About Etsu Japanese Gin
Etsu, meaning pleasure or joy in Japanese language, is a gin made by the Asahikawa Distillery on the island of Hokkaido. Best known for its rice wine (Sake) or the spirit Shochu, Japan started entering the global spirits market with its whiskies in the early 2000s, and with its modern gins in recent years.
What sets Japanese gins apart from Western styles is using fewer botanicals and the toned down juniper notes. Carefully selected and hand-picked local botanicals, such as cherry blossom, tea, sansho pepper, and yuzu, a tart and fragrant citrus, commonly used in Japanese cuisine, also result in a distinct taste profile. The botanicals are often macerated and distilled separately before blending. Most Japanese gins are made from rice-, barley- or corn-based neutral grain spirit, however a new wave of distillers is utilizing everything from sweet potato to sugarcane. When you add meticulous attention to detail at every step of the production, it comes as no surprise that it did not take long for these innovative gins to win the hearts of spirits enthusiasts looking for something new.
Etsu was one of the first Japanese craft gins in the market. This unique artisanal gin is handmade to a secret recipe from the finest local botanicals such as gyokuro tea, sanshō pepper, green bitter orange peel, coriander, licorice, flowers, angelica root, yuzu and Hokkaido-grown juniper. The botanicals macerate for more than 24 hours in neutral sugarcane spirit, which is then distilled in a traditional swan neck copper still. The spirit is diluted down from 83% to 43% ABV with water from the Taisetsu Mountains and filtered through charcoal for highest purity, resulting in a delightfully soft and floral gin.
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According to Winston Churchill, "The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen's lives and minds than all the doctors in the Empire," referring to the British officers using it to treat malaria in India.
Initially made for medicinal purposes, gin gets most of its flavor from the juniper berries added after the distillation process. It sure has come a long way from the Middle Ages, with the introduction of new botanicals, fruits, and spices, bringing it closer to people of all flavor varieties.
Check out our impressive selection of gins, find your new favorite in the Top 10 gins, or explore the Best gins under $50.