So this is the question I get asked the most, what is it!?!
“It looks trendy, a bit like a vodka but ‘Juniper Distilled Spirit’ implies it’s more like a gin…”
Well the answer is fairly simple and complex at the same time. The simple, legal, answer is it’s neither. We did things differently, we broke the rules and the result was a product that didn’t lie within the mundane and conventional.
In short though, the best description of Minus 33, is that it is a lower abv gin.
I spent a year working on a gin recipe in a lab, a friend of mine would sneak me in overnight and over a 12 hour session we’d churn out around 10 recipes. At the end of each week I’d run these recipes through our tasters and get their input and feedback before going back to the lab and refining the recipe further. The goal - create the best tasting spirit. (you can find out more about that journey here)
After a year of taste testing I discovered that spirit lovers, like you, enjoyed the flavour at a lower ABV, 33% to be exact. To be a ‘gin’ or any other core spirit, the minimum ABV must be 37.5% (according to EU law). Rather than compromise a recipe people told me they loved, we decided to keep the recipe as was. As a result we couldn’t legally call it gin, but in essence it is made using the same process.
What we found during this year of research was that the alcohol brought out the spicy notes and vice versa, the vast majority of drinkers, seemed to prefer the delicate flavours; the floral and citrus notes, and toning down the abv allowed these flavours to be better expressed. Rather than a heavy, spicy, punch up front, our spirit was lighter, smoother and more delicate, leading to a better rounded taste profile where each botanical came through. We even found vodka drinkers liked Minus 33 as it wasn’t as spicy as a traditional, old fashioned product.
The challenge then was what to call it? Luckily this isn’t the first time in the modern era that a new category of spirit has been created. Captain Morgan, commonly known as a ‘spiced rum’ is actually not one. If you examine a bottle closely you’ll see it is A Premium Spirit Drink with Caribbean Rum, Spice and other Natural Flavours. Having checked the rule book, we opted for Juniper Distilled Spirit, we felt this best reflected what our product was and allowed the knowledgeable gin lovers to associate Minus 33 with a spirit they enjoy.
So there you have it, Minus 33, a Juniper Distilled Spirit, smooth, delicious and you may even be able to convince your vodka drinking friends to come join us from the dark side!
Enjoy it as you would any other gin, with tonic, as a martini, it works exceptionally well in cocktails too (see here for some inspiration). Cheers!