Original Cambodian-Flavor Gin Now in Production

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Original Cambodian-Flavor Gin Now in Production

Post by CEOCambodiaNews » Sun Feb 10, 2019 10:44 am

Seekers / Cambodia’s first gin company embraces the start-up spirit
By: Robin Spiess - Posted on: February 7, 2019 | Business
The makers of Cambodia’s first professionally produced gin talk local flavours, start-up headaches and Southeast Asia’s growing love of homegrown spirits
Seekers is the first gin to be produced in Cambodia

Clear, juniper-based gin has long been a staple of Western drinking culture, becoming one of the world’s leading spirits in both production and sales. But while there are currently more than 6,000 gins in production worldwide, Southeast Asia has been slow to jump on the gin train. With only a handful of gin companies based in the region, Southeast Asia Globe sat down with Tania Unsworth, co-founder of of the recently-launched Seekers Spirits in Phnom Penh, to chat about the growing market for gin in the region.

So how did you get your start in this business? Why gin, and why Cambodia?
My husband Marco and I have worked in hospitality all of our lives. We moved to Cambodia when Marco was offered a new job here, and eventually we saw the opportunity to open a couple of restaurants in Phnom Penh. One of them was a Spanish tapas bar – Marco is from Barcelona, so it made sense – and there’s a big trend in Spain right now of serving up specialised gin and tonics. So we started up a gin collection that became massive – at the time we probably had the biggest gin collection in Cambodia, barring maybe Raffles’ Elephant Bar.

With over 60 gins, we started doing our own infusions because – despite having gins from all over the world – we found there weren’t that many that had the local flavours we’d come to love. And we thought, you know, we should actually just go ahead and make a real gin, our own gin, and create a flavour profile unique to this part of the world.

As for why we chose Cambodia for this project, it’s a mixture: it was both where we were already living, and it’s just a very friendly country for setting up a business, especially in comparison to other countries in the region. Thailand, for example, has very restrictive rules when it comes to alcohol production, so it would have been very challenging to start up there. And in Singapore it is very expensive to set up a business. Having gone through the process of setting up a business here before, we felt quite confident.

Let’s talk about the gin itself. What makes it stand out?
We wanted to celebrate the bold, aromatic flavours of this part of the world and put them in a bottle. When we started exploring the actual recipe with our gin maker, who joined us from a reputable gin distillery in London, he arrived with experience in gin-making but not necessarily with experience in the local flavours. In October 2017 when he arrived at our distillery, we had about 50 botanicals that we wanted to experiment with, which we felt were unique to this part of the world.

We had a vision of the style of gin we wanted to create: something full-bodied and smooth. Based on that flavour profile, we narrowed it down and spent about nine months just tweaking the recipe. Juniper is the base of gin, and it doesn’t grow here regionally, so we import that from Europe. We’re also sourcing our Angelica, which does grow regionally but we haven’t found a local supplier for it yet. But then we have 11 other, local botanicals that we are using in the gin, and those are really the ingredients that give the gin its unique flavour.
https://sea-globe.com/cambodias-first-g ... up-spirit/
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