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Il Milione’s Giancarlo Mancino Knows his Gins 76 and Counting: Largest Gin Collection in Asia

August 1, 2013 Lifestyle No Comments Email Email

Gin is making a comeback across Hong Kong, and no one knows it better than seasoned barman Giancarlo Mancino. With the largest collection of gin brands in Asia at Umbrian fine dining restaurant Il Milione, Giancarlo says more and more clients are showing interest in the wide varieties on offer.

Il Milione’s Vintage Negroni uses Farmer’s, a craft gin from the US

Il Milione’s Vintage Negroni uses Farmer’s, a craft gin from the US

Novices to the juniper berried spirit will find comfort in classic names like Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, Gilbey’s, Tangeray, and Hendricks, but the adventurous might ask for a something a little more boutique, like Williams, a family owned distillery from the north of England. Once a potato and apple farm making chips and cider, the brand in recent years has moved into using the same ingredients to ferment and distill vodka and gin, respectively, resulting in the “elegant and crispy”Chase Gin made with coriander, angelica, liquorice, orris, orange and lemon peel, hops, elderflower and apples, that makes for a great classic gin martini.

Il Milione offers many European gins, including Gin Mare from Spain, which has been distilled with olives, rosemary, and basil for a distinctly Mediterranean flavour. Giancarlo recommends pairing this, in the magic gin and tonic (G&T) ratio of one to two, with olives, rosemary, and Abbondio, an Italian tonic water that contains hints of basil and sage.

Giancarlo and the bar team at Il Milione offers hundreds of combinations of Gin and Tonics to suit all preferences

Giancarlo and the bar team at Il Milione offers hundreds of combinations of Gin and Tonics to suit all preferences

From the US, the bar stocks Farmers, a gin distilled with lemongrass, lime leaves, and cardamom, giving a pan-Asian flavour. Visitors to Il Milione can find Farmers gin incorporated in Giancarlo’s signature Vintage Negroni, or mixed with Q Tonic and muddled lemongrass for a low calorie G&T option.

The more premium gins are those aged in oak barrels, such as Citadelle Reserve or Black Woods, an award winning vintage gin distilled with coriander, violet, sea pink, wild water mint, bog myrtle, and meadow sweet. Gins like these are best enjoyed on the rocks to fully appreciate their botanical complexities.

“Each gin is distinct in the recipe of botanicals that are distilled,” explains Giancarlo. “Part of my job behind the bar is to determine what drink to make for each guest, but equally, clients are encouraged to choose their own combinations of gins and tonics.”

With 76 brands of gin at Il Milione, the choice can be daunting.

Giancarlo suggests clients experiment to find their perfect G&T. “Some clients like stronger quinine in their tonic, sweetness, bitterness, more citrus… the list goes on! Feel free to tell us your preference, and we will do the rest.”

Il Milione is located at G16-21, G/F, Hutchison House, 10 Harcourt Road, Central, Hong Kong. Bar opening hours: Monday-Saturday 12pm – 12am.

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