This is what I think every time I enjoy a drink based on Gin Mare, an ultra premium gin, originating from Spain and with an absolute Mediterranean character! – by Maria Th. Massoura
Being characterized as the “first Mediterranean gin” at a time when more and more gins are created and bar shelves have never had as a big variety as they have now, you are immediately transferred to a special point as regards your tasting experience and position in the market.
Gin Mare is an ultra-premium gin, coming from Spain. Its particularity is due to its Mediterranean botanical character where rosemary, basil and thyme are mixed with citrus along with a very special ingredient, arbequina olives. The result is unique and quite Mediterranean!
Gin Mare, “was born” in the small town of Vilanova, just outside Barcelona. The Ribot family having been making spirits since 1835, has already had in its portfolio Gin MG, a bestseller in Spain. However, they wanted to create a new gin, inspired by the Mediterranean climate with local herbs into its components. So, in 2007, in collaboration with the Global Premium Brands, they began experimenting. Having started with 45 different herbs in the recipe and after many experiments, tastings and discussions, they ended up to their local component: arbequina olives. Later on, they added the rest : citrus fruits, sweet oranges from Seville, bitter oranges from Valencia and lemons from Lleida, cardamom, coriander, thyme, basil, rosemary and , of course, juniper, the main feature of gin which was already cultivated in the family land.
The process of distillation of herbs takes approximately 4.5 hours and, then, neutral spirit and water are added for Gin Mare to be created. The pot used for Gin Mare stands in a chapel in a place where a monk used to live. The creation process and bottling takes place in the main building located next to the chapel.
The year Gin Mare was launched in the market was 2008. Immediately, it attracted every look, was put on the shelves of the updated bars worldwide and won gin fans – myself too – due to its special character. In 2012, a new bottle was launched, with an elegant shape, which resembles a sculpture.
At this point, I have to give you a tip: the cap of the bottle can act as a 50 ml jigger and in most cases it is the amount you want for a Gin Mare based drink.
The aromas and taste of Gin Mare is purely Mediterranean. With a strong herbal character, juniper and thyme dominate while you get a light oily taste from the arbequina olives. Basil, coriander and rosemary are also distinctive while citrus give life” a crispy, fresh character to the gin.
This gin has such a particular temperament and it is so sophisticated, refined and elegant that you have to be very careful not to “spoil” it with other mixers or drinks. Having this in mind, the bartender Stefanos Athanasiou, created 2 Gin Mare based cocktails you can make and enjoy easily at home!
Gin Mare Gin ‘n’ Tonic
“This is a twist on the classic Gin n ‘ Tonic ‘. I use two ultra-premium products and I enforce the main characteristics of Gin Mare. We don’t want to intervene in the character of Gin Mare, because it is extremely elegant and simultaneously well-tuned by the producer, “Stefanos notes.
The premium Tonic Water 1724 is ideal accompaniment for Gin Mare, a product produced by the company that makes Gin Mare, too. The essence of 1724 Tonic Water is in the Andes, at the legendary Inca Trail. This is not a coincidence, since quinine, the main ingredient of tonic water, was discovered in that area. The Tonic Water 1724, has quinine as its core which is gathered by hand in an area in the path of Incas, located at an altitude of 1724 feet above sea level!
Practically speaking, 1724 is a very delicate tonic water, which reveals quinine very elegantly. Due to this delicate nature, it is ideal in gin n ‘ tonic ‘ where we want to highlight the complexity of the character of Gin Mare. A tip: It is sold in a special packaging, together with Gin Mare in a very reasonable price.
50 ml Gin Mare
100 ml Tonic Water 1724
2 sprigs of thyme, 1 sprig of basil, 1 sprig of rosemary
1 lemon peel, 1 orange peel, 1 pink grapefruit peel
In a tall glass, we place in the bottom the sprigs of thyme, basil and rosemary and press lightly with a muddler. We add the gin, plenty of ice and fill up with tonic. We gently squeeze the citrus peels over the glass to release the oils into the cocktail and afterwards we place them in the gin ‘n’ tonic.
This Gin n ‘ Tonic ‘ brings out the character of Gin Mare after having added all the main herbs, thyme, rosemary and basil together with three different citrus fruits. These are distinctive smells, while in flavor, you will get a freshness of citrus and simultaneously a light oily taste from arbequina olives. In a nutshell, by enjoying ‘ Mare ‘ n Tonic Gin you will feel that you “drink” all the Mediterranean in a glass!
Stefanos created this cocktail, having as a basis, Tom Collins. “This is a variation of this classic cocktail. Here we make a twist by adding extra herbal characteristics to the cocktail. The extra cucumber aromas come from the bitters while we give a complexity on the palate with spicy notes of ginger, “he says.
50 ml Gin Mare
20 ml fresh lemon juice
25 ml homemade herb syrup (look at Stefanos’ recipe below)
5 ml/1 teaspoon of fresh ginger juice
2 drops of The Bitter Truth cucumber bitters
20 ml soda
Lemon peel, a piece of celery and a mixture of salt and smoked paprika as a garnish.
«Aroma» from thyme (look at Stefanos’ recipe below)
We shake all the ingredients, except soda, in a shaker. We strain the drink into a Collins glass and fill with soda. We garnish with a lemon peel placed vertically into the glass and then we place a piece of celery with some salt and smoked paprika on top of the glass.
Homemade herb syrup
We boil 300 ml of water in a saucepan. When it reaches the boiling point, we add half handful (about a cup of coffee) from each one of the following herbs: dry basil, dry rosemary and dry sage. We turn off the heat and let the herbs into the water with the saucepan covered. A tip: we place the lid upside down and put ice on it, so as the steam goes back to the pot when it reaches the lid. When the temperature of the water falls (if we place our finger in it we don’t get burnt), we add the same amount of sugar in the original water, (we measure it, before the procedure). We can leave the leaves inside and stir until sugar dissolves. Then we strain into a container and the syrup is ready!
«Aroma» from thyme
To add the component of thyme, we spray the top of the glass, with an “aroma” of thyme at the end.
To make this, we get 20 sprigs of thyme, place them in a 150 ml of Gin Mare, cover with a towel and leave it until the next morning. Then we triple- strain it and we also strain through a piece of cloth to ensure that no residues are left. Finally we put the “aroma” into a spray container.
Mare Fizz is a very refreshing drink, where the main herbs of Gin Mare (rosemary, basil and thyme), are highlighted with the help of the homemade syrup and the “aroma” of thyme. It is ideal to be enjoyed in summer afternoons on the terrace!
Gin and Tonic Water Mare 1724 are imported and distributed in Cyprus by Hartziotis Trading Co Ltd.
You will find Stefanos Athanasiou behind the bar of ‘Madame’ in Limassol. He is the creator of the beverage menu of both ‘Madame’ and other bars.
Photos were taken at ‘Madame’ bar (24, A. Drousioti str. Heroes ‘ sq., Limassol, tel. 25364218).