1. Rum in Cambodia
Upon moving to Cambodia, native Venezuelans Antonio López de Haro and Daniel Pacheco were shocked that – despite the abundance of sugarcane and molasses – the country lacked its own rum distillery. Naturally, the pair did what had to be done and started Samai Distillery in 2014. “Sugarcane originates from Southeast Asia, so we are basically bringing rum back to its roots,” says López de Haro. While the facility’s production equipment is imported from overseas, all raw materials used in the distillation process are derived from Cambodian sources – including molasses from Koh Kong, honey from Ratanakiri and pepper from Kampot.
2. Limoncello in London
While London may not share southern Italy’s sunny climate, brothers James and Thom Elliot are creating what’s perhaps the best limoncello north of the Amalfi coast. Pococello’s version of the traditional Italian liqueur incorporates lemons shipped directly from Amalfi, combining them with premium-quality vodka from British distillery Chase. “Amalfi lemons are the best in the world because of the essential oils locked within their skin,” James explains, stressing that Pococello’s low sugar content – which allows the bright and tangy citrus flavour to shine through – sets it apart from the competition. Next up? Developing a ready-to-drink product.
3. Sake in New York
It was a fortuitous introduction at a mutual friend’s wedding in Japan – and a subsequent jaunt around the country exploring its sake breweries – that inspired Brian Polen and Brandon Doughan to open New York’s first sake distillery. Brooklyn Kura’s offering – which the pair calls American craft sake – is made using four deceptively simple ingredients: American-grown rice, Brooklyn water, koji and yeast. “We brew our sake with traditional methods… and an enthusiasm for experimentation,” Polen says. “When you step outside of the place a beverage originated from, you are immediately less constrained and end up making the product with a fresh perspective.”
4. Soju in the Netherlands
The Netherlands and South Korea may be on opposite sides of the globe, but that didn’t stop Wihayo co-founders Dylan Griffith and Nathalie Ji Yun Kranenburg from dreaming up Europe’s first triple-distilled premium soju. Created in partnership with Dutch distillery Herman Jansen, the product is made at the latter’s facility in Schiedam, where Japonica rice and malted barley are ground using a windmill that dates back to 1785. “The resulting craft spirit is big on the nose with aromas of malted cereal, walnut and meadowsweets,” Griffith says. Looking ahead, Wihayo eventually hopes to crack the United States and Asian markets.
5. Gin in Singapore
Singapore finally has its first gin distiller. Tanglin Gin co-founder Andy Hodgson aspired to create a gin that “feels like it’s been in Singapore for 50 or 100 years”. To do this, head distiller Tim Whitefield drew on the rich botanicals that characterise the city-state’s myriad of cultures – including juniper, amchoor (dried green mango powder), dried and powdered Dendrobium nobile orchid stem and whole vanilla beans. “It currently costs more per kilo than silver, but the flavour… makes it worth every dollar,” he says of the latter. The company is currently testing out a fresh mandarin and chilli gin and other new products. Watch this space.
Illustrations by Esther Goh
This article was originally published in the October 2018 issue of SilverKris magazine