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Reinvent Your G&T: Five Asian Craft Gins That Deserve A Spot on Your Bar Cart

The cool thing about gin is how flexible and adaptable the spirit can be. While all gins are made with juniper, there's near limitless possibilities when it comes what other botanicals can also be distilled to create a unique final expression. 

Consequently, it's been exciting to see the rise of more Asian craft gin brands in recent years. Many of these emerging gin brands have been experimenting with the use of different uniquely Asian botanicals, from yuzu peels in Japan to sichuan peppers in China, from white champaca in Hong Kong to pineapples and coconuts in Thailand. What results from these are an array of uniquely Asian gins that are sure to spice up your typical G&T. 

Whether you're looking to stock up your home bar cart, or looking for a gift for a gin lover in your life, keep an eye out for these five unique craft gin brands from various parts of Asia.

From 📍Thailand: Iron Balls Gin

From this ballsy Thai Distillery comes a gin uniquely made from a base spirit of distilled pineapple and coconut. The result is a tropical, fruity gin with tasty notes of mangos and lemongrass. The name of the gin was inspired by renowned steampunk bar designer Ash Sutton’s favorite tagline “you always have options if you have balls”. And how apt! Because given Thailand’s strict liquor laws, Sutton and his team were able to do the near-impossible task of obtaining the first ever distilling license to be granted in the country in 31 years – leading to the rise of Iron Balls Distillery.

You can purchase Iron Balls Gin here.

Read more: Our deep dive into Iron Balls Gin and what makes the gin unique.

From 📍Japan: Ki No Bi Gin

Ki No Bi is Japan’s first ever craft gin that showcases the beauty of Japan’s four seasons. Made artisanally in Kyoto, Ki No Bi uses a range of local botanicals including yuzu, sansho pepper, and gyokuro tea. What’s unique about Ki No Bi’s process is that its botanicals are separated into six element groupings, and individually distilled before being blended back together using the famed Fushimi water used by sake breweries in the region. A masterclass in craftsmanship, Ki No Bi gin yields bright, refreshing citrus flavors. 

You can purchase Ki No Bi gin ($59.87) here.

Read more: Our deep dive into Ki No Bi gin and how Japan’s first craft gin is made.

From 📍Greater China: Peddlers Gin

Ever wondered what mala peppers might taste like in gin? Peddlers Gin was borne in Shanghai and distilled using uniquely Chinese botanicals like Sichuan peppers, Buddha’s Hand and East Asian mint. Inspired by the hustle and bustle of olden Shanghai, Peddlers Gin aims to encapsulate the diversity of Chinese flavors while challenging traditional perception of China’s spirit scene as dominated solely by baijiu. The distillery’s flagship product is its Shanghai Gin, but its since expanded its product line to include a Barrel Aged version as well as a suan-mei-tang inspired Salted Plum Gin – infused with salted plum, mulberry, osmanthus. 

You can purchase Peddlers Gin ($44.88) here.

Read more: Our deep dive into Peddlers Gin and how China’s first craft gin is made.

From 📍Singapore: Tanglin Gin

Want to taste the spirit of Singapore, distilled? Tanglin Gin is an award-winning craft gin made in the heart of Singapore using regional botanicals. Some of their hero botanicals are the Vanilla Planifolia Orchid – a homage to Singapore’s national flower, and Amchoor – an unexpected fruity mango spice powder that’s unique to Southeast Asian locale. Tanglin Gin distillery also regularly rolls out various limited releases, including the Cacao Gin Liqueur, the Apple Pie Moonshine, and the Tanglin Jungle Juice. 

You can purchase Tanglin Gin here.

Read more: Our visit to the Tanglin Gin Distillery and a taste test of their core gins.

From 📍India: Hapusa Gin

Described as a “Mountain in a Bottle”, Hapusa Gin is an Indian craft gin made from juniper that’s specially sourced and handpicked from the Himalayas regions, and distilled at one of India’s oldest distilleries. It features botanicals native to India such as gondhoraj limes, mango, turmeric, and cardamom, yielding a well-balanced gin with notes of spices, citrus lime and nuttiness. 

You can purchase Hapusa Gin ($53.05) here.

Read more: Our interview with Hapusa Gin’s brand ambassador Priyanka Blah. 

From 📍Hong Kong: Perfume Tree Gin

Created to capture the heritage and scents of Hong Kong, the award-winning Perfume Tree Gin named after the White Champaca flower that is native to the area. Core botanicals used in the gin include champaca, sandalwood, tangerine peels and long jing green tea. The result is a floral, fragrant gin that would go great with elderflower tonic water. Making the gin is a time-sensitive and delicate process – as champaca has a very short shelf life of 6-7 hours at room temperature, during which it has to be processed before it wilts. 

You can purchase Perfume Tree Gin here.

Read more: Our interview with Perfume Tree Gin’s brand ambassador and Instagram’s favorite bartender Shelley Tai.