The Indian gin landscape has been blooming the past few years, and we’ve spoken about it here. Evolving with every drink, the gin market has seen new brands taking over the bar business. Here are 6 homegrown gin brands you need to add to your list.
India in a bottle is how I’d describe Terai. From Karnataka to Rajasthan, Delhi to the Himalayas, you have it all in there. The gin carries notes that are typically a favourite for anyone who grown up on Indian cuisine–spice, citrus, nutty, and a hint of sweet–you name it and you’ve got it. As many as 11 botanicals make up this craft gin, which is distilled in Behror, Rajasthan and the ingredients are procured expressly from Delhi’s famous spice market, Khari Baoli.
This London dry gin is made with tulsi, coriander, lavender, rose, fennel, lemon and orange peels, almond, angelica and orris roots, and of course, juniper berries. The experience doesn’t stop at the taste, their design has also been curated with much thought. While bottles are an ode to pillars of ancient Indian architecture, creating a play of light and shadow through their angles; the crown is made using Channapatna, an Indian handicraft from the eponymous town in Karnataka, and coloured in the shades of Terai.
What is Terai? It’s ‘the strip of fertile marshland running along the foothills of the Himalayas. Watered by springs, these valleys conjure notions of being lush, bountiful and fresh’ as the makers share, and of course, also the inspiration behind the name. Moreover, the label constitutes most of the botanicals within itself, making a single bottle an immersive experience. Needless to say, this is one launch I’m waiting for.
An Indian dry gin, this one’s based out of Goa. However, the Himalayas play a role here too, with the botanicals being sourced from there. A quirky label and a fun bottle, this one will be grabbing eyeballs. And the equally interesting name is derived from ‘jijivisha’, a Hindi word alluding to ‘lust for life’. The gin’s foundation lays in ‘a desire to spread happiness and positivity in the world’ as the distillers have shared on their Instagram.
The unique flavouring of this gin is what makes it one to look out for–Jin Jiji is the only gin in the world to use cashew nut as one of its botanicals. While they use diverse botanicals from all over India, the Himalayan juniper berry is the star ingredient. One of the few gins to use Indian juniper berries, the atypical ingredients is what makes this one a gin to try.
By the folks at Spaceman Spirits Lab, Samsara has hints of sweet, mild spice, and citrus. These are derived from 11 botanicals, consisting of angelica root, rose, orange, cardamom, and coriander. Taking inspiration for the exploratory, wandering human soul, they’ve titled it ‘Samsara’, a Sanskrit word that means ‘the world’. “We Want the drinking experience to be pure, transparent, simple, and authentic. We strive to make India the new hub for alco-bev innovation” they say on their Instagram. And that in itself is a promise one would like to see materialise with this new launch.
India’s first hemp craft gin is enough to put GinGin on your must-try list. Their nine botanicals comprise some which are away from the usual–Himalayan juniper, caraway seeds, rosemary, cinnamon, lavender, coriander, butterfly pea flower, and the one making the most noise, hemp. Of course, it is the non-intoxicating category of the cannabis plant (the other being marijuana), and you’re free to sip with no consequences except for the interesting flavour profile it adds. As GinGin shares, hemp has been a part of Indian Ayurveda for thousands of years, its savoury taste brings along benefits of vitamin E, calcium, iron, zinc, and many other minerals–perhaps a #notguily addition to healthy diets then! Available in Goa at the moment, it will soon enter other cities.
This one comes from Adinco distillery, the makers of the coconut rum, Cadebo. The juniper is paired with black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, coriander seeds, orange peels, and cloves, lending the gin a spice-led profile. For those who like their juniper, the Himalayan juniper is the foremost taste note in this bottle–and that makes it one to try as the foundation ingredient is given space to shine. And the hints of citrus help reimagine the tropical Goa, which is always a good idea. At the moment Tickle is available in Goa.
Celebrating the origin of their juniper, Pumori is an ode to Mount Pumori, a mountain close to Mt. Everest in the Himalayan region, also called ‘daughter of the Everest’. “Pumori represents the unyielding quest for a fleeting moment of serenity and perfection…it aims to transcend dimensions, bringing the calm to the actual state of your being,” the makers have said. They’re also the ones behind Woodburns Whisky, and are only making 200 ml bottles of this small batch gin. This one is a bouquet of taste notes, from citrus to herbs, nutty to vanilla, seems like it was will open up in layers as you savour the sip. Expect lemon, orange, coriander seeds, rosemary, cinnamon, aniseed, nutmeg, cardamom, liquorice, vanilla, and almonds in this small bottle. Currently available in Goa, it’s coming to Mumbai soon.
All images: Courtesy brands