How a New Generation in India is Reclaiming Gin

Once a remnant of colonial times and consumed primarily by an older generation, gin is now enjoying a revival as cool, young, and uniquely Indian.

Sharanya Deepak

September 15, 2021

How a New Generation in India is Reclaiming Gin
Bottles of Bombay Sapphire gin (Annie Spratt/Unsplash)

When Mitali Tandon, a self-professed gin enthusiast, started the Secret Gin Society on Instagram in March 2020, she began with a list of gin recipes, curated for her friends. “Everyone was always asking me about gin — where to buy it, how to mix it, what’s in it,” she said. Though some view gin as the drink of an older generation, Tandon found that a younger audience was gravitating toward the liquor. With COVID-19 lockdowns, people were spending more time on social media and were increasingly interested in food and beverage trends — including gin.

India, long a whiskey-drinking nation, has come to embrace gin in recent years. The country is now the fifth-largest consumer of gin in the world, behind the U.K., the U.S., Germany, and Spain. Most gin sales are of large, U.K.-based brands such as Bombay Sapphire or Hendrick’s — known choices for an older generation.

During 2020, however, perhaps due to the ongoing pandemic, India’s overall gin sales decreased by more than 50%. During that same time, premium gin sales rose by 16.9%. In the last couple of years, a new wave of more than 10 artisanal, craft gin brands — often targeting a younger, urban Indian drinker — have surfaced. They have made the liquor uniquely Indian, infusing it with botanicals such as tulsi, fennel, rose, coriander, Himalayan juniper, cassia root, and hemp.