Samira Sheth discovers the spirit behind the gin wave sweeping the country, beginning with two new craft distilleries based right here in Goa!

WHILE craft distilleries have witnessed a boom in the last few years across India, the spirits landscape has mainly seen a host of breweries popping up across the country. A variety of craft beers has been and continues to be introduced into the market. And yet interestingly there has also been a move into a completely different area – that of gin.

India’s own history as the birthplace of the iconic gin and tonic (the Britishers took to tonic to ward off malaria and then mixed it with gin to make it more palatable) is seeing a revival with the sudden interest in gin drinking across the country. More people are drinking gin and there are more gins available to drink as well thanks largely to a couple of exciting new boutique distilleries that have opened up. There are also more innovative ways of drinking the versatile spirit. The “ginaissance” the world witnessed in 2015 is now well underway in India as well. Now people here seem eager to try new things and partake in the gin culture around the world. In India, a market dominated by IMFL or Indian Made Foreign Liquor, most spirits are a result of flavouring/blending/colouring added to plain molasses.

Owner co-founder of a couple of bars and restaurants Anand Virmani wondered, “Why can’t we as Indian bar owners serve a quality gin product that is truly Indian and flavoured with our spices” and equally why spirits “had foreign brands riding on the India story including Jodhpur Gin and Jaisalmer Gin and Bombay Sapphire and so on” but none that really had anything to do with India. After a fairly long process of getting nowhere trying to find someone to make a good quality gin here, he together with co-founders Aparajita Ninan and Vaibhav Singh decided to try their hand at making one themselves! And so Nao Spirits was born. A copper pot still was bought, installed in a shed on a friend’s property, distilling knowledge was gained under the guidance of UK based expert distiller Anne Brock and the cheeky Greater Than, India’s first craft gin was launched in 2017.

A good gin for any day of the week, with juniper berries from Macedonia and Indian undertones of coriander, fennel and ginger, the citrus forward Greater Than is a classic London Dry Gin that “makes a good starting point into the world of gin drinking,”-

Anand Virmani, Nao Spirits

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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