With its long history of growing juniper berries (brina) and distilling a juniper-based schnapps (brinjevec or brinavec), Slovenia has the culture and skills needed to produce high quality gin. However, it’s only in recent years that commercial production of the spirit seems to have gained traction, with at least 14 distillers now having versions of the classic drink on the market.
We thus present part two of our series on Slovenian gin, to help you choose the next bottle or glass to enjoy.
Aufbix is a small-batch London-style gin flavoured with juniper berries, coriander, cardamom, carob, angelica and orris root, with additional citrus notes given to the spirit with the use of fresh peel from pink grapefruits and blood oranges from Sicily. And that Italian note isn’t the only international ingredient in the Aufbix story, as one of the founders of 78 Stopinj, the distillery that uses water from Mount Pohorje to produce it’s drinks, is from New Zealand, with a background in winemaking. Website.
Broken Bones is made in Ljubljana from a distillery that started with whisky before moving on to gin, with the aim of producing a spirit that could be enjoyed neat as well as in a cocktail. The unique flavour of the drink is given by the use of rosehip berries and linden tree flowers, with the latter an especially Slovenian touch, given that this is one of the symbols of the nation. The name comes from when the owners, Borut and Boštjan, both had accidents when working with their first whisky barrels, resulting in a broken leg and broken nose. The gin is made in small batches, with each batch being slightly different. In addition to the standard gin, the company also produces Broken Bones Navy Strength Gin (57% ABV), and is working on Broken Bones Old Tom Gin, with added honey and matured in Slovenian oak casks. Website.
Karakter Gin is distilled by a team who were draw to the spirit for two reasons: first for the relative simplicity of it’s production, and second because gin is a drink that allows for a wide range of experimentation. The result is thus a gin that has character, hence the name, and one that seeks to explore the basic idea of gin by brining out the complexity of the usual juniper berries and botanicals by adding various atypital herbs and spices. If that sounds intriguing then seek out a bottle or glass of Karakter Dry Gin, produced using maceration, infusion, and percolation. Website.
Monologue Gin is the first “celebrity” gin in this series, presented by Tomaž Kavčič, the top chef of the famed Pri Lojzetu. The twist on this gin is that Kavčič has aimed to capture the taste of Vipava in the spirit, which in addioion to the usual herbs and botanicals is flavoured with rosemary, lavender and an extract of olive leaves. No website at present, but the restaurant can be found here.
Other articles in this series can be found here