From the beautiful Eifel region in Germany, an unconventional gin has taken the nation’s gin lovers by storm. With its unique character, Windspiel Gin is adding to the growing mix of craft gins inspired by local ingredients.
It’s no secret that I love a good story behind a new recipe or a bottle to crack open. Albeit what counts most in the end is quality and taste, it does not hurt if there is something inspiring to discover.
It’s no secret either that I love a nice gin and tonic. And thankfully the recent gin boom is driving the number of new craft distillers playing with new, exciting flavour profiles.
Windspiel Gin is my latest discovery and it has both a fun story to tell, whilst offering a new, terroir driven flavour profile that’s really unique.
Background: Windspiel Distillery
Windspiel Distillery is located in the Eifel region, a low mountain range in the western part of Germany bordering Belgium and Luxemburg.
The Eifel is perhaps not one of the internationally well-known tourist areas but here in Germany it’s a favourite spot for those that love the outdoors, exploring medieval castles (Eltz castle is likely the most famous), meandering small, historic cities and villages along with wine tasting and other culinary treats.
In fact, the Eifel is not far from the wine regions of the Rhine Valley, the Mosel and Ahr. The best-known cities in the region are Aachen to the north, Koblenz (established as a Roman military outpost around 8 B.C. at the confluence of the Rhine and Mosel rivers) to the west, and Trier (another initially Roman city with as much as 10 UNESCO World Heritage sites) in the south.
If you want to learn more about Trier, read my post 10 awesome reasons why Germany’s oldest city Trier should be on your bucket list.
The Eifel area shaped by volcanic activity, and in fact is also often called Vulkaneifel (volcanic Eifel). It’s the volcanic soil that makes the area ideal for agriculture, thus you will find a lot of farmland here but also many thick forests.
Windspiel: What’s behind the name
Windspiel Distillery was founded of two locals who both love gin and dogs. One day, they decided to make their own gin and since one of them owned a potato chips factory, the idea was born to make gin from potatoes.
No, I am not kidding you.
The base spirit of this gin is made of locally grown potatoes, cultivated in the regions rich volcanic soil. The potatoes are distilled in a special technique developed by the company’s master distiller. The result is a distilled base spirit that displays a particular mild flavour.
The potato is also in part the culprit for the naming of the gin. Both owners are fans of Frederick the Great and both are, as said before, dog lovers. Incidentally, it was Frederick the Great who made the potato one of the most farmed vegetables in Germany. With his ‘potato order’ he instructed the cultivation of potatoes in Prussia and Pomerania to alleviate the famine.
Fun fact: Did you know today people put potatoes on the grave of Frederick the Great when visiting, to recognize his role establishing the vegetable in Germany?
Frederick the Great was also a great fan of greyhounds in particular. And Windspiel is the German word for greyhound.
Windspiel Gin tasting notes
The first Windspiel gin – Windspiel Premium Dry Gin – was released in 2014. It is a classic London Dry Gin that combines juniper, lemon, ginger, coriander, lavender and cinnamon along with a couple of additional secret botanicals.
Aged in traditional oak barrels, the final gin displays flavours of juniper, coriander and lavender with a hint of wood, caramel and vanilla.
On the nose, full-bodied and rich with lots of juniper, some lavender, and a flowery character.
On the palate, well-balanced smooth, rich texture. Fresh and light despite the high alcohol content. Citrus forward, its followed by a taste of juniper and hints of mint and liquorice.
The classic Windspiel is perfect to be enjoyed on ice with tonic water (ideally one of the Windspiel tonics, but any quality classic dry tonic will do) and an orange zest to add a touch of citrus.
Since the release of their first classic gin, the label has added an interesting range of other gins and spirits. The Windspiel Navy Strength, the Premium Sloe Gin, a Premium Dry Gin Reserve or the special Dry Weihnachts Gin (a Christmas gin). Completing the range, there is also a barrel aged vodka, a sprit based on herbs called Kraut and Knolle (herb and root), a non-alcoholic spirit and the own Windspiel tonic water.
The latest and really exciting addition is the distillery’s Premium Dry Caxambu Kaffee Gin. Thus, a gin that adds coffee to the mix.
Caxambu Kaffee Gin was created in cooperation with coffee maker Dauner.
The combination of the potato-based gin with its high-quality botanicals and the distilled, low-acid Arabica roast coffee from Fazenda Caxambu in Brazil surprises with an exciting and quite inspiring taste experience.
On the nose, spicey, caramel-like, with an intense coffee note
On the palate, notes of caramel and a subtle bitterness of roasted aromas and nuts go hand in hand with a spice overtone.
Gin cocktails with Windspiel Gin
Both the classic Dry Gin and the Caxambu Gin are great to be enjoyed with tonic over ice.
With their already interesting taste profiles, the also work extremely well as a mix in various cocktails.
If you like mixing and want to try something new – or better a new twist on some well-known classics- have a look at the distillery’s website. There you will find a couple of suggestions working really well with the various Windspiel gins.
Below are my picks mixing with the Windspiel Dry Gin and Caxambu Kaffee Gin.
A twist on the classic Moscow Mule, this cocktail uses the classic dry gin instead of vodka.
50 ml Windspiel Premium Dry Gin
20 ml freshly squeezed lime juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add gin, lime juice and Angostura Bitters and stir lightly. Top up with ginger beer.
Garnish with a lime wheel and a spring of mint.
Pear and Elder
30 ml Windspiel Premium Dry Gin
20 ml pear liqueur
20 ml elderflower sirup
25 ml freshly squeezed lime juice
In a shaker filled with ice, add all ingredients. Shake vigorously, then strain into a cocktail glass.
The classic Negroni cocktail is always a winner and as intrinsically Italian as the world-famous Italian espresso. Thus, having a gin with coffee flavour at hand, mixing up a Negroni is almost a must.
30 ml Windspiel Caxambu Gin
30 ml Campari
30 ml Vermouth
5-10 ml Caxambu Coffee espresso
Add gin, Campari and Vermouth to a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until well cold then strain into a tumbler of lowball glass.
Add 5-10 ml espresso (previously prepared and cooled) by carefully pouring the coffee into the glass over a spoon.
Garnish with some coffee beans and an orange zest.