Co-founder Of Two Moons Distillery Dimple Yuen Talks Winning Silver At The World Gin Awards And Myths About Gin
Co-founder and head distiller of Two Moons Distillery Dimple Yuen talks about her pride in using Asian botanicals and winning silver at the World Gin Awards
What were the challenges of setting up Hong Kong’s first micro distillery in 2017?
The entire project from idea to launch took about two years, so while the whole process was challenging, it was rewarding too. The difficulty was that there were no past examples to refer to. We learnt to tackle situations as they came and taught ourselves everything along the way. Luckily, everyone we met—from bartenders to distillers—was very supportive and we will always be grateful to them.
Your signature dry gin was the first Hong Kong gin to win a silver medal at the World Gin Awards, in 2020. How does that feel?
We feel honoured to have represented Hong Kong on such an international stage. Though we’re not a city known for making spirits yet, we’re hoping to change that, and it’s encouraging to see our Signature Dry Gin acknowledged by such a prestigious entity. As a new brand, we are always reminding ourselves we still have a lot of work to do, so we promise to stay humble, remain grateful and, most importantly, enjoy the journey.
How important is it for you to stay true to your roots and promote locally produced gin?
I was born and raised in Hong Kong, so I’m proud of my heritage and it was important for me to honour it by creating a gin that stayed true to a classic dry gin style while proudly boasting a local flair. As such, the entire process, from distilling to bottling, labelling, sealing and waxing are all done by hand at our distillery in Chai Wan. Half of our 12 botanicals are of Asian origin, including Chinese apricot kernels and tangerine peels, to reflect the cultural melting pot of Hong Kong. Our distillery is a space that welcomes all ‘ginthusiasts’ to uncover our secrets to crafting premium gin in the city.
Can you tell us a little about becoming a distiller?
People are always pleasantly surprised when I tell them that I used to be a programmer. But my love for gin was what inspired me to become a distiller. This led me to pursue my diploma in distilling at the Institute of Brewing and Distilling in the UK. The sky’s the limit when it comes to flavour possibilities with gin and this is precisely why I fell in love with the spirit.
What are your plans for the future?
We hope to establish ourselves as a leading distillery not only in Hong Kong but in Asia and beyond. We’ve got a couple of exciting collaborations lined up, so expect some limited-edition flavours soon.
Yuen dispels five common myths about gin
London dry gin can only be made in London
Unlike the geographical indication of specific wines like champagne, a London dry gin can be made in all parts of the world. As it is an incredibly popular style of gin, there are strict protocols related to the production process you must follow before you are allowed to coin yourself a London dry gin, but being in London is not one of them.
All gins are born the same
Besides juniper berries always being present, there are very few restrictions on what you can put in gin. With the rise of craft gins, there are now extremely creative gins with infused lobster shells, exotic fruits or even smoked bacon fat—the flavours are limitless. It’s a never-ending abyss of exploration and everyone is bound to find a gin that they like.
Gin is difficult to make
Infused gin is actually very easy to make at home. All it takes is adding juniper berries to a neutral alcohol base. In other words, if you were to take a bottle of vodka and infuse some juniper berries in it overnight, you’ve made gin. You can even add other ingredients of your choice, for example Earl Grey tea leaves or fresh fruits. It just depends on your taste.
Gin originated in England
Netherlands, born from a spirit called ‘jenever’, which means juniper in Dutch. During the Anglo- Dutch wars in the 17th century, English soldiers found that the bravery of the Dutch soldiers came from consuming too much jenever, or liquid courage. This is where the term ‘Dutch courage’ was born. The English then brought the spirit back home and it was adapted to become the gin we know today.
Gin can’t be enjoyed neat
Good gin, just like good whisky, can most definitely be enjoyed neat. It’s all down to personal preference and in fact, one of my favourite ways to enjoy gin is on its own, or with a little bit of ice, to experience all the flavours it has to offer.
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