Meet Germany’s new gin heroes
In a distillery in a corner of Germany’s beautiful Black Forest region, a knot of men sporting hipster beards have armed themselves with pipettes. With these, they extract 90 per cent alcohol from their family’s traditional distilleries and add in their own locally sourced ingredients. A daring mix that includes zibarte plums, yarrow, rose, hazelnut and peppermint. A handful of hops too. On a visit to these distilleries on the Porsche Travel Experience Black Forest you’ll find these courageous signature mixes are the reason why modern gin culture is flourishing here in south-west Germany. Inspired by the fruits of the beautiful landscape around them, they are the new local heroes of craft gin, who are exporting their potent, palate-enticing wares to the hippest bars in the world.
The tradition of spirit-making in the Black Forest is a storied one. This land of a million firs and spruces hides several thousand distilleries – small, family-owned distilleries with rich traditions, particularly in the creation of fruit brandies of the highest quality. But a few of them are now applying themselves to gin. One of the most notable is the Black Forest Distillers in Loßburg, a hamlet up on the high plateau of this enticing region. Its gin boasts a truly inimitable aroma, created from no fewer than 47 different ingredients – including local spruce shoots – which give the spirit its name, Monkey 47.
Before it can be bottled and shipped off all over the world to be mixed into martinis and gin & tonics, the spirit is stored for 100 days in enormous earthenware barrels that tower above visitors on a distillery tour. As you will find on the Porsche Travel Experience Black Forest, when the resourceful, resilient people around here do something, they tend to do it right.
With a large helping of Black Forest authenticity
Every gin maker around here adds its own, often highly unusual, ingredients. ‘Wurzeldestillat’ – local ‘fir tip honey’ – can be found in some gins, while some even embellish their gin with real pieces of gold from the jewellery-making town of Pforzheim in the Northern Black Forest. A top-quality gin from Oberkirch is produced using water filtered over granite.
On the Porsche Travel Experience Black Forest, you will encounter a place that’s very proud of the natural gifts that it possesses. It’s easy to understand why gin makers here focus on what is growing on their doorstep. This makes Black Forest gin unique when compared to mass-produced products. The craft spirits are distilled in batches, each capturing the real essence of the Black Forest. Other younger distillers like to bring some added exoticism to the table. The peel of fresh Mediterranean mandarins is the main botanical in this particular distilling boiler. Then they add lemon grass and the fine aroma of cardamon. It’s this originality that has impressed bar tenders and gin lovers all over the world.
If the brand is from here, it must include wild, hand-plucked Alemannic plums
A pit stop on the Porsche Travel Experience Black Forest
Gin is like football – everyone has a favourite that they champion. It goes without saying that sampling these special spirits are an essential element part of our Porsche Travel Experience Black Forest. After an intense and memorable tour around the bends of the legendary Rote Lache route – something every Porsche driver should experience once in their life – we make a pit stop at the Roomers Baden-Baden hotel.
Standing in stark contrast to the classic Black Forest hotels and historical buildings of the surrounding neighbourhood, the design of Roomers Baden-Baden’s contemporary interior is the work of Milan-based architect and designer, Piero Lissoni. Not that the regions traditions are completely thrown to the wind here. Cuckoo clocks and Black Forest dolls on the wall are a matter of pride around these parts, and Lissoni has managed to incorporate them with a modern twist. It’s the perfect place to unwind and toast an exciting day, full of twists and turns, with a glass of the local produce.
This story is part of the 25 Years of Porsche Travel Experience anniversary series. We take you on a virtual world tour around the globe – with a new, fascinating episode each week. Click here to read all stories.