Let's agree - India has experienced a gin revolution in the past few years. We have seen the Indian gin landscape blooming like never before. What used to be the tiniest section on the bar menu has now taken over the country with an endless list. So much so that today you will find at least one fine bottle of a gin in everyone's collection. This has subsequently paved the way for more and more Indian brands to come up with their inventions, conquering the Indian gin market. The main ingredient in the gin-making process is juniper berries, which are grown in India in a moderate amount. While some brands use Indian ones, most of the others source them from Europe. But having said that, what makes Indian gins stand out in the lot is the use of some interesting botanicals. The brands use various herbs and spices including clove, turmeric, coriander, orange peel, hemp and more, revolutionising the whole idea of gin concoction.
We bring you some of our favourite homegrown gin brands that are creating a buzz in the Indian gin market. Read on to know our recommendations.
Here Are 8 Gin Brands That Promise to Delight Your Senses - NDTV Food's Recommendations:
1. Short Story Gin:
If you are looking to taste something new and fresh, then Short Story Gin is a must-try. Launched in September 2022, this home-grown brand offers triple-distilled classic London dry gin with a juniper backbone. It is currently available in Mumbai, Goa, Delhi and Bangalore.
Preferred concoction: Short Story - 30 ml, tonic water - 100 ml, garnish: a slice of ginger, cucumber, green chilli
2. Stranger And Sons:
Owing to its unique botanical makeup, Stranger & Sons has a three-dimensional flavour profile. The citrus peels give the gin a beautiful freshness on the front palate, which is rounded off with a robust blend of warm spices including black pepper, mace, nutmeg and coriander that give it a strong spiced middle. Liquorice, cassia bark and mace make the finishing flourish smooth, earthy and sweet. The brand was declared one of the eight best gins in the world by the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2020. Later, it also made its position in the Asian Spirit Masters 2021 list.
Preferred concoction: Stranger & Sons - 45 ml, Indian tonic water - 120 ml, garnish: a slice of ginger
3. Greater Than:
Greater Than by NAO Spirits is the first craft gin and London Dry gin made in India. The white spirit made with botanicals sourced from all across the world tastes of clean juniper, with fresh lemon peel on the nose and a zing of ginger on the finish, making it perhaps the perfect summer spirit. Besides, the concoction is also dominated by some popular Indian flavours including coriander, fennel seeds, chamomile and lemongrass.
Preferred concoction: Greater Than - 30 ml, Indian tonic water - 100 ml, garnish: kefir lime or gondhoraj lemon wedge
Another variant by the NAO Spirits, Hapusa, meaning Juniper in Sanskrit, is the first Indian gin to be made with the Himalayan juniper berry. The untamed flavour and aroma of the juniper triumphs in the gin and is further complemented by other indigenous botanicals such as the gondhoraj lime, fresh turmeric, raw mango, ginger, cardamom, almond and coriander seeds. Found near the snow line in the Himalayas, the elusive Juniper Berries provide a beautiful structure to the gin, while the turmeric and the delectable raw mango make Hapusa a unique contemporary gin.
Preferred concoction: Hapusa - 45 ml (chilled for two hours), topped with ice
What we enjoy the most about this London dry gin is it resonates with every flavour and aroma we have grown up with. Sweet, citric and nutty - Terai offers an amazing balance of multiple flavours in a glass. It is handcrafted in Rajasthan by Swarups of Globus Spirits and includes as many as 11 herbs and spices, majorly procured from Khari Baoli - the famous spice market in Delhi. Besides juniper berries, the herbs used in a bottle of Terai include coriander, lavender, rose, orange peels, lemon peels, tulsi, orris roots and more. That's not all, Terai also comes in an interesting bottle that is designed to resemble the pillars of the ancient Indian Temples.
Preferred concoction: Terai - 60 ml, Campari -30 ml (preferably chilled), Sweet vermouth - 30 ml (preferably chilled)
We say GinGin is a must-try! Created by 25-year-old distiller Shubham Khanna, GinGin brands itself as the only single-shot distilled hemp gin in India. It includes nine botanicals including the usual Himalayan juniper berries. The addition of butterfly pea flowers, cinnamon, lavender, rosemary, caraway seeds etc makes the drink one-of-a-kind. And fret not, the hemp used here is non-intoxicating. So drink to glory!
Preferred concoction: GinGin - 45ml, topped with ice
7. Hayman's Old Tom Gin
Hayman's Old Tom Gin is a classic gem that brings back the good ol' 18th-century vibes. Made the old-school way, it's like a sip of history in a glass. Packed with ten awesome botanicals, like juniper, coriander, and orange peel, this gin gives you the real Old Tom feel. Back in the day, this was the go-to London Gin for their family, and guess what? It still rocks in cocktails like Martinez, Tom Collins, and Ramos Gin Fizz. The secret family recipe delivers a tangy juniper punch with a smooth, subtle sweetness. It's the perfect pick for a fabulously flavoursome Gin and tonic. Get ready to be pleasantly surprised!
8. Happiness in a Bottle
Check out the "Happiness in a Bottle: A Happily Crafted Gin" collection with three delightful variants: Joy of Juniper, Joy of Pink, and Joy of Citrus. Each variant offers a unique and captivating flavour experience. The "Joy of Juniper" boasts a juniper-forward taste with a hint of ashwagandha, while the "Joy of Pink" combines a luscious blend of strawberry, pink grapefruit, lychee, rose petals, pink pepper, hibiscus flower, ashwagandha, and cinnamon, all beautifully infused to create a delightful pink hue. For a refreshing twist, try the "Joy of Citrus," featuring the invigorating flavours of Gandharaj lemon, grapefruit, lemon leaf, ashwagandha, and juniper berries.
Try these home-grown gins and let us know which one you liked the most.