Craft cocktails are as popular as ever these days, and Gin Mare is the latest European spirit to launch in the United States. A super-premium handcrafted Mediterranean gin distilled in Barcelona, Spain, Gin Mare is made in small batches in a copper pot still. Gin Mare officially launched in the U.S. on Jun. 9 with an event at Ramscale Studio’s rooftop, as hosted by television personality Lo Bosworth and the Altamarea Group’s Chef Michael White. Astor Wines & Spirits is a key New York retailer already selling the brand.
Prior to this event, I had the opportunity to do some Q&A with Gin Mare’s CEO, Alfonso Morodo. Prior to working with Gin Mare, Alfonso had set up a Madrid-based distribution company for Corona, which led to him establishing his own import business for Mexican drinks, Global Premium Brands. In 2014, Alfonso took things further, launching a global division for his brands known as Vantguard. In addition to Gin Mare, Vantguard oversees 1724, Capucana, Islena, Ysabel Regina, and 22 Artesian Water.
Your U.S. debut of Gin Mare will be in New York City. How did the decision come to premiere here and only in our city?
Alfonso Morodo: New York is a global city. It’s a place where you can find pretty much any nationality in the world represented. We create brands for the world, brands that everyone can relate to and enjoy in similar ways. Gin Mare has been very successful in over 60 countries, and we thought there would be no better way to launch and celebrate this fact than to enjoy having a piece of the Mediterranean culture come to an exclusive rooftop in New York where everyone can come and share a wonderful experience around our values. Enjoying great food, good music and GREAT cocktails, with the best atmosphere!
What do you remember about the first time that you ever visited New York?
AM: The energy of life! It moves through everywhere and everyone in all sorts of forms, people, and scenes. You feel like you are in the middle of the world where the good and bad can happen at any time. New York is life in its pure essence.
What can you tell me about the unveiling event of Gin Mare in June?
AM: We want to put our small grain into this lively city, inviting people to share the Mediterranean values of taking the time to enjoy people, sharing a good meal and spending a nice time relaxing and enjoying the best of life.
Had you worked with Chef Michael White prior to arranging this event?
AM: No, it´s our first time. However, we had heard of him through his work with Altamarea Group and thought he would perfectly transmit our essence through his food. He’s experienced and understands the best of both worlds.
Are there are any plans for the Gin Mare brand in the U.S. that you can reveal? Any attempts to tying in with a music festival, celebrity, or sports event?
AM: No plans for now, we go with the flow and decide by heart. Remember that in the Mediterranean, time runs at a different pace. We love it and it’s part of our DNA.
What makes Gin Mare’s gin different from other gins? Is it the way it’s made? The way it’s bottled?
AM: We are the first and authentic Mediterranean Gin, born to bottle the essence of this culture. It was created from the start by unique and savory botanicals like arbequine olives, rosemary, thyme and basil.
What is your favorite gin-based cocktail?
AM: We have a recipe for a perfect martini, that you will taste at our event! Take the time to enjoy it and savor each sip.
Is that your drink of choice in general?
AM: I do like to try other drinks, especially those made with care and attention by good bartenders. At home with friends, I’m a big lover of a proper gin and tonic.
Before working with Gin Mare, you worked with Corona, then started up an imports-related business for Mexican drinks. What is it that you enjoy most about your work?
AM: I love drinks in general, I believe every brand deserves to be treated as premium. It’s important to have someone to take care and have the attention to take the brand to the next level.
Aside from this U.S. product launch, what’s ahead for Vantguard?
AM: We today have another six brands to be developed in the USA. One example is a 1724 Tonic Water created using the best quinine from Peru. It’s an excellent product that goes very well with Gin Mare.
Are other members of your family still involved with your company?
AM: Yes, I have the luck to work closely with my brother and my sister who give me the energy and strength to keep moving. One is involved in the back office of the company and the other in the finance department of the company. It’s great to have them close by in this journey.
When you’re not busy with the Gin Mare brand, how do you like to spend your free time?
AM: My family takes the rest of my time! They are the most important thing in my life.
If you have a free moment while in New York, is there a particular restaurant or destination that you hope to go to?
AM: I will try to go to Nobu. It’s a classic that I have not had the opportunity to go yet.
Finally, Alfonso, any last words?
AM: I really hope our brands will have the creative capacity to bring new things to the Big Apple and the rest of the USA. We hope to stay here for a long time and showcase the good things we have to share.