering the Idyllic village of Colvale makes me feel nostalgic; the old Goan feel is not totally lost even with the Highway screaming through. In this village, Adventurist Spirits Distillery hand crafts a Slow distilled Tamras Gin with individual botanical distillates. This enables the use of whole fruit citrus harvested only in winter and delicate botanicals like Nilgiri tea and Indian mint. This assiduous procedure using the small batch Müeller copper still creates a gin with layered notes, fresh sweet citrus notes with spicy layers of juniper, coriander and cardamom. One can book a visit to this distillery for a gin odyssey with Odysseus.

Greater than: The Gin brand that opened the floodgates of the Gin market for other gin brands in India; the first craft gin of India was produced in Goa. The Gin-aissance finally reached our shores. Greater Than, a London Dry Gin, made uses some of the best botanicals from around the globe. Distilled in a Copper Pot Still his “citrus rich” gin besides Juniper has coriander seeds, Angelica and orris roots, ginger, lemongrass, fennel, chamomile and orange peels. Produced by Nao spirits this gin has Juniper and the freshness of lemon on the nose and closes with a zing of Ginger.

Looking for that Gin sais quoi in your sip, pick up a bottle Gin and start your journey with brands closer to home. Pour a small and say Chin Chin or Gin Gin.

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Author: Planet Goa Team
For us at Planet-Goa, our team is driven by that feeling of exhilaration that one gets when discovering that something ‘unique’ and ‘new’ about Goa for our ever-so-discerning readers.

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