Slovenia has a long tradition of growing juniper berries (brina) and turning them into alcohol (brinjevec or brinavec), and thus the rise of Slovenian gin producers over the last few years isn’t as surprising as you might think. Moreover, the relatively small scale and rapid production that gin enables, unlike, say, wine, means it’s an interest open to the hobbyist, craftsperson and entrepreneur alike – ripe for exploration and adventure.
Photo: Open Kitchen, to promote the same group's Brina Gin Festival
In addition to the growing number of Slovenian brands, many following their own paths in terms of flavour and production methods, there are also events like the Brina Gin Festival, drawing more attention to the industry, serving new cocktails and food pairings, enabling drinkers to meet producers, and vice versa.
One fruit of this raised profile is the news this week that Ljubljana’s Broken Bones Distillery has won awards in the Contemporary Gin Category (Over 42% ABV) and London Dry Gin Category at The Gin Guide Awards 2020, with the firm’s Broken Bones London Dry Gin also named the Best in Europe (including, it must be said, Britain).
Broken Bones Distillery is in a quiet building on the edge of Ljubljana. Photo: JL Flanner
Gins from more than 30 countries competed in The Gin Guide Awards 2020 in categories based on production methods, style of gin, and country of production. The winners were selected through a rigorous blind tasting process conducted by a large panel of distinguished gin experts, distillers, retailers and mixologists. Each gin’s appearance, aroma, flavour, mouthfeel, finish and overall quality and market appeal are judged to decide the highest scoring gins, based purely on the spirit itself and with no influence, the Awards stress, from branding or marketing.
The full list of winners in all categories can be found here, while you can learn more about Broken Bones Distillery, including how it got its name and how you can pay a visit, in our interview with one of the owners, Boštjan Marušič, from last year. You can also visit the Broken Bones website and order a bottle of London Dry to enjoy neat or with your favourite mixer.