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What’s better than a monsoon book club? A monsoon gin club.

Every alternate month, a jhund of juniper-loving people - The Gin Motley – meet to discuss and drink gin poured from enviable personal pools; bottles amassed during travels around the world. The club, founded by businessman Pankaj Lath; Keshav Prakash, peddler of boutique spirits via The Vault; and Rahul Mehra, owner of Gateway Brewery and soon-to-be gin lord, has met twice so far. Participation is currently by invite only, but they’re working on form and format, and will open seats to you soon (see tracking details below).

“Any brown-gold liquid will sell in India if you label it ‘whisky’, taste not withstanding,” Rahul declares. “The idea is to educate and excite more people about gin-drinking, which really makes so much sense in a tropical country like ours.”

Strangers In The Night, Exchanging Glasses

In this drink-more-gin initiative, formation of the club was the easy part. The complex enterprise started a while ago and is now close to fruition. Rahul, along with his wife Sakshi Saigal and brother-in-law Vidur Gupta are all set to launch a premium small-batch gin, Stranger & Sons, in Goa and Mumbai this July.

Distilled in Goa, this will be “one of the first gins created in the Indian subcontinent since 1947”. Commanded by juniper, Stranger & Sons will feature eight locally sourced botanicals - liquorice, pepper, nutmeg, mace, coriander, angelica, cassia bark, a mix of Indian citrus peels - from spice farms around the state. Rahul would liken it in quality to Bombay Sapphire, in case you were wondering.

“People start drinking better when better alcohol is easily available.” Rahul believes that vacationers also often look for local spirits when they visit a new country, and he hopes to start building that bank for India. “Under The Third Eye Distillery, we want to create a range of spirits to showcase that India can make more than just whisky. Our space too, is built around a visitor centre and a university, which will offer certified courses for distillation training.” We’re told that Third Eye will launch a couple more gin brands in the next year, and then turn their attention to rum.

We will wait with the patience of an Old Monk.

Getting there: Stranger & Sons will launch in Mumbai and Goa this July, Rs 1,855 for a 700 ml bottle. To track the next gin club meet and debut of Stranger & Sons, follow @strangerandsons on Instagram.

Hat tip to Aneesh Bhasin of Svami Tonic Water for leading us to this new gin.

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Food & Drink