What did you do before creating Mataroa Gin?
Melissanidi Distillery was founded in 1924, so we weren’t even born when it was created! The distillery has had a great history before us, creating Ouzo Archontiko (since 1924), and Tsipouro Archontiko (since 2016). Ouzo and Tsipouro are both traditional Greek spirits with a long history, and we are very proud to say that our very own Archontiko Family, are multi-awarded drinks.
What made you decide to create your gin, and what's the inspiration behind it?
One of the reasons is purely practical. The production of gin requires the same distilling means as Ouzo, and follows essentially the same process, except for the basic herb: in ouzo we use anise, in gin we use juniper. Additionally, there is another important parameter. Although gin is a drink with a long history in Great Britain, it is essentially international, because it can be produced literally anywhere, with excellent, high quality results.
As for the inspiration, it is definitely the Mediterranean Sea. The soul warming sun, the beauty of its coasts, our own experiences, it all simply added up to the fact that while we were choosing the best raw materials from each region, we were always moving within the coasts of the Mediterranean sea. A blessed land of inspiration that helped us create Mataroa Mediterranean Dry Gin.
Can you tell us about the distillation process?
The distillery is up to date with modern techniques, while still following the traditional methods. The first phase of the process is the selection of the best raw materials with the most stringent criteria. We then proceed to extract the juniper essence for a few hours in a hydro-alcoholic solution, while the other ingredients are placed in a special basket made of copper. The essences of the other ingredients are obtained by the process of vapour infusion, and all the ingredients are combined according to our recipe, giving the final result.
Can you tell us more about the botanicals?
Mataroa’s 12 Ingredients come from 11 Mediterranean countries - one from each country, and two ingredients from France: Juniper Berries (Croatia), Angelica Root and Lavender (France), Coriander Seeds (Tunisia), Orris Root (Italy), Bay Leaf (Syria), Licorice (Turkey), Orange Peels (Spain), Lemon Peels (Egypt), Mandarin Peels (Morocco), Chamomile (Cyprus), and of course, unique Greek Mastic from the mastic trees of South Chios.
How would you describe Mataroa Gin in 3 words?
Balanced, smooth and Mediterranean!
What's your favourite way to drink Mataroa Gin?
We call it Mediterranean Purple: Indian tonic water, a small lavender sprig and orange zest.
What gins would you always have on your gin shelf (other than your own of course!)?
We love Old Sport Gin and Grace Gin, which are distilled and bottled in Greece too and we always try the new arrivals.