It is highly unlikely that you would have heard of any gin brand from South America, let alone taste one. Unlike Europe and other parts of the world, this is not a continent that we associate as being a bustling hive of gin-related activity.
Things are about to change now with the imminent launch of Crespo, a London Dry Gin from Ecuador that is about to hit the Indian markets. You can add Crespo to the array of distilled spirits from South America like Pisco and Cachaça, which are available here.
The gin boom in India continues apace and the exclusive importer of Crespo Gin, Rajbir Singh, MD Aska Beverages Pvt. Ltd wants to capitalize on the huge surge of interest in this “far-from-new white spirit” once called “mother’s ruin” in mid-eighteenth-century England, when the ‘gin craze’ was at its peak.
Gin is now a fashionable premium product, having undergone a renaissance of sorts in the last few years, not just the world over but also in India. Style-conscious younger drinkers in India are turning to gin as a recreational drink. The millennials are intrigued by Gin because it is approachable, affordable and versatile allowing them to be adventurous without spending a fortune.
Gin & Tonic, a drink with a British colonial legacy that was once the exclusive preserve of the elite, popular mostly in “members-only-clubs”, is now one of the most ordered drink at bars, along with other gin-based cocktails.
“The emergence of “craft-beer style” gin movement in India has resulted in a lot of different flavours to try. So, when people hear that there is a gin from Ecuador in the market, they will be willing to experiment”, says the Ambassador of Ecuador to India, His Excellency, Hector Cueva Jacome.
According to Cristina Chiriboga Tejada, Trade and Investment Officer, Trade Office of Ecuador in Mumbai, “Even though Ecuador is not a big producer of gin, thanks to Crespo, our country is now known as the producer of one of the world’s most awarded gins from Latin America, having won a Double Gold at the San Francisco World Spirits and Stuttgart International Spirits Shows, Gold at China Wine & Spirits Awards along with several others silver and bronze awards in London and New York.
In the words of H.E Hector Cueva Jacome, Ambassador of Ecuador to India, the secret of Crespo’s success lies in its elaboration and goes on to explain, “Crespo is a triple distilled artisanal gin that combines pure water from the protected area of ‘El Cajas’ in the Ecuadorian Andes with neutral base spirit from tropical sugar cane plantations and 11 botanicals from four continents. The juniper comes from Bulgaria, angelica, orange & lemon peel from the United States, cardamom from Guatemala, cinnamon and dill from India, cassia from Indonesia, orris root from Morocco, coriander from Egypt and liquorice from Uzbekistan”.
Crespo is a “small-batch gin” produced according to the London Dry specifications that is a guarantee of quality. The flavours are imparted exclusively through the distillation of the base spirit of agricultural origin (in this case sugarcane) in the presence of all the 11 botanicals. No additional flavours, macerations or botanicals are added after distillation.
I was fortunate to taste Crespo gin, courtesy of Aska Beverages Ltd, who had sent me a bottle. My first impression pointed to a classical style, very juniper-forward with that distinct piney aroma and fresh herbal taste. On the mid-palate, I got a lot of zingy citrus and then came a spicy touch of coriander, cardamom and cinnamon. An excellent gin that left a mark.
Elaborating further, Cristina Chiriboga from the Ecuador Trade Office in India says, “Crespo already has a presence in 16 countries: Canada, Italy, Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Luxemburg, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Croatia. We are now looking forward to adding India to the list”.
One of the reasons why Rajbir Singh of Aska Beverages is upbeat about the success of Gin Crespo is because while there may be many international & local gin brands available to the Indian consumer, there is none from South America. According to him, “People will be curious to try out an Ecuadorian gin and once they taste Crespo, the excellent quality and affordable price will keep them hooked”.
Due to the current Covid-19 crisis in the country, the launch of Crespo London Dry Gin has been delayed, till the situation becomes better and it is safe to conduct tastings and other on-trade activities. For the time being, the Trade Office of Ecuador will focus on online promotion through social media platforms.
Having tasted Gin Crespo, I am very sure that it will meet with a lot of success once it is launched in India.