A gin and tonic with a squeeze of fresh calamansi or a gin calamansi spritzer is a refreshing sipper, so using this Southeast Asian citrus as one of the botanicals in gin makes perfect sense. Local microdistillery Two Moons is launching a calamansi-forward gin, and it is going to be the second instalment to their main portfolio line.
According to Two Moons Distillery’s co-founder and head distiller Dimple Yuen, the inspiration for the new flavour came unexpected. “It wasn’t planned at all! We were on our way to pick up the copper still we made in collaboration with Ping Kee Copperware and happened to have a bowl of laksa for lunch,” she explains. “Usually, the condiments come with a lime wedge, but to our surprise, the restaurant gave us a calamansi. The bright and zesty aroma is just so captivating, so we were really intrigued. After doing some research, we found that a local farm [Sheung Shui’s Fu Kam Organic Farm] grew its own variety, and we knew we had to use it! It’s just so citrusy, bright, refreshing, and also very representative of Southeast Asia – we fell in love right away,” she adds.
Two Moons Calamansi Gin botanicals – spruce, juniper, and calamansi
The calamansi fruit is small but packs a serious sour punch. The taste is something between a sour orange or a sweeter lime and also a bit tart. Two Moons Calamansi Gin uses the whole fruit as a botanical – using a Hong Kong and a Vietnamese variety – blended with only two other ingredients, which is the juniper and coniferous evergreen spruce. In the Philippines, where calamansi is a native fruit, there are several craft gins already utilising the citrus as a botanical, but the Two Moons rendition brings it more forward. The gin is bright and zesty on the nose, and a perfect balance of pine and citrus on the palate. We enjoyed drinking it neat, but it’s also great to mix with ice, especially now that the weather is getting warmer. For a more refreshing taste, mix it with an Indian tonic and garnish it with a slice of fresh calamansi.
Two Moons Distillery’s Calamansi Gin
Unfortunately, the bottle won’t be available in the market yet, but those interested in getting the first taste can pre-order on the Two Moons website, and have it delivered between June 2 and 4. The Two Moons Calamansi Gin comes in a 700ml bottle ($530) and in a Collector’s Edition box set ($228) that includes a mini 200ml Calamansi Gin bottle, a sachet of artisan sea salt harvested from Hong Kong’s only working salt pan in Sai Kung, and a recipe to make salted calamansi G&T inspired by the classic Hong Kong salted lime soda drink. Starting June 2, bottles will be available in City’super, Hong Kong Liquor Store, and Ginsanity.
For those who enjoy gin concoctions, starting June 2, head to The Pawn Botanical Bar in Wan Chai and taste the signature calamansi gin mixed as a G&T ($140 per glass), a Full Moon Martini ($140 per glass), and Crescent Moon Collins ($140 per glass). Two Moons is also collaborating with Quinary and turning the Hollywood Road bar into a summer-themed enclave overrun with exotic species of fauna and flora. So keep your eyes peeled and follow Two Moons Distillery on Facebook for updates. For more information, visit twomoonsdistillery.com.
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