Gin site aims to “educate and excite”

12th May, 2011 by Alan Lodge

Chivas Brothers is seeking to capitalise on the increasing popularity of gin with the launch of a new interactive website that aims to give gin fans a “one-stop-shop” for everything they want to know about enjoying the drink.

The site, www.ginandtales.com, offers a guide to creating and discovering signature gin cocktails, along with testimonials and stories from some of the world’s most influential drinks experts.

Leading London mixologist Dré Masso, the site’s editor, will conduct a monthly interview with one of his cocktail-making “heroes” – famous bartenders such as Peter Dorelli of The Savoy’s American Bar or cocktail legend Salvatore Calebrese – who will demonstrate how to mix their own cocktail before Masso adds his own “twist” to their recipe’s, designed to encourage cocktail fans to experiment with their own drinks.

The site also features a “Bar School” area, providing videos presented by Masso and other big names from the bartending community, offering a variety of methods and techniques using everyday equipment to help budding mixologists to replicate their cocktails in their own homes.

A Chivas Brothers statement said: “The site demonstrates the complementary role Beefeater London Dry, Beefeater 24 and Plymouth Gin play within the portfolio and highlights the affinity of each brand to differing occasions.

Jenny Shipton, international marketing manager for gins at Chivas Brothers, added: “As an authority on gin, it is our responsibility to educate and excite consumers on this increasingly popular spirit.

“With such variety in consumption habits across the world, including the top three gin markets – the UK, the US and Spain – the website is the ideal vehicle to share these trends, while at the same time challenging some well-worn ideas on how to enjoy gin.

“The website marks an important step in raising the profile of the portfolio and follows on from the success of our international ‘English Gins’ training scheme for the trade.”

Speaking to The Spirits Business at the launch of the site, Desmond Payne, master distiller at Beefeater, said that experimentation and versatility is what makes gin such a popular drink among mixologists and cocktail fans.

“There are only two ways in which you can make gins different from one another,” he said. “One is the botanicals you put in it and the other is how you make it.

“With Beefeater 24 we used Chinese green tea as a botanical and it was very interesting the way tea changed the relationship between the different botanicals.

“The inclusion of new, different and unusual botanicals is a tough one sometimes. If it works, it works but the proof of the pudding is always in the tasting.”

When quizzed on his views on Hoxton Gin – a coconut-flavoured gin launched last week by Gerry Calebrese, Payne admitted he had not yet tasted it but was aware of the controversy it has caused among gin traditionalists.

“If it’s technically gin then it is technically gin, but to say that gin has to be predominantly juniper by taste is a fairly rotten definition anyway, but to me there needs to be good evidence of juniper in there.

“But it needs to be more complex and subtle than that, it’s not all about the juniper.

“The other thing about gin is how you drink it and it could be that, when mixed with the right combination, less-traditional botanicals would work better than those used in other gins.”

Payne also revealed that he is preparing to launch a new limited-edition Beefeater variant in the next couple of months, though further details were not disclosed.

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