Taste Monsoon In A Glass With Cherrapunji Gin, Meghalaya’s New Mixology Marvel!

by Mallika Khurana
Taste Monsoon In A Glass With Cherrapunji Gin, Meghalaya’s New Mixology Marvel!

In a tale as intriguing and refreshing as the finest gin, we journey into the heart of Meghalaya, India, where innovation meets the essence of nature. This is the story of Mayukh Hazarika, a man who never intended to distil the spirit of the North East yet ended up creating something truly extraordinary. The backdrop for this story is Cherrapunji, a place known for receiving some of the world’s heaviest rainfall, located a mere 55 kilometres southwest of Shillong, Hazarika’s hometown. 

The Eco-Conscious Magic Of Cherrapunji

While most places may shy away from the rain, nearly a million people visit Cherrapunji annually. Hazarika was determined to bottle a piece of its unique charm. Initially, the idea was to literally bottle the rain from Cherrapunji’s skies, located about 55 kilometres southwest of Shillong. But then Hazarika had a moment of genius. He realised that rainwater is essentially distilled water, and all alcohol production relies heavily on water, specifically distilled water. 

According to Money Control, approximately 43% of any alcoholic beverage is alcohol (the “spirit”), and the rest is primarily composed of distilled water. It was then that Hazarika saw the potential of this naturally sourced, free ingredient with a geographical tag that could truly set it apart. What a brilliantly creative idea! This innovation eventually led to the launch of Cherrapunji Gin in Meghalaya, marking a significant step in his ambitious venture.

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Unbottling The Spirit Of India’s Rainiest Wonderland

Cherrapunji Gin holds a unique position in the world of spirits. Its ingredients showcase the rich resources of the northeastern region of India. Moreover, the gin’s key ingredient, harvested and treated rainwater, sheds light on a crucial issue. Cherrapunji and its surroundings have seen a substantial decrease in rainfall, resulting in drought-like conditions during the winter. Once known for its record-breaking 24,555mm of annual rainfall in 1974, the town now receives a mere 8,000 to 9,000mm of precipitation.

As per Money Control reports, Cherrapunji Gin sources its water from two rainwater harvesting facilities. While one is located in the company’s distillery near Umiam, Shillong, the other is in Mawsynram, the world’s wettest place. This not only minimises the strain on groundwater but also promotes sustainable practices. The gin itself is also crafted with precision and care. 

It is distilled using a highly energy-efficient, square-shaped still imported from the Netherlands. In a nod to environmental consciousness, it is bottled in lightweight steel containers. These bottles are not only recyclable but also significantly reduce carbon emissions during transportation, making Cherrapunji Gin an eco-conscious choice.

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A Liquid Tale Of Rainwater Alchemy

Ultimately, the heart of Cherrapunji Gin lies in its craftsmanship. The recipe was meticulously developed in collaboration with a Dutch master distiller, and the botanicals used are sourced from the bountiful Northeast. From juniper in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh to the fragrant Khasi mandarin, Kaji Nemu (Assam lemon), cardamom from the Garo Hills, peppercorns from the Khasi Hills, and the intriguing infusion of second-flush tea from the Lushai Hills in Mizoram, every element contributes to the complex and captivating flavour of Cherrapunji Gin.

Cherrapunji Gin is not just a spirit; it’s a story of passion, preservation, and the spirit of Cherrapunji itself.

Cost: ₹2,500 in Meghalaya

Cover Image Courtesy: Cherrapunji/Instagram and Canva

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