August’s Innovations Club release os Inspired by Batch Director, Phil’s, travels across Southeast Asia. The Train To Hoi An Gin delivers unusual notes from the botanicals, durian and betel nut. Balanced with exotic lime leaf, lemongrass and cardamom, the results are a sweet and fruity gin with a smooth and creamy finish.
The train from the northern city of Hanoi takes a winding path through misty mountain tunnels and along pristine coastline, dotted with fishing boats – as it chugs further south towards the UNESCO world heritage site of Hoi An old town. The Journey is long, hot and cramped and there is nothing you would want more than an ice cold cocktail once you arrive in the lantern lit town
The more unusual botanicals used in The Train To Hoi An are common in Vietnam.
If you have travelled to the far East you may well be familiar with popular but pungent fruit. Eaten fresh or baked in moon cakes, the local delicacy has such a stench it’s often banned in public places and hotels. Although the fruit has a strong off-putting smell, it is lost when eating. The trick to enjoying this fruit fresh is to ignore the aroma and focus on the taste. Durian flesh is actually soft, delicate, and creamy. The creaminess is noticeable in the finished gin, along with a mellow sweetness.
Betel is something you may have witnessed if you have travelled to Asia, maybe without realising. It’s very common to see men, women and children chewing on beetle leaves or nuts, which give people a buzz equivalent to six cups of coffee and is used variously as a symbol of love, marriage and a cure for indigestion and impotence. A custom which leaves mouths and smiles strikingly red!
Once again we have Bodie Cameron to thank for August’s label artwork. This month’s label features Hanoi’s famous train street, Ngõ 224 Lê Duẩn. You can walk down this tightly knit street, along the tracks filled with tiny cafes and drying laundry but twice a day the street is abandoned and a train hurtles down. While on his adventures, Phil boarded the over night train from the northern city, Hanoi, as he started his journey towards southern Vietnam and the old town of Hoi An.
Member of the Month
For August we asked Club member, Lauren, to be our Member of the Month. We sent Lauren out an unlabelled sample of The Train To Hoi An Gin and asked her to develop a Club member serve.
Here’s what Lauren had to say and her recommended serve:
“Wow did we have fun with this! We tried just a simple lemon
We also did lots of taste testing in the office. Our perfect serves is over ice, topped with Indian tonic and garnish with a slice of dragon fruit and a sprig of mint. This serve looks beautiful to say the least, but it can be difficult to find dragon fruit, so we have an alternative garnish – papaya and chilli. Inspired by papaya salad, popular in Southeast Asia. Unlike this garnish the salad is made with unripe papaya, hand shredded and mixed with hot chillis. We opted for sweet, ripe papaya for this refreshing garnish.
If you prefer something a little stronger, try August’s Innovations Club cocktail.