Dalmatian gin rises in popularity.
As Index writes on the 11th of August, 2018, the Zadar-made gin under the name of ”Dubrovnik Republic” has recently entered a prestigious shortlist consisting of the best traditional gins in the world according to a selection made by the independent organisation ”The Gin Guide”.
This is an enormous success for the Dubrovnik Republic Gin, which has for the very first time appeared on an international gin competition, writes Zadarski.
The first series of Dalmatian gin was made by Mario Matošević and Marcus Weischoff, two friends from Austria, in a small distillery on the Zadar bypass, the first limited series of 500 bottles of the gin was placed in a specially designed half-litre bottle.
Each half-litre bottle of Dubrovnik Republic will retail at 300 kuna, and Mario and Marcus call it Dalmatian because there are only five ingredients, all of which are exclusively from Dalmatia itself. The locations the ingredients are from are Zadar’s hinterland, the island of Pag, the island of Iž, the Elaphite islands, and Ston.
There gin itself is extremely strong, with 47 percent alcohol, but this strength is the characteristic of all types of gin, which is why it is often mixed with various cocktails. The label on the bottle showcases a copy of one of the earliest drawings originally done by the Dubrovnik merchant, economist and diplomat, Benedikt Kotruljević. The corks themselves are also hand-made, bearing a hallmark, and there is also the mandatory mark of the Ministry of Finance for the marking of alcohol and alcoholic beverages.
Just where did the idea of producing gin come from?
“Marcus and I have known each other for about ten years, I’ve been living in Austria since 1992. I was born in Banja Luka and I have a house in Zadar. I ran a car paint shop in Austria and when I met Marcus he worked as a wine marketing director, also in Austria. And as we’d travel to work in Vienna, every day we’d talk about wines. About ten years ago, I bought all the equipment and made wine just as a hobby in Zadar every year,” Mario fondly revealed before he continued the story.
”We were constantly hanging out until we arrived to an idea of ”doing something” two years ago in an Austrian bar during the winter. We talked a lot about Dalmatia and Croatia and realised that Dalmatia has recently had no new brands at all.
From alcohol and other things there are only permanent brands that have existed for a while, but there’s been nothing new. We said “let’s do something”, and we decided to make that ”something” a gin, because at that time an intense gin trend had begun to break into the hospitality sector. Because it’s very suitable for various mixtures, a lot of people have started drinking it and we realised that we have a chance with gin, but only if we created something special,” added Matošević.
“When we got the green light for the name of Dubrovnik Republic, we then started on researching the recipe. We went to the State Intellectual Property Office and when we got the go-ahead for the name, we could go further in regard to everything else. But for all of that, it took us two years. The Dubrovnik Republic is one of the best and most well known [things] in Croatia and the whole world knows of its concept. It was also one of the most successful and longest lasting republics in the world, and I hope that our gin will remain as long-lived!” concluded Matošević.
“Our gin can be categorised as London dry style, characterised by a rich blueberry intensity, we wanted that because I love to drink gin and tonic, but I don’t like it when all I can taste is tonic water and not the gin. I always put four centilitres of gin, then a small bottle of tonic with a bit of ice, and it’s great,” stated Marcus Weischoff.
The overall reaction to the gin have been very good so far. Many people want to purchase it for their bar, especially in the summer, as it’s fresh with a strong orange taste.
”The best reactions are from Dubrovnik. We’ve got the greatest interest there. A lot of bars have ordered their Dubrovnik Republic, which isn’t something unusual, given the name, we knew that there’d be the greatest interest there,” concluded Weischoff.