World’s ‘oldest’ gin recipe launched in Hong Kong

In the lead up to World Gin Day, a grape-based gin has been introduced in Hong Kong which experts claim is a modern interpretation of the “world’s oldest” recorded recreational recipe that dates back to 1495.

Gin 1495

Gin expert, Philip Duff and EWG global spokesperson, Yves Le Boulengé present the two renditions of the original 1495 recipe

Discovered in Holland in an out-of-print Dutch language history book of Jenever – the juniper-based spirit from which gin evolved – the recipe contains a very high percentage of botanicals, including “handfuls” of nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cloves and sage.

The recipe is thought to have been written by a merchant living in Holland and was recorded only once, making it the earliest known account of gin making.

A panel of gin experts, Dave Wondrich, Gary Regan, Dave Broom and Philip Duff collaborated with Cognac-based company, EWG Spirits & Wine to replicate the original recipe, Gin 1495 Verbatim and also a “modern take” Gin 1495 Interpretatio, which Duff describes as having “a higher concentration of juniper and citrus notes.” The gin used was G-Vine, a grape-based gin made at EWG’s distillery.

100 bottles of Gin 1495 Verbatim have been made which will be offered with Gin 1495 Interpretatio and a copy of the original recipe (pictured). Two bottles are available in Hong Kong via auction with all proceeds going towards charitable causes while the rest will be given to spirits institutions and museums around the world, including the British Museum where the original recipe was uncovered as part of the Sloane Manuscripts.

Duff said, “It’s been a two year process and the 1495 recipe is not just the first chapter in the rich history of gin, this historic recipe is part of the foundation of the entire gin category.

“While we are holding back on making this commercially available for the time being, the door is open to all future possibilities.”

The original recipe manuscript dating back to 1495

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