Indonesia is about to welcome its first small-batched, craft gin called East Indies Archipelago Dry Gin, made right here in Bali. Launching at the end of 2021, this distilled gin is made by distilling pure grain alcohol with juniper and rich spices of the Indonesian archipelago. Your Negronis and G&T’s are about to get an infusion of rich Indonesian flavours!
This new, homegrown gin is made by Spice Island Distilling Co., who brought Indonesia’s first premium coffee liqueur, Nusantara Cold Brew, to market as well. The company’s mission is to bring Indonesian flavours into the global, premium craft spirits industry. With Nusantara Cold Brew they showcase the best Arabica coffee from across the archipelago, and now with East Indies Gin they will uplift the richness of the spice islands.
What’s in a name?
The evocative name, East Indies Gin, is inspired by the nostalgia of Indonesia’s rich spice history. To the ancient Greeks, the world beyond the Indus River basin in India was a mystery, ‘East of the Indus’, which birthed the term the ‘East Indies’. These lands were known to be the source of highly coveted spices like mace, nutmeg and clove, only to be found on the Maluku Islands of Indonesia. The reputation grew further with the travels of Marco Polo who wrote of the archipelago endowed with precious spices. Spice Island Distilling Co. thus pays homage to such histories of voyage and discovery by presenting uniquely Indonesian botanicals as the central flavour of their new gin.
East Indies Archipelago Dry Gin has a classic juniper-forward flavour instantly recognisable to any gin lover, but the stars of the show are the signature Indonesian botanicals of Kecombrang (Torch Ginger Flower) and Andaliman (Batak Pepper) which give this gin a uniquely Indonesian flavour. Smooth, refreshing and deep in flavour thanks to its authentic distillation method, this gin is great in a classic gin and tonic with a Kecombrang petal garnish, and also mixes extraordinarily well with classic gin cocktails such as Negronis and Martinis.
The process of making East Indies Gin
This small-batch, craft gin is what is considered an authentic distilled gin. The EU defines this as a gin produced exclusively by redistilling ethanol of agricultural origin with an initial strength of 96% ABV in a still traditionally used for gin, in the presence of juniper berries and other botanicals, provided that the juniper taste is dominant. Gin obtained simply by adding essences or flavourings to ethanol of agricultural origin is not distilled gin. Minimum bottled strength is 37.5% ABV.
Thus, the process of making East Indies Gin has been a labour of love; one that draws on the mastery of artisanal gin to create a balance between perfect concentration of flavours and smoothness of spirit.
The Spice Islands Distilling Co uses a handmade 550L copper still made by the German company CARL, known for their artisanal distilleries. The highest quality Macedonian Juniper, along with a selection of botanicals, are macerated in a spirit inside the still – nicknamed Gede (the Balinese name for a firstborn child). As this spirit is heated, the alcohol evaporates and gently vapour infuses the delicate botanicals, releasing oils and flavours into the liquid. It’s a slow process allowing for the flavours to really seep through. Then the spirit passes through a process of column distillation, which further concentrates the liquid to make the smoothest gin possible.
The result? A distillate of around 94% ABV, bursting with the intense aromas of the kecombrang, andaliman and juniper. This is then diluted by the cleanest water from deep water wells to create a smooth, clean spirit at around 40-43%, still rich with those Indonesian botanicals and juniper flavour profiles.
Where can you buy East Indies Gin?
Craft gin hit the world by storm many years ago, but finally Indonesia will have its very own, infused with the unique flavours that grow throughout this rich archipelago. And seen by its meticulous production process, the quality of flavour will be matched by the quality of spirit.
East Indies Gin will be available in all good food and beverage establishments and premium retailers of alcoholic beverages in Jakarta & Bali by the end of the year and will be available in Singapore, Australia, Thailand and the UK by the end of 2022.