On November 5th 2012, Guy Fawkes night in the UK, some Valencian sparks flew when the Ginself team arrived in London from Valencia (a place where gunpowder is not unfamiliar) to pick up their award at the International Spirits Challenge (ISC) 2012, one of the most prestigious prizes in the sector, awarded by a panel of 50 experts.
They say that it’s not a good idea to mix business with pleasure, although it’s also true that some of us cannot resist a good project when it comes along; and who better to work on it with than with your friends, and where better to make plans than during a good meal?
One such project arose from one such meal among a group of friends; three Valencians and a Sicilian, and the result is a new brand of gin on the market called Ginself; because it’s what you would make for yourself if you wanted to.
Ginself is an offer you can’t refuse and although protected by its Sicilian connection, it is a truly Valencian product, containing as it does such fruits of the Levante coast such as oranges and tiger nuts. If your palate is delicate enough you will also detect mandarin, orange blossom, lemon peel and angelica seeds and roots, which are frequently used to flavour gin and other liqueurs such as Chartreuse.
True to their gourmet principles, even the water is not what you’d encounter cascading from your kitchen tap, but the sparkling mineral water of the Sierra de Espadán, a mountain range on the border of the provinces of Valencia and Castellón.
The distillation process is traditional, involving small quantities and using a copper still of over a hundred years’ service, just like the ones used by the Hillbillies in the Blue Mountains of Kentucky to make their bootleg whisky, although in this case with all the necessary sanitary guarantees.
This delicious nectar is being marketed by Don Vincenzo Cancilleri, the owner of Gin al Punto, SL, and has been on the shelves since December 2010.
Although many people still think of gin as inseparable from tonic and as belonging to the guardians of the British Empire installed on tropical terraces under the fanning banana leaves of their servants, it turns out that Spain is a major consumer of gin. Even so, the quartet of founders has ambition and are already sounding out the Chinese market.
Ginself is produced at the famous Bodegas Carmelitano de Benicàssim, well known for the liqueurs produced there by the religious order since the 17th century.