Hej och välkomna till en vecka helt utan whisky här på Whiskytower, det låter galet, vi vet. Ibland händer det att vi på Whiskytower provar andra destillat än just whisky och vad passar bättre än just gin nu när sommaren äntligen är här. När vi planerade för denna temavecka om gin så tipsade Jon på Hernö Gin oss om en man vid namn Michael Sperling som han sa var en auktoritet när det kommer till gin. Vi kontaktade givetvis Michael som var vänlig nog att ställa upp på en intervju. Vill ni veta mer om gin så rekommenderas ett besök på Michaels utmärkta ginblogg och den kommer ni till om ni klickar HÄR. Under denna vecka kommer vi att prova ett antal olika ginsorter och tonicsorter och redan imorgon så kommer det en intervju med Mr GT. Nu över till intervjun med Michael Sperling.
Hi Michael! Please introduce yourself to our readers?
Well, I guess I’m as nerdy as a gin nerd gets. I’m the type of gin nerd that actually enjoys tasting gin neat! Crazy, I know 😉
When and how did you discover your passion for gin?
Been into gin and G&T pretty much since high school, and while studying media studies at University of Copenhagen I started asking myself if there was such a thing as a premium gin like there are in cognac, whisky, rum etc. This was in 2008/2009 when the current boom in gin was just about to kick off. So I’ve been onboard for awhile now.
Craft gin is booming right now. What are your thoughts on that?
Distilling is a craftsmanship, but the whole term ‘craft gin’ has been discussed for years. For me the terms “craft gins” and “craft distilleries” are as much about craftsmanship as it is about a personal touch from the distiller. Much like the term ‘Auteurism’ in film art, I see the distiller as the “author” of the gin. So when it comes to craft gins I don’t only think of good craftsmanship, but also for a personal touch from the distiller, a regional or national style with fx local ingredients, and a gin where the distiller is working in-depth with every detail of the distilling process.
How would you rank the gin coming from Sweden? Any favourites?
Whenever I’m asked about my favourites gin, I always answer “I’ve got a new favourite every day”. When it comes to Swedish gins there still isn’t quite enough gins out there to use my normal phrase. I reckon there’s about 40 different Swedish gins out there and I’ve tried only about 15-20 of them. So far I’m very impressed by the details of the Spirit of Hven Organic Gin with the thorough process of barrel ageing the spirit before rectification. And the versatile recipe of Hernö Gin that changes beautifully from a fresh and floral gin in the 40,5 ABV Hernö Swedish Excellence Gin to a way more spicy gin in the 57 ABV Hernö Navy Strength Gin.
What are your thoughts on barrel-aged gins?
Barrel ageing adds a nice complexity to the otherwise (often) simple spirit that gin can be. Barrels lifts gin from a cocktail ingredient to a spirit that can and should be enjoyed neat.
If someone told you that they never had tasted a gin & tonic. What would you serve him/her and how?
To a newbie I would serve them three very different G&Ts that shows them the range of drink anno 2017: firstly a classic G&T with the Scottish NB Gin matched with Fever-Tree Tonic and a lemon peel; secondly a G&T with Hernö Swedish Excellence Gin, Gents Tonic Water, garnished with lemon peel and some bourbon vanilla; and thirdly a G&T with Gin Mare, Indi Tonic, garnish with a lightly roasted rosemary sprig and a huge capers berry.
Give us some other examples on how to serve gin other than a classic gin & tonic?
I will always encourage people to try gin neat. Always. There’re so many flavours to discover in gin. It really is a very aromatic spirit.
Give us five really great gins?
I spend a lot of time traveling to different countries to try out local gins and meet distillers. And there’re a lot of amazing gins out there! Picking only five is really difficult. In doing so I always look for craftsmanship, uniqueness, the good story and of course taste. These are some of the five gins that has impressed me the most over the years: ⦁ Melbourne Gin Company ⦁ Kyoto Dry Gin ⦁ Barr Hill Tom Cat Gin ⦁ Hernö Gin ⦁ Ferdinand’s Saar Dry Gin
What tonics do you recommend for a great gin & tonic?
The most important thing to remember when making a great G&T is the combination of gin and tonic water – and lots of ice, of course! So it’s about the match not necessarily the tonic water it self.
Where do you see the current gin-boom five years from now?
The gin boom is very much overheated at the moment. There’s been a lot of uninteresting gin releases the past year, and that will most certainly continue for the next few years. We will see quite a few new introduction to the gin category, but also quite a few farewells. Many gins won’t make past 2018 because they won’t be able to earn enough money compared to the investment they made launching their product. It’ll be brutal in many ways. Hopefully the gin category will find a balance much like rum these days within the next five years with a large following and a healthy economy.
If someone told you they don’t like gin. What would you serve him/her to convince them that gin is a great drink?
I meet people all the time that claims not to like G&Ts and gin. Very often I discover that it’s the tonic water they dislike. So serving a G&T using modern tonic water, modern gin and correct garnish often cures people of their gin phobia.
Anything you would like to add?
To round up things I’ll encourage everyone to go gin exploring in the local wine stores whenever on vacation or otherwise abroad. There are so many amazing and interesting products to experience out there, so go find them!
Vi tackar Michael för intervjun!