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by Lynne Myers
From ‘Mother’s ruin’ to today’s fashionable drink of choice, gin has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years. And with this gin renaissance, distillers from all over the world are offering consumers unique ways to enjoy the traditional tipple, which originated in The Netherlands and became infamously popular in 17th century England.
Enter GIASS Gin, Milan’s first London Dry Gin, founded by five friends over their shared passion for the drink. DLISH recently spoke to one of the founders, Simone Romiti, to find out how GIASS was born and the inspiration behind the Italian gin.
The GIASS Team
Lynne Myers: What’s the story behind GIASS gin?
Simone Romiti: GIASS (which means ice in Milanese slang) was born in Milan between 2015 and 2016 as the idea of 5 friends: Andrea and Simone Romiti, Richard D’Annunzio, Francesco Niutta and Francesco Braggiotti. In 2015, during the EXPO, Andrea and I were developing a new project about wine, food and quality drinking. To help develop our idea, we hired Richard, a person passionate about spirits who spends his time experimenting, creating and mixing new drinks. To bring the idea to fruition we would use his kitchen as the laboratory for making the first gin infusions, his dining table as the setting for recipe development and the dishwasher an extemporary still.
Francesco N. and Francesco B. joined the Giass team after an evening spent talking about and tasting Richard’s gin-based cocktails. At the end of the night the decision was made: they would work on a gin recipe that would encapsulate their tastes and expectations.
Once again it was time for Richard to get to his kitchen, only this time there wouldn’t be a dishwasher but a small 3 liter alembic bought on Amazon for a few hundred dollars by the new team. After 6 months of testing and tasting the alchemy became real: the blending of 18 botanicals suddenly becomes GIASS, the first London Dry Gin made in Milan.
LM: As the first London Dry Gin made in Milan, did you feel pressure to get GIASS right, or was it a liberating experience to be the first?
SR: Well, I think that this was the easy part of the business. We were the first, so we could decide which way to take our product.
LM: How much does GIASS respect traditional gin?
SR: Very much! Because it is a London dry gin, we make it the traditional English way, but have added a lot of botanicals, 18 to be exact, more than many others. GIASS is an Italian way to produce London dry gin.
LM: What inspired the bottle and packaging design?
SR: The inspiration comes from the desire to serve GIASS in an elegant stamped bottle. The contrast between a choice of simple glass, almost like those used in the old pharmacies, and the serigraphy inspired to the geometry of the Vittorio Emanuele galley in Milan.
The GIASS logo is a tribute to the “green dragon” you’ll find in the water spots around Milan.
Giass London Dry Gin made in Milan
LM: Gin has had a resurgence in popularity in recent years, especially with younger people, why do you think this is?
SR: I think that is a mix between product and bottle design. GIASS is easy to drink and it is good for all palates. The bottle design adds and intrigue and attraction to the already delicately unique taste of the gin.
LM: Does GIASS have any future plans to expand into other liquor markets?
SR: Yes, we do… but you still have to be patience.
LM: And finally, what’s your favorite way to drink gin?
SR: Definitely gin tonic!
Click here to experience the rare GIASS botanicals.
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