December 7, 2021|In Spirits, News

NEW & EXCLUSIVE:

Stranger & Sons Award-Winning Artisanal Gin

Stranger & Sons Gin - Gold Medal winner in The Drinks Business & The Spirits Business Spring Blind Tasting 2021

Gin is definitely having a moment! Discerning drinkers still can’t get enough of gin, gin, glorious gin.

There’s no denying that gin is one of the fastest-growing spirits in the world. There really is an exciting ‘Gin-naissance’ hitting the shop shelves, trendiest bars and coolest clubs making it the drink du jour for both hipsters and discriminating imbibers alike.

Global sales of premium gin bottles are growing at around 20% annually, says IWSR Drinks Market Analysis firm, two-and-a-half times the rate of overall spirit sales.

With an abundance of flavours on the market, gin fans are spoiled for choice. Whether you take yours straight or prefer it in a cocktail (Dry Martini, anyone?), the gin used can make the difference between being boring and bland or really tickling your taste buds.

For this exact reason, Dhall & Nash did not want to hitch our gin wagon to any old distillery. What we came to realise in our spirits research, was that the ‘new’ Gin boom has seen consumers moving away from established brands on store shelves and towards small batch gin distilleries and artisan craft gin makers. This has been partly driven by the “craft” movement, which saw the rise of coffee roasteries, craft beer breweries, natural wines, and farmers’ markets. The focus now being on artisanal products, with people valuing authentically, locally produced products, where they can see and get to know the individuals making these products and partly driven by the realisation that gin can be so unique. Yes, us gin lovers already knew that the joy of gin is that no two gins are alike!

Without further ado, and with enthusiastic gin-ticipation, we welcome to our fine portfolio the ultimate craft gin that truly measures up! This is the highly-awarded and international fan favourite from Goa, India: Stranger and Sons Gin from Third Eye Distillery.

“There is nothing to not get excited by when it comes to Stranger & Sons Gin, a new and bloody delicious offering bursting out of Goa, India. It looks as great as it tastes, which helps, but it’s the cunning of its three young makers that mean it is poised to be one of the names that take over its home country. And then maybe the world too, as this distillery has the kind of potential we’ve not seen in years…” – Gin Foundry UK

The Birthplace of G&T:

While the original ‘gin craze’ of the Victorian era was given a bad rap and the booze was labelled as ‘mother’s ruin’, since the 20th century gin has consistently been portrayed in pop culture as an effortlessly cool, sophisticated booze.

But much is owed to the Indian subcontinent for other gin-fluences. The ubiquitous Gin & Tonic had its origins in India as a more palatable way for Victorian colonialists to down the bitter quinine that protected them against malaria. And exotic Indian botanicals are used for many gins as a point of difference. Indeed, around the world there is a long list of popular brands that tout Indian inspiration, yet Bombay Sapphire, Sikkim, Jodhpur, Opihr and Gin Wala are all distilled in Britain. So, despite India’s role in popularising gin, it has taken many years for home-grown firms to join the party.

This all changed in 2018, when three relatives, Sakshi Saigal, Rahul Mehra and Vidur Gupta recognised a worldwide thirst for quality craft gins and wanted to create one of the first fully Indian gins since the 1940’s. Together they founded Third Eye Distillery and Stranger & Sons Gin was born in Goa on the southwestern coast of India.

Where is this wondrous exotic world of Stranger & Sons? Located in the Western Ghats, Goa offers access to a bounty of spices along the Konkan and Malabar coasts and holds 3000 years as a key player in India’s spice trade. A former Portuguese colony and centre of commerce, Goa adopted much of their way of life, including their liberal attitude towards alcohol consumption – thus remaining the seat of alcohol trade in India. Distillation has long been one of Goa’s most traditional occupations, and so it was natural for Stranger & Sons to establish the brand in the sunshine state.

Ultimately though, the Stranger & Sons trio wanted to represent the new face of India, with all its quirks that people may not know about. Not just the old-fashioned colonial view of India. This is a cool, modern, and forward-looking India.

India is no longer the land of elephant rides, Maharajas, and snake charmers.

Not Such a Strange Story Really…

Stranger & Sons is an ode to contemporary India and its cultural diversity – the colours, the customs, the chaos, and the peaceful co-existence of it all. The ‘Stranger’ in their name is a nod to this wonderful Indian strangeness that is the invisible essence in the bottles. The ‘& Sons’ in the name is the common suffix of traditional Indian family-owned businesses that are inherited by each new generation. Stranger & Sons is a tribute to these inherited businesses and Indians’ entrepreneurial spirit. It was time to create a truly Indian gin for local and global audiences.

They chose inherently Indian botanicals that they believe represent their country’s diversity, to create a spirit that celebrates India’s agricultural history in a way no other spirit can.

The Legend of Stranger & Sons:

Indians have a fondness for storytelling that is inherent and inherited – with rich mythological lores passed down from one generation to the next. These tales of politics, philosophy, and love, offer a microcosm of India’s unique culture. Instead of demystifying the mystique, myths and wonder of India, Stranger & Sons has added their own story – that of a three-eyed, two-tailed tiger that makes the gin in the jungles of the Western Ghats, and how she passed on her recipe to them.

The Stranger & Sons story thus begins with a mythical creature who chanced upon juniper berries hidden in the pocket of a sari blouse while roaming in Maharashtra. She’s known to appear at dusk and dawn, frequenting local bars in Goa and swapping secrets for drinks with Strangers.

From her, they have inherited the recipe for their Indian spirited gin and rather strange ethos, which governs how the drinks are prepared, how the stories are told and where they show up. While the creature is a rare sight, everything is filtered through her third eye!

“A brilliantly conceived and executed gin that heroes its predominately Indian botanicals and origin without masking traditional juniper and angelica gin botanicals. Best summarised as being traditional London dry in style but with dialled up Indian spice and citrus notes.” – Difford’s Cocktail & Spirits Guide

An Inherently Indian Gin:

Stranger & Sons botanicals are crafted together, taking inspiration from India’s culinary heritage, which is centred around spices, by making use of all the wonderful spices available to them to introduce a three-dimensional gin that is proudly Indian and true to its origin.

Sourced from Macedonia; the headnotes and main flavour that makes a spirit a gin with its fresh, piney essence and unique citrus overtones.

A sweet wood with a distinctively polarizing taste which combines sweetness and bitterness that suitably adds to the sweet flavour profile of the gin towards the end of the palate.

Sourced from South India, its earthy flavour profile has a lemony touch with subtle notes of sweetness which can be perfectly paired with other spices for intricate seasoning.

Sourced locally from the neighbourhood spice farm, nutmeg is an extremely intense and versatile spice which is warm, fragrant, and slightly sweet with nutty undertones.

The outer covering of nutmeg; mace has a similar flavour and aroma but it’s sweeter and subtler with notes of cinnamon and black pepper.

Originally known as black gold, this botanical grows wild in the neighbourhood spice farm. It has a sharp and deep aroma and flavour which provides a strong spiced middle to their gin.

Often used in perfumery although they use it as a fixative for the gin, this botanical brings a woody flavour with herbal tones to the gin.

A commonly used spice sourced from South India, its aromatic flavour profile has a pronounced warm and spicy touch with a sweet finish that is similar to cinnamon but less overpowering.

Nagpur Oranges, known to be one of the best mandarin varieties in the world. Gondhoraj Lemon, also known as ‘King of fragrance’. Mosambi, also known as Indian bergamot or sweet lime, and finally, Nimbu, sourced locally from the garden behind the distillery

“The mark of quality for a gin, really, is not about age, it’s about good, quality production and the clarity of the botanicals that shine through in the spirit.” – Outlook India

The Gin Taste Profile:

There is a hearty dose of juniper, along with a healthy hit of black pepper, nutmeg, mace, coriander seed, angelica, liquorice, cassia, and swathes of those four different kinds of Indian citrus peels. You can look at the above botanical list and see some repeated in many other gins the world over, but the beauty of the Stranger & Sons’ botanicals is that the spices are all sourced locally and haven’t travelled for thousands of miles to get to the still. The clarity and freshness shines through in this delectable spirit.

Heady on the nose

As you take a sip of this inherently Indian gin, you’re greeted by a beautiful freshness from Indian citrus peels.

Mid-palate

Black pepper, coriander and mace follow to give this gin a strong spiced middle.

Aftertaste

Angelica root, cassia bark, liquorice and nutmeg make the finishing flourish warm and sweet.

A Socially Conscious Gin:

Managing water waste at the distillery – Most distilleries use a constant flow of cold water, which is drained out. To reduce and preserve the amount they use for the 16-hour distillation run, they have invested in a tank that recycles the water. With their chiller and tank, they are able to save 10,000 litres of water per run and the drained water is directed to their botanical garden.

Employing Goa’s local fruit whisperers – For the citrus peels that perfume the Stranger & Sons Gin, women from a local self-help group visit the distillery on the day they make a new batch. Once the peels are utilised, the remains of the fruit are given back to the women, which they use to make pickles and cordials for Stranger & Sons’ hero cocktails, the Gimlet and the Gibson. They are typically housewives keen on learning different vocations, which give them additional income. They also help nurture the botanical garden – their traditional knowledge about farming spices helps Stranger & Sons understand which botanicals and fruits will flourish on their land.

Partnering with brands that champion sustainability – When it comes to trade partnerships, collaterals or collaborations, Stranger & Sons actively choose brands that share their values towards a sustainable future. Every Stranger & Sons collateral has been created in collaboration with brands that have social consciousness built into their DNA. ‘No Nasties’ (who produces their T-shirts) is an organic, fair trade and vegan clothing brand and ‘Corugami’ (who produces the shipper boxes) create all their packaging boxes out of recycled cardboard and mindfully sourced materials.

There is no plastic on their packaging – not even a dash of tape. All the botanicals are used whole, with no part discarded as waste. They’re also in the process of installing a solar roof, which will help to provide at least some of the energy that distilling uses.

No Stranger to Awards, Accolades & Medals:

International consumer interest in quality juniper-based spirits is unflagging. Of course, Dhall & Nash’s gin superstar, Stranger & Sons has been impressing international juries since its inception.

Earlier this year, Stranger & Sons won gold at Gin Masters 2021 after competing with 472 entries from 233 different companies. This is just the latest of multiple awards and gold medals won by this debut spirit.

Stranger & Sons was the first Indian gin to win a Gold-Outstanding medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition (IWSC) in 2020 in London. It happened to be one of the only 8 gins in the world to receive this award out of 800 brands that participated that year. This was followed by multiple gold medals at The Drinks Business Asia Summer Tasting in Hong Kong (2021), followed by a handful of silver medals at the London Spirits Competition 2021 and San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2021.

Described as “bold and delicious”, the spirit has also won a Master medal at The Asian Spirits Masters 2021. “The palate is wonderful – smooth and silky mouthfeel with no sharp edges or volatile alcohol”, said one of the judges, Bryan Rodriguez, wine, and spirits buyer for Harvey Nichols in London.

Explaining the botanicals, all of which are sourced from India, one of the founders, Sakshi says, “We use a unique citrus peel mix: Gondhoraj lebu, the commonly found Nimbu, Indian Bergamot and Nagpur oranges. With it go coriander seeds, angelica root, cassia bark, liquorice, and warm spices such as pepper, mace and nutmeg.”

Stating that multiple tasting panels were captivated by the aromas and tasting notes, she adds, “Our gin goes beyond the customary juniper and plays up Indian botanicals and spices.” – adding a distinctive twist to the gin category.

At the annual 2021 Gin Masters competition, Stranger & Sons Gin secured a coveted Gold medal in the Contemporary category. The judges were enamoured with the gin’s aromas of “earthy juniper” and flavours of “dried citrus peel” and “bold, vibrant” character on the palate. It was agreed the expression would “stand up well mixed in a gin and tonic” and that it offered something “unique” to the gin world.

Looking back at their awards Sakshi adds, “We started to create history in 2020 as the first Indian Gin to be awarded a Gold-Outstanding Medal at the International Wine & Spirit Competition.” She explains how the founders wanted to create a robust drink, and thus reshape the perception of Indian spirits. “Gin is going through an extremely exciting phase and transcending into mainstream in India. Participating in world competitions has enabled the brand to connect with a global audience and put quality spirits from India on the world stage. It makes us extremely proud.”

We at Dhall & Nash are equally as proud to be the New Zealand distributors of a prestigious new gin brand creating waves on the global spirits scene.

Just as master weavers of the traditional Indian sari use rich colours, silky textures, embellishments, and beautiful motifs, so too the skilful distillers at Stranger & Sons – masterfully create a magically almost ‘mythical’ gin through distilling alchemy of exotic spices, colourful citrus, and invigorating juniper.

 

What better time to bust out the cool power spirit: Stranger & Sons Gin is the one! Served in boozy-licious classics like the Negroni, the Gibson, the Gimlet or the simple, refreshing Gin & Tonic, this gin will adapt to whatever flavour profile tickles your palate. Let the good times Be-Gin!

“IN A STRANGE SITUATION

NO ONE IS A STRANGER”

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