ONLY THE STRONG SURVIVE
When colleagues Rute Silva and Tiago Sanches went out after work, they’d often visit local bars in Portugal to see what was exciting in the gin world. As Tiago became increasingly fascinated by the drink, he decided he wanted to make one himself. He started a company, appointed himself master distiller, enlisted Rute as co-founder and the pair set to work. The result is GinT Rubro Over Proof, a strong, premium London dry gin with a unique botanical flavouring.
“When Tiago was young, he would go to visit his grandparents where there were lots of fig trees and came to love the smell of the fig tree,” explains Rute. “He wanted to bring that to the gin. That was not easy as the first thing we needed to discover is where the smell comes from. Was it the fruit, the leaf? We found out it was when you peel the bark at a certain time of year. We collect the fig-tree bark two times a year and treat it. I don’t know any gin in the world that uses this as a botanical.”
The gin also packs a real punch, coming in at 58 per cent proof – well above the 40 per cent standard. To ensure the alcohol does not overpower the flavour of fig, GinT Rubro requires very good quality alcohol.
“It has to be, as it is one of the main parts of the gin we make,” says Rute. The gin’s name comes from the Portuguese word for the colour of cheeks when you blush, and it captures the drink’s feeling of warmth and friendship. It comes in a distinctive bottle with a natural cork – yet another of Portugal’s most iconic products.
The premium spirit is unique to the Portuguese market and has experienced sales of more than 1,000 bottles following a hugely successful launch at the UK’s Junipalooza festival. Rute and Tiago are now establishing their next offering, which Silva says will “relate to Portugal and connect particularly to Porto”. It promises to be just the tonic we all need.