Introducing Aggie’s Shack Gin – June’s Innovations Club release, distilled in collaboration with our Club member Glenn.
In February we ran a competition with our Innovations Club members– we challenged them to submit three botanicals they thought would make an interesting gin. From the entries we chose the most inspiring and got to work.
The winning ingredients were kokum, teppal and chilli. Head Distiller, Ollie, was interested in balancing the heat from the teppal and chilli with the super sweet tang of kokum. We had to replace kokum with mangosteen, a very similar fruit from the same family, and teppal with it cousin Shechuan pepper, as the closest available, exotic ingredients.
The result is a well balanced gin. Initial sweet notes on the palate give way to a wave of heat, leading to a subtle coconut finish.
Glenn selected three botanicals which were inspired by his many journeys to Goa in the 1990’s and noughties.
“I travelled to Goa for the first time in 1994 after reading a small article in The Face magazine about a mythical rave scene set amongst palm trees on the beach with cows meandering across the dance floor and hippies painted in day-glo paint – that’s for me I thought! So I talked my mate into coming with me and off we went. We didn’t find any raves (that time), but we did make a life long friend – Aggie- who owned a tiny beach shack long before Goa became the busy famous place it is now. Aggie invited us to meet his entire family, we sat and ate dinner with them and it was wonderful. A catholic Goan cuisine feast. While in the beach he would cook us whatever had been caught from the sea that morning with amazing spices and flavours that we had never tasted. My many visits to Goa after that were all memorable and I introduced Aggie to at least 20 of my friends over the years who still visit him to this day. It would be an honour to have Batch recognise the place and people of Goa – in particular – my friend Aggie.”
Grains of paradise
Artist, Bodie Cameron, has incorporated elements of the 1990’s rave scene to reflect Glenn’s inspiration and stories of Goa. Did you spot the smiley face? Tie dye dominates this label, a clothing synonymous amongst the travellers who came from all over the world to experience the full moon raves. With palm trees set against the psychedelic colours and Aggie’s Shack taking centre place, this month’s label is a bold vision of a tipsy afternoon on a tropical beach, after maybe one too many cocktails!
We caught up with Glenn to ask a few questions about Goa, Aggie’s Shack and June’s gin.
The botanicals you chose were inspired from your trips to Goa, which foods did you first find these flavours in? Mostly in seafood – Aggie would experiment on us. Trying new recipes, we were happy to feast on anything that came out of his kitchen. Often dishes like snapper vindaloo (not like a vindaloo you would get over here). Whenever I asked what was in the recipe, Aggie would take me into the kitchen shack and show a range of spices fresh from that morning’s market.
Do you think the flavours come across in the finished product? Yes, it was a really nice surprise when we tested it. When the sample arrived we had a shot, tried it straight. There’s a really nice, fruity aftertaste. The spices come though obviously but there’s still a delicious sweetness.
Having tasted Aggie’s Shack Gin, how would you serve it? We tried a few mixers, but decided to keep it simple with Indian tonic, a big wedge of lime and loads of ice. That’s how we would have served it at Aggie’s Shack.
The artwork is rather striking, Batch Artist Bodie Cameron was inspired by your stories of the rave scene. What do you think of the label? I Love it! When I first opened it up, I was hit by all the colours and the tie dye really reminded me of going to Goa. I love Aggies Shack, silhouettes of me and my wife Jo, at least that’s who I’ve told her the characters are. The label really encapsulates what it was like going to Goa back then.
Post-pandemic, do you have any plans to get back to Goa? It’s something we always talk about and I’d love to take the children to India and Goa to experience the culture there, and of course introduce them to Aggie. Although they’re not quite old enough to rave yet. Aggie also has children now, as do the many friends I’ve travelled to Goa with over the years, so it would be amazing to have a beach reunion.
We also asked Glenn to make a short playlist of songs that transport him back to Aggie’s Shack, so you can get the full feel of a chilled Goan beach at sunset, while you sip this month’s limited edition release. Take a photo of the QR code, hit play and enjoy!
Glenn has recommended a simple serve of Indian tonic and lime, which does the trick! At Batch HQ we also went with Indian tonic, garnished with mango, lime and a sprig of mint.
Or try something a little more exotic with an Aggie’s Shack Cocktail.