The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of It's Parts
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‘The whole is Greater Than the sum of its’ parts’. This essentially means that things work better together than they do on their own. Alone, botanicals can be a little underwhelming. That is, until, they are blended together to make something truly amazing, something like gin. As sayings go, Aristotle was clearly up there with the wisest of men, but so are the distillers behind India’s only craft gin, ‘Greater Than’. They took some of the humble spices and flavours one would typically find inside a masala dabba (Indian spice box), and put them together to make something worth writing quotes about.
Having ‘beach bummed’ our way around Goa – yes, it’s a hard knock life for us – we were looking forward to our upcoming visit to the ‘Greater Than’ distillery in one of the state’s southern cities, Margao. Desperate for some adventure, we hired ourselves a ‘scooty’ and set off – with one hand permanently fixed on the horn mind you – to meet one of the co-distillers, Jay Dhawan. We were excited. We had the sun on our backs, the wind in our hair, and the taste of gin almost on our lips. As the commercial and cultural capital of Goa, Margao was certainly more hectic than we were used to. Yes, it was a different hustle and bustle than that which we are accustomed to back home, but it was there all the same. We zipped in and out of buses, tuk tuks, cars, lorries, people, and even cows, and after experiencing the sleepy beachside resorts that the state is famous for, we completely understand why ‘Greater Than’ chose to base their distillery here.
We had already had the pleasure of meeting founder, Anand Virmani, for a relaxed coffee in the otherwise rather frantic city of Delhi, and we found him to be vibrant, charismatic, and a just genuinely nice guy. He was not only enthusing about his brand, but about the spirit and its’ culture in general, and so, because of this, our impending meeting with his co-distiller was rather exciting. Another passionate soul, Jay explained how he came to be part of the venture. Wanting to start his own cafe back home in Mumbai but lacking the experience to do so, he decided to explore the world of bartending, a world which he has very much made his mark in with a scholarship and a cocktail competition triumph under his belt. It was a chance meeting with Anand during a training session in the Mumbai bar where he worked that sealed the deal, and the rest they say is history.
‘Greater Than’ Gin is a London dry, and its’ citrusy ‘whole’ is made up of 9 botanicals sourced from around the world: coriander, angelica, orris roots, lemongrass, fennel, chamomile, orange peel, ginger, and of course, juniper. Choosing these botanicals was not an easy process though. Not satisfied until they achieved perfection, the distillers trialled roughly 25 batches before deciding on the final recipe. The final addition to this mix was lemongrass, which they unintentionally stumbled across whilst visiting a local spice market.
It’s a gin that the distillers’ wanted people to able to enjoy regularly, and it would definitely be easy to do just that – trust us, we’ve tried it! Therefore, to encourage regular use, they have marketed it well below the prices of the few imported brands that are sold in Indias’ bustling alcohol jaunts. With the current tax, regular gin-quaffers often have to settle for the cheap house spirit (often Blue Riband) when enjoying a tipple. Choosing a quality-but-imported brand in India is enough to make one consider remortgaging their house. For example, Hendricks can retail at between 5,000 to 8,000 rupees (roughly £50/£80) a bottle depending on the state. Being a London Dry means that ‘Greater Than’ is more expensive to manufacture than spirits that use the cold compounded method, but its’ attractive RRP means that the gin lovers of India are now able to enjoy a quality spirit at an affordable price. Hurrah!
'Hapusa is the Sanskrit word for juniper'
As we’re sure most – if not all – gin lovers will agree, Aristotle was clearly a wise, wise man with this theory that the whole is better than its’ parts. However, we believe that his philosophical powers must have enabled him to foresee the company’s newest craft gin, Hapusa. Hapusa is the Sanskrit word for juniper, the berry we all know and love. It is clear that there was no sitting around a table brainstorming an arty, creative, or even an ambiguous name for this spirit. No, this gin is exactly what it says on the bottle. It’s not one that imitates the country’s produce. It is made with Indian juniper berries – Hapusa, and it’s the only gin in the world to do so. Impressive, right?
And that’s not its’ only notable quality. Unlike many of the other gins that claim to be of Indian origin, Hapusa is alone in that fact that all of its’ botanicals are actually sourced and hand-picked from the aromatic country. They’re looking to launch it in the next month or so, and we’re certain that it’ going to go down in the exact same way as ‘Greater Than’ did – an absolute storm!
So, until next time - Bottoms up!
Written by A
3rd April 2018
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