Stock up on spiced gin this Christmas.
It would be unbecoming for well-wishers to celebrate Christmas without a touch of spices. Mulled wine is a traditional beverage infused with cinnamon, star anise and clove. This tepid concoction soothes frigid extremities during the merciless height of winter, much like a scorching furnace or a masonry fireplace. Granted Malaysia isn’t blessed with such extreme climate, you can still recreate that wistful feeling with the right decoration – and drinks in hand. Warm the cockles of the heart with the finest selection of spiced gin and more.
Spiced gin, luxury sake and extraordinary Syrian wine for your Christmas 2021 celebration:
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Hailing from Sweden, a Scandinavian country bordering the rumoured residence of Santa Claus, Hernö has been amassing a cabinet of accolades thanks to its range of gins ferociously nodding to the London Dry expression. With the Pink BTL Gin, Hernö raises the ante with extra-seductive floral and citrusy notes delivered by pink botanicals in the shape of strawberries and rose petals. Fresher, spicier and more juniper-forward than a typical gin, this unique expression is also rounder and smoother thanks to its meticulous distillation process.
Wholly Spirits, a Malaysian retailer of Hernö, recently inaugurated a gin subscription programme. You will receive a curated box comprising a selected gin, mixers and garnishes. Lasting 3, 6 or 9 month, the Gin Box costs RM350, while the Gin Box+ is priced at RM450.
What a brilliant way to kick start Christmas 2021, no?
This artisanal gin distilled in Belgium, the present home of Malaysia’s first independent whisky bottler Eiling Lim, is a symphony of zesty, piney flavours. Although closely related to turmeric and ginger, galangal is sweeter, more palatable and less medicinal. Other spices infused into the gin include juniper, cardamom, coriander, orris root, cinchona and black pepper. It is part of a series comprising the Nasty Nangka Gin and Pandan Predator Gin.
Highly rated and inexpensive, Darnley’s take on spiced gin revolves around exotic botanicals sourced from all corners of the globe – as far as Africa and as romantic as China. A contemporary interpretation of London Dry, the Spiced Gin oozes exquisiteness thanks to 10 botanicals working in concert. Pine, citrus and spices punctuate the nose, before herbs and pepper emerge from the depth. Skip tonic and pair this with ginger ale to elevate the overall aromatics.
Reflective of its Kyoto roots, the Sei expression by Ki No Bi is an exposition of Japanese botanicals finished in navy strength. At 54.5% ABV, this gin is unlike anything you have tasted before. The fulcrum comprises 11 botanicals distilled in six distinct flavour categories, yielding complexity and breadth of flavour. The base revolves around juniper, orris and hinoki, while yuzu, lemon, Sanshō pepper and kinome impart a unique flavour that can be described as oriental and spicy.
Touted as the world’s most dangerous wine, you would have to live life as a hermit in the past decade to not know why this Syrian vineyard is recognised as such. Mediterranean in style, Bargylus combines bold flavour with freshness and minerality to tussle with the best wine from continental Europe. Terroir is only a small facet; uncertain times and logistics challenges during production make any wine from Bargylus an intriguing addition to the cellar. Try the organic Domaine de Bargylus White, blended from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc berries. Fresh, fruity and mineral, the wine straddles sweet and saline thanks to ample sunlight and a chalky soil.
Founded by ex-Dom Perignon winemaker Richard Geoffroy, the Assemblage 2 is an orchestra of 5 elements and principles of Iwa. Yielded from 3 types of sake rice sourced from select prefectures, made with 5 strains of yeast adhering to the Kimoto tradition, matured for complexity, richness and balance, this sake exudes finesse and poise at various degrees it is served. Restrained and floral at 10ºC, while ample and mineral at 18ºC, this Junmai Daiginjo sake is a luxurious treat for Christmas 2021.
A world’s first for sake, the maiden blend crafted by aromatic science pioneer and wine expert François Chartier is a harmonious coalescence beating the heart of Junmai and personifying the spirit of wine. The secret to the layered, nuanced sensorial experience lies in the unique brewing, blending and ageing process. The final blended sake is a culmination of 11 distinctive types of sake, each made from different rice, polished at various ratios and aged in tanks in excess of 12 months. One for the cellar, the sake is judged to possess continuous ageing potential. Robust and savoury, the sake exudes Sauvignon Blanc-esque fresh, sedgy mouthfeel and aroma at temperatures of low 10s, transitioning into a full, creamy bouquet evocative of Chardonnay at 20s.
All images by respective brands