BENGALURU: If one was to find similarities between Kerala culture and the Irish culture for a masterpiece fusion, it would definitely start with the shared love for fine alcohol. Robert Barrett and Bhagyalekshmi launched ‘Maharani Gin’, a name that would rekindle nostalgia for many around the world.The signature botanicals used in the gin are sourced from Wayanad district, making it an organic ode to Kerala. “As a couple who accommodates distinct cultural backgrounds, we wanted our first product to celebrate this diversity,” says Robert. The gin was conceived as a means to bring out the flavours and ingredients from Kerala, which is known as the land of spices.
“We wanted to base it out here, and my wife found Vanamoolika, a women’s organic collective based in the Western Ghats, to execute our plan,” says Barrett. The couple met them and was impressed with the quality of the produce. Kerala’s royal spice mix that includes nutmeg mace, pomelo and cassia go into making the peculiar sour and spicy gin.
“I structured the remaining ingredients—cardamom, lemon, orange, coriander, orris and juniper to support the flavour,” says Barrett, a biochemist. Bhagyalekshmi, an IT professional, hailing from Kollam moved to Ireland in 2013. The couple met there and hit it off, owing to their shared love for craft beers. “We love visiting farmers’ markets, art galleries, museums, craft distilleries and breweries during our travels,” says Bhagyalekshmi.
“We wanted to identify the right location to host the process. We came across the old Ford factory building and instantly fell in love with it,” she says. Branding and bottling also give away their shared Irish-Malayali culture. “We chose to write Viplava spirit (rebel spirit) in Malayalam on the bottle, as a nod to the rebellious history of both Ireland where we are based and Kerala,” says Bhagyalekshmi.