If anyone had doubts about the resurgence of gin in India then the Gin Explorers Club event at the Jaymahal Palace in Bengaluru in November would have emphatically laid them to rest.
The 2-day, high-voltage festival, organised by Food Talk India, had everything an enthusiast would have looked for over a chilled-out weekend: a bewildering array of Indian and foreign gin brands to taste, along with amazing food and live music performances by some of the big names in the music scene.
Gin has always had a cult following within the alcobev space, but its popularity has skyrocketed over the past few years. A lot of vodka drinkers have found themselves becoming avid gin enthusiasts, largely due to the variety gin offers. The play on different botanicals by each brand has offered a drink suitable for every palette.
Speaking about the event, Anjali Batra, co-founder of Gin Explorer’s Club said, “The festival is a canvas for every brand to pop up and create their own story, that’s why we didn’t do just one bar. We want them (brands) to build their identity. This is a place where you can convert someone into understanding your brand and cocktails and becoming potential consumers.”
Added Shuchir Suri, Anjali’s partner at the Gin Explorer’s Club: “It’s not like any other spirit, there’s so much storytelling, so much flavour, so much composition to each brand. The event also opens the perfect opportunity for brands to focus on the customer experience market and gain more loyal consumers.”
The enthralling mythical-themed party wowed gin lovers as they explored an array of 14 bars hosted by different gin brands from across the globe, each presenting their signature cocktails to the visitors.
With over 6,000 people attending, the festival showcased a fantastic mix of 15 homegrown and international gin and mixer brands: Monkey 47, Gordon’s, Greater Than, Hendrick’s, Jaisalmer, Beefeater, Samsara, Stranger & Sons, Tamras, Tanqueray, Salud and more.
“I guess this is our way of showcasing our drinks and what we can do with our gins,” remarked Evonne Eadie, Brand Ambassador for Diageo. “The reason for this is to show how different gin can be and to make people learn what goes with that brand of gin. This is the ideal big event to display how we want our gins to taste.”
Each brand showcased its classic and signature cocktails that bought out the latent flavours of the botanicals. Some ventured deep into making the cocktails aesthetically eye-grabbing, using garnishes like marshmallows and feathers.
Bar takeovers were also organised by some of the best bars from across the country serving up some delicious tipples – Home Bar (Delhi) and The Hideaway (Goa) to Ekaa (Mumbai) and Cobbler & Crew (Pune).
“Maybe people won’t buy an expensive bottle of gin from a store to just try it, but they are willing to pay a fraction of that price for a cocktail to experiment and see how they like it,” points out Shivendra Goel, Brand Manager at Jimmy’s Cocktails, “People are willing to pay for the experience – not just the drinks.”
The organisers paid special attention to the sustainability aspect of the event. Every drinker was given a lowball glass at the entrance to have their drinks in, rather than having them use throwaway cups.
“People are welcome to take these glasses home and use them,” Shuchir said. “We also opted for glass tumblers since paper cups melt after a while and plastic cups are flimsy.”
Many visitors saw this event as an opportunity to open their doors to the world of gin, while others who were already gin enthusiasts, looked forward to venture into different brands and flavours.
“The botanicals really do make a difference in taste.” said Arjun, one such gin fan. “I think I’m past the tasting stage. Now I’m looking to make my own drinks and cocktails.”
Another gin fan, Sarika, who was accompanied by her friends, said that the event provided the perfect chance for them to celebrate the spirit. “We are all gin lovers. To drink gin during the day along with good music is an excuse to hang out with friends and to do something different.”
With the plan to only get bigger, Gin Explorers Club gave the guests an experience of a juniper-fuelled exploration in their mythical land. The organisers are all set to head to Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai in the near future.