In recent years, the spirit has attracted a new clientele in India. On World Gin Day, experts decipher the big trends that are here to stay
G&T of the American Saz Brewery; (right) Lychee tonic by Salt Water Café
The serious gin drinker
Gin maker Anand Virmani, co-creator of Greater Than and Hapusa, believes this is an exciting time for the industry, with spirit gaining prominence. “We’re definitely going to see a lot more limited edition gins coming out and more experimentation from distillers,” he says. Meanwhile, bartenders will also be playing with gin-based concepts.
Anand Virmani at the distillery
Over the past couple of years, drinkers have been experimenting with gin at home. Virmani is keen to watch what happens now that bars are opening and people are drinking again. “I think the expectations of a cocktail are much higher now because people have more knowledge about these drinks,” he explains. As palates and lifestyle choices evolve, there’s a shift from classic G&T to gin on the rocks, gin soda and the martini, which he calls a “serious gin drink.” For these discerning drinkers, brands will create more sustainable gin experiences, especially in the home drinking space. “[With DIY kits and cocktail mixes] the idea is to get people to replicate these drinks for the rest of their lives, not just a one-time party ride,” he adds.
Expand the plant bank
The great thing about gin is that it’s customizable, points out Karina Agarwal, vice president of TERAI, an Indian craft gin. “We’ve almost made it a ritual of how we drink gin – whether it’s with tonic, mixers, infusions or syrups. So there’s more investment in your drink rather than just opening a bottle of beer,” she explains, highlighting why alcohol is growing in popularity. Going forward, the revival of Indian gin will see a focus on more indigenous ingredients, she says, be it different types of fruits, spices or vegetables. “The herbal bank is going to expand and we’ll also see a lot of flavor mixers come into play, whether in the form of flavored tonics or sodas, iced teas and botanical waters.”
Gin on the go
With an increase in boutique gin options, gin drinkers are likely to be more vocal for locals, says Dhruv Sachdeva, bar manager, Perch Wine & Coffee Bar. He predicts an era of flavored gins. “People will be interested in drinking gin not just at a bar, but also pouring themselves a drink at home. Flavored gins make life easier, especially when, for example, you are having a house party and you would like to make a cocktail but you need a lot of ingredients,” he explains. The gin market will also see the rise of more and more pre-bottled gin and tonics. “Just chill it and consume it. Plus, the DIY cocktail trend is also here to stay,” notes Sachdeva.
With the boom in the Indian craft gin scene, there has been an evolution in the tonic water space as well, shares Nilesh Patel, Head of Beverages (West), Impresario Handmade Restaurants. “Before it was only Schweppes, then Svami, Jade Forest and many others experimenting with flavored tonic waters such as elderflower, grapefruit, jamun and more,” he informs us. . The mixologist observes that Indian spices occupy a central place in the culture of gin. Boutique gin distillers use Indian botanicals as their base flavoring agent, and pairing these gins with Indian bar spices is a great choice.
Gin on the menu
. Perch stages a bar takeover with Greater Than, inspired by English artist William Hogarth’s Gin Lane (1751), a work published in conjunction with Beer Street during a campaign against the uncontrolled production and sale of good gin market. The atmosphere at the pub restaurant will be much less morbid, with new cocktails and interactive entertainment. But if you want to mix your own drink, get your hands on a box of gin (pictured, above) that they collaborated with Hapusa to create; it includes a bottle of gin, recipe cards, tonic, gondhoraj cordial, camphor syrup, orange slices and more.
ON Today, from 8 p.m.
AT 12 Union Park, Khar West.
COST Rs 6,006 (box of gin)
.At the Salt Water Café, indulge in cocktails such as lychee tonic, sage smash, gimlet and cold brew, with Tanqueray taking over the bar.
Until today, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
At Rose Minar, Chapel Road, Bandra West.
.Think you know your gin? Svami is back with the third edition of Gin Drinker of the Year which will see a virtual happy hour with gin distillers, followed by a quiz.
From June 11, from 6:30 p.m.
LOGIN ON svamidrinks.com
.Build your own G&T at Saz American Brasserie, with the spirit and brew of your choice. Transform the bartender and also choose your own topping and tonic.
ON Today and tomorrow; 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Ground floor, Jio World Drive, BKC.
Discover the passion for citrus fruits, refresh your soil, gin up (inset) and other cocktails at Smoke House Deli’s Gin-Dig celebrations.
UNTIL June 11, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. AT BKC,
Colaba, Pali Hill and Lower Parel.
.Jamjar has curated a new month-long special gin menu featuring Basil Smash, Big Sunset, Red Rider and more.
UNTIL July 15, from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.
In Versova and Bandra.