Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’d know that gin—which was previously used for herbal medical purposes back in the 16th century—is back in fashion. Although it’s not quite used for the same purposes as it was before (plus we don’t have to scour speakeasies to get them), gin has made waves in the alcohol industry, thanks to its creative and experimental appeal, sought after by classic drinkers. With its botanical notes and flavours during distillation, distilleries are able to curate innovative tastes to appeal for different palettes. Whilst we may be familiar with the supermarket shelf classics, the rise in boutique brands has led to unique concoctions which can’t be found elsewhere. Here are our favourite artisan gins to add to a liqueur cupboard—and to craft the perfect G&T.
Perfume Trees Gin
As Hong Kong’s first gin created by a local, Perfume Trees Gin was founded by Kit Cheung and Joseph Cheung, a duo on a mission to capture the fission and fusion of the city’s colliding cultures. The lab is located in New Territories, and sources its ingredients from across the globe, including Morocco, Uzbekistan, France, and more, with botanicals ranging from orris root to grapefruit peels. White champaca, sandalwood, and floral and warm herbal notes are the main aromas of this artisan gin, whilst the taste uses a traditional gin base. The first note is tangerine peel, mid-nose, sandalwood and juniper berries, and longjin green tea to finish. Plus, the exquisite bottle design by local talent SellWords, lends a sophisticated appeal to any household.
Aqua Nordics: Ägräs Distillery
Hailing from Finland, Aqua Nordics is a newly-launched alcohol distributor in Hong Kong, focusing on small-batch Nordic and Finnish craft alcohol, including its infamous gin collection. Taste the divine flavours behind the seasonal variations from the Northwestern regions, blessed with forest, lake, field, and swap. There are over 188,000 lakes in Finland—plus the aurora borealis and exotic saunas—all of which are captured in the essence of the brand. Ägräs Distillery products are handcrafted in Fiskars, the village of art and design located in the Southern part of Finland. Named after the mythological God of Vegetation, the brand comprises native herbs and berries which are celebrated in the region. Only Finnish ingredients are selected for the production of Ägräs Akvavit, Ägräs Gin, and Abloom Gin.
Ägräs Abloom Gin represents the artistic heart and soul of the Fiskars village, and is pot-distilled with Finnish juniper berries, wild angelica, red
clover, caraway, Finnish honey and hibiscus. Abloom Gin is both a craft gin and an art gin which is now in collaboration with galleries across Hong Kong.
Ägräs Gin embraces the scent of fresh herbs and berries with meticulous capturing of each ingredient’s rich essence. Infused with arch angelica, clover, juniper berries and citrus, the four botanicals in this gin make it an eco-gin with divine smoothness.
Hong Kong Craft Distilling Co. was launched in Hong Kong as the first licensed craft distillery in town, aiming to build a community that appreciates craft spirits, the first venture being gin—thus, N.I.P was born. As a true Hong Kong spirit, N.I.P was created by Nic and Jeremy, the founders, who wanted to capture the rich heritage and flavours of the city. The gin is distilled in a copper pot-column distillation system custom-made in Germany by Christian Carl, a longstanding manufacturer of distillation systems. The N.I.P. Gin is created using 21 different botanicals ranging from traditional botanicals of distilled gin to unique flavours from the city, including chenpi and shoumei tea leaves, to name a few.
Read also: The Best Independent Boutiques in Hong Kong
Martin Miller’s London Dry Gin
Created in 1999 by gin enthusiast Martin Miller, Martin Miller’s London Dry Gin is a classic palette of gin botanicals—juniper, cassia, orris root, angelica, liquorice root and coriander, combined with dried citrus peels, lemon, bitter orange, and lime. Designed for the discerning drinker, this gin is crafted in small, single batches inside the pristine walls of a copper
pot still designed by John Dore & Company in 1903. One of the most unique aspects of this gin is the use of Icelandic spring water to blend the gins to strength—the water is purest in the world and gives the brands it
soft bouquet and mouthfeel.
Two Moons Distillery
Founded in 2017 by Luna, Two Moons Distillery is a craft gin company named after its moon-shaped helmet, paying tribute to the Earth’s second moon where one can find spirits hidden in the depths of her copper craters. As Hong Kong’s first micro-distillery, the company is also founded by the first woman distiller in the country—an exciting milestone. Try the premium craft gins in the comfort of your own home, and if you get the Signature Gin Tasting set, you can use the custom coaster and glass too.
Peddler’s Gin Co
Born on the streets of Shanghai, Peddler’s Gin Co escapes the hustle of the city and brings an adventurous craft gin made with ingredients from the West and the Far East. Discerning drinkers can choose between the Shanghai Gin and the Barrel Aged Gin, both award-winners from the San Fran World Spirits Awards. The flavour profile comprises organic botanicals foraged from Sichuan, Yunnan, Xinjiang and Gansu, with notes of Sichuan pepper, Buddha’s hand, lotus flower, Xinjiang almonds, and more.
“Discover, Try & Buy” new gins with Ginsanity, a subscription service which initially started as a festival, before launching into its own Gin Club. Every month, Ginsanity delivers an exclusive new gin to its members, allowing room to discover new gins from around the world. Each subscription comes with tonic and cocktail suggestions, and a few tokens from distilleries and Ginsanity. Boxes are delivered prior to the first Friday of every month and offer free delivery.
Working with The London Distillery Company, Gweilo has ventured into the gin department with its own developed gin recipe. The expert distillery curated its flavours using Mosaic, a lead hop from the brand’s signature pale ale. Combined with Yuzu lemon, the drink is rounded off with aromatic juniper, lime, and spices. Gweilo Gin uses a citrus-forward flavour profile, complemented with undertones of tropical fruits, juniper, and pine.
The Hong Kong Gin Company pays tribute to the city with its Bauhinia Gin curation, a premium London dry gin, distilled from the finest natural botanicals and united with, of course, the bauhinia flower for an exotic, unique flavour. Made in small batches, the refreshing gins are best served with fruity concoctions, and makes an aromatic remedy for weekend gatherings.
As the crispest, cleanest, and most natural tonic water, Fever Tree has long been a gin drinker’s favourite, celebrated for its quality appeal. The brand works with the best naturally-sourced ingredients from around the world, using no artificial flavourings or sweeteners to create mixers that do justice to the world’s finest spirits. Founded in London in 2004, the premium tonic water is sought-after by premium bars and restaurants across the globe as a mixer to gins—order yours home to curate the experience at home for your next G&T. The Elderflower Tonic Water and the Premium Indian Tonic Water are particular favourites. Order yours through Metabev, Hong Kong’s Fever Tree distributor.
Aqua Nordics: VEEN Nordic Mixers
Nordic Mixers was created in partnership between VEEN and A21 Helsinki, the latter nominated the best bar in the world. The brand was derived from two concepts—premium water from the wilderness of Finnish Lapland and mixology masterminds from downtown Helsinki. Explore the luxe range of mixers which include Bitter Lemon, Ginger Ale, Soda Water, and Tonic Water. If you want to change it up from gin tonics, try the Ägräs Akvavit or the Terwa Pine Tar Liqueur, as an alternative spirit.