India’s nascent gin-distilling scene is blossoming in Goa, where a crop of fresh craft brands are infusing the classic spirit with the flavors and scents of native botanicals.
Named for the Himalayan peak whose foothills provide the wild juniper berries that go into this small- batch gin, Pumori is the latest offering from Fullarton Distilleries, a family-run enterprise based in the woodlands of Candepar, North Goa. A dozen botanicals sourced from across India — aniseed, vanilla, licorice, nutmeg, and lemon peel among them — impart a complex flavor that is ideal for sipping on ice. pumorigin.com
Peak Spirits founder Ansh Khanna teamed up with Chicago-based sommelier Ken Fredrickson to produce this copper-pot distilled gin for the international market, with distribution in Singapore and Thailand slated for the first half of this year. Jin JiJi (the moniker is derived from the Hindi word jijivisha, meaning “lust for life”) gets its distinctive flavor profile from tulsi leaf, orris root, and cashew nuts, which grow abundantly in Goa. There’s also a tea-inspired Darjeeling variant with notes of orange pekoe and spices (ginger, clove, cardamom) usually associated with masala chai. fb.com/jinjijigin
The debut gin by Spaceman Spirits Lab in Margao counts Macedonian juniper among its 11 botanicals, but all other ingredients are handpicked in India, including hemp seed, blood oranges, cassia bark, angelica root, and vetiver grass. The result is a floral and citrusy spirit with a hint of spicy earthiness. samsaragin.com
Best known for its brandies and liqueurs, second-generation distillery Adinco ventured into the gin business last summer with the launch of Tickle, which plays up botanicals like Himalayan juniper, clove, orange peel, cinnamon, and black pepper grown at Adinco’s own estate on the banks of the Kushavati River. Expect a tangy, tropical aroma akin to raw mango, one of Goa’s most beloved fruits. adincodistilleries.com
This article originally appeared in the March/May 2021 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Juniper Rising”).