What did you do before developing JÜST Gin?
I started out running my own motorbike shop before moving into the pub and restaurant trade, in the late 1990’s. In the early 2000’s I was supplying vodka to Revolution bars and I produced Truth Vodka, which won gold in the 2007 vodka masters. But, given my Swedish roots and love of gin, I always had a desire to create a high quality gin that was quintessentially Swedish. I founded ‘Men of Spirits’ with Janne and Anders, 2 master craftsmen that I’d met whilst producing vodka, and we got to work in our spirit workshop next to Lake Boren in Borensberg, South Sweden.
What made you decide to create your gin and what's the inspiration behind it?
Sweden has a long history with gin but surprisingly there aren’t a great number of Swedish gins on the market. Dill isn’t a traditional gin botanical, but in Sweden it’s an iconic herb. Its lemony-sweet flavour and aniseed-like aroma is characteristic of many Swedish dishes and, as we discovered, it makes for a great tasting botanical. We called our gin JÜST (pronounced Yust) as it fits nicely with our philosophy of balance and moderation. ‘Lagom’ is a Swedish word meaning ‘just the right amount’ or ‘not too little, not too much, just right’. It’s this attention to detail and patience that we apply to our crafting of JÜST gin. We hope people enjoy it in the same way.
Can you tell us more about the production process and botanicals?
Our spirit workshop next to Lake Boren is set in a small rural town halfway between Stockholm and Gothenburg, most famous for its status as a stop on the Göta canal. Janne and Anders, spent many months sourcing and experimenting with botanicals. Perfecting the JÜST recipe didn’t come quickly and it took a few years and many ‘back to the drawing board’ moments before we found the flavour we were looking for. Our breakthrough moment came when we discovered that steeping the liquid with only the very freshest crown dill, picked at the right time, produced the distinctive flavour we’d been looking for.
The predominant but delicate flavour of JÜST is dill, accompanied by subtle touches of anise from the liquorice root, which follows the initial taste of the Austrian juniper berries. JÜST also comprises of paradise grain from West Africa and sweet / bitter almond from the Mediterranean. It’s stored for at least two weeks to let the flavours steep.
What have been the biggest challenges and achievements so far?
The biggest challenge was recreating the perfect batch that Janne and Anders finally arrived at. There was something missing in the second batch, despite using exactly the same ingredients and process. It took a few more months to discover that the crown dill had to be picked and used at exactly the right time to get the taste we were after. Discovering this very small window of opportunity was the final piece of the puzzle for the perfect recipe.
How would you describe your gin in 3 words?
Distinctive, Smooth, Moreish
What's your favourite way to drink your gin?
The JÜST’ signature serve is 1 part JÜST, 4 parts tonic, garnished with blueberries (another Swedish note) and served in a tumbler with ice. The delicate flavour of dill is complimented but not overpowered by the blueberries. We also suggest trying JÜST without a mixer, pouring over ice and waiting for 2 minutes before sipping. We recommend using Schweppes as a tonic because the strong quinine taste compliments the dill.
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin, Malfy Originale, and Gin Mare.
What's next for JÜST Gin - any exciting plans?
The feedback for JÜST dill gin has been fantastic so far. Right now we have a couple of new flavours in production, again using classic Swedish ingredients. Including something we think is completely new to the gin market, which is exciting. But our focus for the first half of 2021 is to continue getting gin lovers to try the dill flavour. We know it’s different but once they try it we’re confident they’ll love it!
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