Two Utrecht residents have won the gold medal for the best modern gin at the international World Gin Awards. More than 900 different gins from 47 countries participated in the competition. The first edition of the award-winning drink has now been produced and is available at various catering establishments and liquor stores.
The duo Lennart Hanemaaijer and Jan Willem Paasse are the proud winners of the prestigious international prize. Striking, because the two have only been working on their business for less than a year. They have been brewing at hobby level for a long time. It was only when that hobby became more serious that the decision was made to focus on gin professionally: “It is a fun drink to make because you can go in any direction with it.”
The gin with which the pair won prizes tastes of grapefruit, lemon and various herbs. Gourmets can even taste more than ten different ‘botanicals’, or herbal extracts. The brew by Hanemaaijer and Paasse falls into the category of modern gin, better known as contemporary gin, which focuses on flavors other than the classic juniper. The duo landed on the flavor combination because they wanted to make a ‘surprising and accessible’ gin.
That seems to have worked; out of 900 different gins from 47 different countries, they have become number one. The stokers’ success comes early in the two’s careers. They have only been distilling gin for less than a year, and that too was at hobby level for a long time: “The distilling itself started a few years ago in the kitchen with a converted asparagus pan.”
Utrecht catering industry
A while after that, the duo decided to purchase a better, copper kettle to take their drinks to the next level. “All kinds of things went through the kettle, from rum to whiskey and from eau de vie to gin.” Ultimately, the duo stuck with gin. Since the breakthrough of Hanemaaijer and Paasse, the first edition of 550 bottles of gin has become a reality. Since the pair’s victory, the drink can be tasted or purchased in various Utrecht catering establishments and liquor stores. The winners themselves recommend tasting the gin with a ‘Mediterranean Tonic, a slice of grapefruit and a small piece of lemon peel.’