January is a month of contradictions. While some people follow Dry January and abstain from alcohol, others hop on to its antithesis—Ginuary, a celebration of gin.
Gin is an alcoholic spirit made from the distillation of a base of grain, such as wheat, rice or barley, and derives its dominant flavours from aromatic botanicals, like juniper berries, citrus fruits and spices. Ginuary—a term that combines January and gin—is all about discovering the many kinds of this popular spirit in the first month of the year.
“Gin is all about what you enjoy, and the flavours that you are attracted to,” says Anjali Batra, co-founder of Gin Explorers Club (GEC), a first-of-its-kind gin festival in India.
Until a few years ago, gin accounted for a small share of the alcoholic beverage market in India. Today, India is one of the three fastest growing markets in the gin consumption space, according to Batra. She explains, “India is growing exponentially in establishing homegrown brands. When we (GEC) first started in 2018, we had about five gin brands, and not one of them was Indian. Today, there are close to 16 homegrown brands and several international ones. There is a massive amount of entrepreneurship in the gin sector and a lot of innovation.”
Gin is more than the consumption of the spirit, it represents a new lifestyle, according to Suri. “It's a lifestyle that boasts of versatility and experimentation, and that hunger for exploration is here to stay and massively grow”.
There is also a growing consciousness about what people consume, the calories in mixers and tonics, and the unique offerings of different flavours. There are several low calorie mixers available now
The concept of flavoured gins has witnessed a rise over the years in India. “We are now seeing limited edition blends being launched by different brands, such as No Sleep (coffee-infused gin) or Broken Bat (cricket bats made of Kashmir Willow soaked in gin) by Greater Than and three new flavours by Samsara.”
However, with increasing awareness of this spirit and its ingredients, there is a move toward artisanal gin. Batra predicts, "The future is artisanal gins. They are curated as small batches and the focus is on new recipes that are thoughtful and story-led with ingredients that are locally sourced.”
A list of four new gins that launched recently in India:
Gin Explorers Club will host their next event in Delhi from March 4th to 5th.
With inputs from Jahnabee Borah