A Sip of Ecuadorian Gold

The most awarded South American gin in the world finds its way to Indian shores, bringing with it the pure taste of the Ecuadorian Andes, and botanicals picked from four continents (and eight countries including India), creating a sublime, aromatic spirit from what was once a lost recipe.

(As we publish this, we pray for the people of India, suffering during the worst crisis of the pandemic, and are mindful of the enormous tragedy being faced by our nation. We pray for recovery and healing.)

Crespo London Dry Gin

With a sensuous taste from ingredients collected across four continents, Crespo, the most awarded Latin American gin in the world, is Ecuador’s spirit gift to the world. Now Indians with a predilection for gin (popularized by that Raj-era staple, the gin and tonic) as well as young New Age drinkers, can taste the deliciously aromatic Crespo London Dry Gin right here, thanks to its exclusive importer, Aska Beverages Pvt. Ltd. Made in Ecuador with 11 hand-picked botanicals from eight countries, this super premium gin is macerated in extra neutral alcohol that is triple distilled, with water from the Ecuadorian Andes. Everything is done by hand – from bottling, sealing, labelling, and numbering.

“Crespo is a unique gin made with the purest water of the Ecuadorian Andes,” says Ecuador’s envoy to India, H.E. Ambassador Hector Cueva Jacome. “Crespo is born at 4,167 meters above sea level in an Andean natural reserve called ‘El Cajas’. The water from the Andes is then combined with extra neutral alcohol from the sugar cane of tropical plantations that is carefully triple distilled following the London Dry Gin technique, which traps the flavour and enhances the aroma of 11 carefully selected botanicals from four continents – eight countries – India included, among which highlights the citrus touches of orange, lemon, and cardamom.”

Crespo's distinctive glass bottle and hand applied label

Indeed its ingredients reads like an exotic bric-a-brac found in an explorer’s trunk - juniper from Bulgaria, orange, lemon and angelica from the United States, cardamom from Guatemala, cinnamon and dill from India, liquorice from Uzbekistan, cassia from Indonesia, orris from Morocco, and coriander from Egypt. The spices are all weighed by hand, following founder Gustavo Crespo’s master recipe. “At just 19 years old, Gustavo Crespo worked in his grandfather's distillery in Uzhupud, a rural community in the Ecuadorian Andes,” says Cristina Chiriboga Tejada, Trade and Investment Officer, Trade Office of Ecuador in Mumbai. “There, he discovered his passion for creating. He wrote in detail in a small notebook all the recipes of the beverages he worked on and experimented with. He wrote down his liquor formulas in his notebook, among which was a quality gin. Later in life, he switched professional pads and got involve with communications and data transmission services.” However, she says that in 2015, Gustavo turned his energy and work, into his true passion and roots: to make a premium alcoholic beverage: the perfect gin. “He searched for his small notebook, but without success,” says Cristina. “Over the years his notebook was lost, but Gustavo never lost his passion. So he had to work from scratch on a small handmade copper still with sufficient capacity to satisfy friends and family visiting on the weekends. Gustavo experimented again and managed to create a new gin, the perfect gin, much better than the lost formula.” The result is a clear gin with wonderful notes of citrus, lemon, orange, and cardamom, with a slightly creamy, smooth texture.

Crespo makes for the perfect gin - for mixing cocktails

And this perfect gin has brought with it a slew of awards. “We are very proud that Crespo is the only gin from Latin America to be awarded internationally,” says H.E. the Ambassador of Ecuador, Hector Cueva Jacome. “In April 2016, Crespo obtained their first international recognition with a Double Gold Medal, in the most prestigious contest of alcoholic beverages: San Francisco World Spirits Competition, positioning Crespo London Dry Gin among the best in the world. In the span of four years from 2016 to 2020 Gin Crespo received 10 recognitions. Currently Crespo Gin is present in 16 countries: Spain, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Holland, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg, Slovenia, Croatia, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria and, Norway. We are very proud of Crespo and it was natural to include it the portfolio of products that we promote in various countries around the world.”

Housed in a unique 70 cl glass bottle, with 45 percent alcohol by volume, Crespo is produced in limited batches. And because it’s a super-premium gin that is hand crafted from start to finish, with carefully selective ingredients, it is getting that respect and renown from all over the world. “Ecuador is not a big producer of gin,” says Cristina, “However, thanks to Crespo, our country is now known as the producer of one of the best and most awarded gins in the world. Crespo is the only gin from Latin America that has been awarded internationally. We are confident that Crespo will do great in the Indian market. Its high quality, uniqueness and versatility will make it succeed in India.”

Crespo Gin from Ecuador

In a country where the demand for gin is continually increasing, and expected to grow 8.85 percent from 2021 to 2025 (CAGR). And with demand creating home-grown brands, an international brand like Crespo is likely to create a buzz, especially among the New Age Millennials. “There has been a huge demand for gin in India,” says Rajbir Singh, Managing Director, Aska Beverages Pvt. Ltd. “If you look at it, it all adds up to Crespo’s unique spice mix – the spices used during the maceration forms an essential part of our diet – cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, orange peel, which makes Crespo perfect for the Indian market.”

“Indians’ palates can be traditional or experimental or both; however, one trait shared by all Indians, perhaps without any exception, is their love for spices,” says Ambassador Hector Cueva Jacome.” Crespo´s flavor and aroma is the result of the combination of 11 carefully selected botanicals across four continents and eight countries: juniper, coriander seeds, orange peel, cassia, angelica root, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, dill, orris, lemon peel and liquorice. The blends of flavours in this premium gin would make it appealing to the Indian market. We are confident that Crespo will do great in one of the largest markets for gin in the world.”

A cocktail with Crespo

India experienced a ‘boom’ of sorts for gin 5-6 years ago – with mixologists, influencers, and brands joining in the fray with tastings, mixology classes, and getaways with experts and food pairings, in the metro cities. And the thirst for quality imported gin remains high. (Make your perfect gin and tonic by filling a glass with ice. Put a measure of Crespo London Dry Gin and two measures of the best tonic water. Add a slice (or a peel) of lemon, orange, or strawberry, and it’s ready to drink.)

“A lot of imported gin is making its way in the Indian market, as well as good brands being manufactured in India,” says Rajbir Singh. “We are looking at the upper segment, since the quality and competition is much less there. Gin has always been a popular drink in India, and now this is cresting with the youth, with cocktail mixes, even ice-cream. Gin tonic has always been a preferred drink across all ages, and now bless the Government for lowering the age of alcohol consumption from 25 to 21!”

But currently, as India faces the pandemic head on, in what is our worst crisis ever, as our country climbs out of it in the coming weeks, the Ecuadorian Trade office wants to focus on digital promotion. “For the time being, due to the pandemic, we will concentrate on creating a buzz in social media,” says Cristina. “Once the pandemic subsides, along with social media promotion, we would like to conduct tasting sessions and other face-to-face activities.”

Make a gin martini with Crespo

And what are some other spirits that could find their way onto Indian shores from Ecuador, we ask the Ambassador. “Ecuador exports include a wide variety of products such as beer, wine, and other spirits that we are looking forward to promote in the Indian market,” he says. We look forward to more delicious fare from the beautiful country of Ecuador.

(Crespo London Dry Gin is available exclusively in India from Aska Beverages Pvt. Ltd. 011-49070272; 011-47046527; email: askabeverages@gmail.com)


Priya Kumari Rana

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