The latest addition to Hong Kong’s growing local brew scene is Two Moons Distillery. A real labor of love by two enthusiastic locals, the Chai Wan distillery has now released its Signature Dry Gin.
We sat down with co-founder Dimple Yuen to talk blue ruin.
Hong Kong-born gin-thusiast Dimple Yuen discovered her true calling – to be a distiller – while she was in cocktail catering in 2017. Since then, she has apprenticed to master the art of distilling and joined forces with Ivan Chang to create Two Moons Distillery. She now has a Distilling diploma and continues to explore craft gins by visiting microdistilleries on her travels.
The history of gin is a very colorful one. It was first made by the Dutch, who named the spirit “genever.” Funnily enough, it became hugely popular among English soldiers when they realized that Dutch soldiers were so brave in battle because they’d been drinking copious amounts of gin. Hence, the term “Dutch Courage.”
The English eventually put their own spin on the spirit to create the gin we know now. Traditionally, the market has been dominated by a few big players. But, a game-changing moment in 2009 saw the first copper-pot microdistillery get its license in London – the first in over 189 years. This paved the way for small, craft distillers to set up their own independent distilleries, leading to a surge of craft gins on the market. This “Ginnaissance” began gaining momentum in Hong Kong a few years ago when several gin-focused bars opened up across the city. Now, Hong Kong is finally starting to get its own locally crafted gins!
I think the momentum of the gin boom is still going strong, especially in Hong Kong. Gin-focused bars are quite popular now and we are seeing more and more gin festivals being held here. People are picking up on the trend. The beauty of gin is diversity. With the rise of craft gin, every single gin is distinctly different and there are now thousands of different interpretations and flavor profiles. You’re sure to find a gin you will enjoy. And, if you haven’t yet, you just need to keep exploring!
Ivan, my co-founder, and I embarked on this journey two years ago because of our pure love of gin. We actually used to infuse our own gin flavors at home. When we saw that there were no craft gins being made in Hong Kong at the time, we had the spontaneous idea to establish a microdistillery in the city. It took a lot of patience, persistence, and lots of fun, drunken experiments to create a quality gin that we are incredibly proud of. Though, there were definitely a lot of challenges that came with it. Licensing was particularly difficult. This was a relatively new concept to the government, and finding a suitable space was a challenge as well, as space is a luxury in Hong Kong. We still find it unbelievable that we were able to establish a distillery in the middle of this concrete jungle and we are so excited to introduce the space to everyone!
Gin in its most basic sense is a very expressive drink. Though people will always have different taste preferences, it’s the emotions that are triggered that really make a gin unique. When trying new gins, I always try to understand the background of each distillery and the values they try to embody in their gin to truly get a feel of what they’re going for. Of course, distillation is also a craft – so precision, consistency and quality are also important factors and a pre-requisite for premium gins. They have to be smooth in the mouth and not feel “harsh in the palate.”
Personally, I drink gin neat so I can taste all the flavors and feel the personality of the distiller. But only do this with craft gins. I also believe there is no best way to drink gin. It’s very personal and depends on the bottle, but I would advise you to follow the “perfect serve” as recommended by each distillery. When I am struck by the occasional need for a gin cocktail, I love a classic Negroni or look for drinks where the bartender adds their own creative twists.
We hope to keep innovating and experimenting, so expect to see some new flavors and creative ideas from Two Moons Distillery. We would also love to build a community for gin-thusiasts to keep sharing our passion and love for gin across the city.