What is the history of gin in Iceland?
The production of gin in Iceland is a relatively new industry. The first “Icelandic Gin” was launched as recently as 2010. However, the idea and recipe for Old Islandia Gin has existed for much longer and is based on a very old, traditional recipe. Despite that, Icelanders have enjoyed drinking gin for over 30 years, but only with the traditional brands that have been imported.
What is the Icelandic gin industry like now?
In the last five years, at least 9 other brands have entered the Icelandic market, so you can conclude that the gin “boom” is also being felt in Iceland, despite it’s relatively small and scattered population.
Do Icelandic gins have a distinctive style?
Very few gin brands in Iceland use only Icelandic botanicals, and those that do are only very small batch productions and sold locally. These gins use bark, angelica and birch, and they are mostly coloured gins. Most gins made in Iceland have the main ingredient as juniper berries, and are distilled by pot distillation.
Which Icelandic gins should international gin lovers get their hands on first?
For sure, of all the Icelandic Gins, I would recommend that you taste Old Islandia Gin, made from juniper berries, coriander, ginger and angelica. It is very easy to enjoy with a sweet taste. After Old Islandia, we would recommend trying Icelandic Eagle Gin.
How to people like to serve gin in Iceland?
Generally, it is very popular to serve gin as a base ingredient for cocktails, or more simply with ginger ale (very popular) and of course as a simple G&T. The Icelandic gin market is still very young and unsophisticated, but it is growing and in the next few years, if the evolution of Icelandic gins continues, then there will be a lot more experimentation and development as tastes change.
What gins from outside of Iceland are most popular there?
The focus of the local market is on Icelandic gins, however Hendricks Gin, Bombay Sapphire Gin and Gordons Gin are still popular in Iceland.
Where do you see the Icelandic gin industry going next?
In the next few years, I think most of the distilleries will still be small and serve the local market. With the quality of our Old Islandia Gin and the interest we are getting from export markets, it is very likely we will grow our capacity and experiment further with new products to add to our portfolio of premium gin and vodka.