History of Gin in Iceland & Interesting Facts

Iceland is a small country in Europe, which has only legalized beer in the 80s and have been drinking gin for just over three decades now. They used to consume only imported brands because only much later were gins produced in Iceland itself. The sale of the first own gin of the Nordic island country started in 2010, but in the course of the last years the gin trend also became noticeable in Iceland and some new brands with different kinds of gin were added.

The Newcomer Country

So, it is no wonder that the gin scene in Iceland is as small and scattered as Iceland’s population is. But, like most other countries, Iceland noticed the ongoing trend and is starting to take part in the gin game.
Most Icelandic gins are made from ingredients that occur naturally in Iceland and are only produced in small quantities. This has a positive effect on the quality of Icelandic gin, which is very high despite its short history. 

Careful, Hot!

One of the first Icelandic gins is the “Old Islandia Gin”,  produced at the Volcanic Drinks Distillery in Reykjavik since 2010. It is based on an Icelandic recipe that has been perfected over many years: Only traditional Icelandic ingredients like juniper berries, coriander, ginger, and angelica are allowed in the spirit and pure Icelandic spring water is used to adjust the alcohol volume. The gin is distilled seven times, filtered through lava rock, and, good to know for anyone who is allergic, is gluten-free. The gin smells like a variety of earthy herbs and has a strong juniper note, which also comes through in the taste, then later the spicy-hot ginger. 

Icelandic Gin Legends

The “Icelandic Eagle Gin” is inspired by the old Icelandic legends of the “Guardians of Iceland”, nowadays mostly shown as the heraldic animals of Iceland: The giant, the eagle, the dragon, and the bull. These guardians are represented by every bottle and every taste note since 2016. The premium gin from Iceland is made from juniper berries, coriander, ginger, angelica, and a little bit of orange and lemon, distilled and bottled in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital city.

Einiberja gin takes everything back to the basics: As Iceland’s only native evergreen tree, juniper is well adapted to the harsh natural environment, growing low and shrub-like as arctic winds whip across the lava fields. However, even with favorable weather conditions, juniper berries can take up to two years to ripen! This gin celebrates the complicated berry that gives us our favorite spirit. While many contemporary gins are dominated by other flavours, Einiberja lets the pure flavor of juniper flourish as reward for all of its hard work. Einiberja gin is distilled and bottled at site by 64°Reykjavik Distillery. The 64°Reykjavik Distillery is the first Icelandic distillery ever. It is family-run and independent and already won several Red dot awards. 64°Reykjavik Distillery is recognized as the vanguard of high quality crafted spirits in Iceland and uses certified green sustainable energy and locally foraged berries and botanicals for the processing of its unique spirits. Another distillery that started quite early is the Eimverk distillery, located south of Reykjavik. The distillery has been operating in Iceland since 2009. There, premium spirits like gin, but also whiskey, are produced from 100% regional ingredients. It is also the production site for the famous “VOR Icelandic Pot distilled Gin”.

Last, we want to introduce a great Icelandic gin bar to you: Even though Kaldi Bar in Reykjavik focuses on Icelandic microbrewery beers, it also has the largest gin & tonic collection of Iceland. The girls and boys behind the bar love to mix with them and create new interesting drinks.

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Katharina Tompert

Katharina Tompert

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