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The Sipsmith Blog

Around the World in 80 Gins: Venezuelan Gin

in Articles March 18, 2013
Venezuelan Gin

Venezuela is known for its longstanding penchant for rum, but we have it on good authority that it’s home to some pretty devoted gin-lovers too.

To learn more about this top gin-consuming nation, we’ve delved into the history of Venezuelan gin.

Why Venezuela?

Despite its reputation as a rum-drinking nation, Venezuela has been truning its attention to gin over recent years. So much so in fact, that in terms of quantity, Venezuela has the thirteenth largest gin consumption of anywhere in the world…

What do they drink?

Venezuelan gin is becoming so popular that the distillery DUSA (In collaboration with Diageo), which produces the country’s best selling rum brand ‘Pampero’, also has a separate sister gin distillery to keep up with demand – if you’re ever in Venezuela and find yourself in need of a gin-based pick-me-up, make sure to ask for a Wellington Dry Gin.

History

As well as contributing consumption-wise, Venezuela is also intimately tied up in the colourful history of the spirit, and with one Venezuelan gin based cocktail in particular – the Pink Gin. This cocktail, which had a bit of a cult following in Britain during the 19th-century, has just two ingredients: gin and bitters. But did you know that without Venezuela, the drink might never have existed?

Well, it just so happens that Angostura bitters (probably the most popular brand – easily recognised by its oversized label) originates from Venezuela. The dark red, very secret, blend of spice extracts that adds the ‘pink’ to the gin cocktail was developed initially for medicinal purposes by a Mr Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert in 1824. He discovered the spices while serving as a surgeon in Simón Bolívar’s army in… yes, you guessed it: Venezuela.

Cocktail

In recognition of this country’s dedication to the spirit, we decided a drink was in order – or more specifically, a Venezuelan gin cocktail…

Venezuelan Snowball

Ingredients:

1 ounce of Gin

1 ounce of white crème de menthe

1 ounce of Parfait Amour

1 ounce of cream

Directions:

First get your cocktail glass nice and cool by putting it in the freezer for five minutes to chill. Then simply pour all of the ingredients, in equal measure, into a cocktail shaker filled with ice – we love that you can really easily up the quantities if you’re mixing for more people – then shake vigorously for about half a minute. And that’s it! Extract your chilled glass from the freezer and pour in the mixture. And it slightly goes without saying, but serve immediately…

Recipe by She Knows.

Image: Pink Gin © Stuart Webster

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