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Vilnius Gin

What is it?

Vilnius Gin (Vilniaus Džinas in Lithuanian), besides being a brand of Gin in it’s own right, is a type or category of Gin too. The Vilnius Gin category refers to Gin that may only made in the capital city of Vilnius, found in the South East of Lithuania, in Europe (although previously part of (the USSR) Russia). Because only one Gin is made in the City this means the brand and the category have the same name (e.g. Vilnius), just like Plymouth Gin, with the category protected under European Union geographical designation regulations.

Making Vilnius Gin

The Vilnius Degtiné Distillery started in 1907 and is one of the largest spirit producers in the country with a range of spirits sold not just in Lithuania but also in Denmark, Estonia, France, Latvia, Poland, Spain and the UK. It is the only producer of Vilnius Gin and they have been making this spirit for a little over 3 decades. It is made in exactly the same way as a London Dry Gin and thus can be included in this category of Gin too. Besides juniper berries it includes coriander seeds, dill seeds and orange peel and is bottled at a higher than average 45% ABV.

Tasting Vilnius Gin

The sole produced Vilnius Gin is a classic offering with the aroma and taste of pine and citrus, plus some herbal notes too. It is also quite smooth highlighting the level of quality and care taken in its production, despite its relative simplicity.

Drinking Vilnius Gin

As expected from a London Dry style this is a good all rounder and can be used in a large variety of Gin based cocktails to good effect. The distillery gives two suggested recipes to try:

  • Stranger – Half Gin and half Cherry juice, stirred and served with a lime garnish.
  • Ginapple – Half Gin and half Apple juice, stirred and served with an apple slice garnish.

Closing Thought

It is unclear to us why this particular Gin has been granted GI under European legislation as there seems to be no distinction between this Gin and a London Dry, except it is the only Gin made in Vilnius. The brand is also trademarked, just like Plymouth Gin, and thus would be just as capable of standing on this merit rather than the GI status. This is particularly curious when you consider that when it gained GI status in 2008, sales of Vilnius Gin decreased slightly in the following year, and strangely enough it is one of the distilleries poorest sellers! We shall have to see what happens next!

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