It goes without saying that gin is one of the trendiest drinks around. For evidence of that, you only need to look at one of the world’s best bars: Atlas, at Parkview Square in Singapore. When it was ranked eighth on the 2019 World’s 50 Best Bars list, the first reason given for its lofty position was the 1,300 different gins it has in its collection, many displayed prominently in a three-storey tower that serves as the gilded bar’s focal point.
But what has taken the once-forgotten spirit to its current heights in just a few years? For starters, it’s the craftsmanship and attention to detail that go into creating today’s best gins.
SPIRIT OF PRECISION
Take Singapore’s own Brass Lion Distillery, the first micro-distillery of its kind in the country, which opened in 2018. They make their gin in small batches with a custom-built hybrid copper still from Germany, known affectionately as Nala (yes, that’s the name of the lioness in The Lion King).
In addition to the essential juniper berries, which are hand-pressed, Brass Lion uses a variety of local botanicals that give their flagship Singapore dry gin the zest of Singaporean flavours: from torch ginger flower and pomelo peel to chrysanthemum and lemongrass. This approach can be seen in their other products too – their butterfly pea gin contains lavender in addition to its eponymous botanical, while their Pahit Pink features cinnamon, mandarin orange peel, red dates and ginger.
Transporting you from one exotic locale to another is a hallmark of good gin, but some of them can also take you back in time. And here we arrive at another reason for gin’s renewed popularity – the recognition of its history.
Through the years, gin has found a place in the hands of famous literary figures, such as F Scott Fitzgerald and Ian Fleming – and the characters they created (Jay Gatsby and James Bond were fans of the gin rickey and martini respectively). But beyond the rich and famous, the everyday gin drinkers of centuries past capture the imagination too: We can picture them partying long ago in gin palaces and speakeasies, or fending off malaria with a gin and tonic on a verandah in the tropics.
One distillery which made some significant history of its own when it opened in 2009 is Sipsmith. They became the first traditional copper pot distillery to set up shop in London in almost two centuries, placing them at a key moment in the rise of craft gin. Sipsmith’s stills have names too – Prudence, Patience and Constance – and they produce a London dry gin, made according to an 18th-century recipe; the hefty VJOP (Very Junipery Over Proof) gin, which weighs in at 57.7% alcohol by volume; and a sloe gin, alongside an orange and cacao gin and a lemon drizzle gin.
An interesting bit of history also links Sipsmith with Singapore. One of Sipsmith’s co-founders, Sam Galsworthy, is a distant relative of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore. He is Raffles’ great-great-great nephew, and while he goes by the name Sam, his actual first name is Stamford. This connection bloomed in 2015 when Sipsmith collaborated with the Raffles Singapore to produce an exclusive gin for the hotel, in celebration of the 100th birthday of the Singapore Sling.
The combined product of artistry and heritage, gin is a spirit that tells stories like few others, and all you have to do to become part of that story is open a bottle.
Start your craft gin adventure on KrisShop.com, where you can purchase Brass Lion’s Singapore dry gin and Sipsmith’s London dry gin. You can order them pre-flight or for home delivery.
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