New pink gin stirs breast cancer awareness

Cayman Spirits Company general manager and distiller Moises Sevilla poses with the pink gin he created for breast cancer awareness month. – Photo: Reshma Ragoonath

Cayman Spirits Company is hoping its new gin will become a tonic to boost breast cancer awareness in the local community.

This month the local distillery launched its new pink gin to help raise funds for the Cayman Islands Breast Cancer Foundation.

Cayman Spirits general manager and distiller Moises Sevilla, who created the pink gin, said getting involved in Breast Cancer Awareness Month has always been on his agenda.

“It is extremely important to get involved. I have always wanted to do a pink gin and it was kind of perfect,” he said in a recent interview with the Cayman Compass.

Sevilla said getting involved with breast cancer awareness was important to the team at Cayman Spirits since it was a disease that has hit home for them.

“We have one of our co-workers whose mother is battling with breast cancer as well. It is one of those things everyone gets behind. So, I think it’s real important we promote awareness,” he said.

Sevilla said when he pitched the idea to owners Walker Romanica and Nelson Dilbert, they “jumped all over it”.

“They were super supportive from the first step. So, they gave me the green light to go for it,” he said.

Guy Harvey Bar and Grill displays its Cayman Spirits Company pink gin creation “Pretty in Pink”

Proceeds from the sale of each bottle of the gin will be donated to the foundation. He said so far 100 bottles of the gin were sold. A formal fundraising target has not been set but he said that to date, $2,000 has been raised in the effort.

Colour me pink

Sevilla said the gin gets its flamboyant pink hue from the flower petals used in the steeping process to create the drink.

The hue was something he said he stumbled upon by accident just last year.

“When I was removing the botanical basket, I saw a really beautiful pink colour bleeding from the bag and right away I was like, ‘You know what? We are going to do a pink gin.’ I thought of breast cancer month immediately. It was already too late in the year to do it then. So … I kept it tucked away for this year,” he said.

Sevilla said he wanted to give the drink a feminine touch, so he used an array of flowers including lavender, hibiscus and rose petals, along with fresh strawberries. The combination of the floral bouquet accentuates the juniper berries used to make the gin.

“I put my roots and my juniper berries inside the pots to steep and then for the softer things like the rose petals and the lavender and hibiscus and strawberries I will use the basket. So, as it is being distilled the ethanol or the spirit will pass through those botanicals, so you get this nice pop of flavour,” he explained.

Local companies join in the effort

The reception of the drink, he said, has been beyond his expectations.

“Every time you create something you are nervous. When you create something new [you worry] if it will be received as well as you think or if people are going to like it. So far, everyone is really excited about it and they are already asking about the next phase and what is coming next. As far as mixologists and bartenders here, they are having fun playing with it,” he said.

Sevilla said businesses including Guy Harvey, Premier Taproom, Sandbar, Agua, the Westin, the Marriott and restaurants under the Market Street group, have teamed up with Cayman Spirits in their effort.

He said they have committed to donate as well.

“They are making specialty cocktails for the month of October and a portion of every cocktail they sell is going to the foundation. It is kind of a group effort between us and the local bars and restaurants and the [hotels] as well,” Sevilla said.

Juniper berries, the key ingredient for making gin, are imported into the island.

About the Juniper berry

According to TheGinisin.com juniper is the only botanical which is in all gins. The cones of the juniper bush (often referred to as “juniper berries”) are required by legal statute to be present and perceptible, in order for a spirit to be called gin. Juniper is in 100% of spirits that are designated as gins. The site states that the juniper berry is known for imparting the traditional pine note of gin, although it can also come across as resiny, waxy, herbaceous, or even green and fresh. The juniper in gin is generally Juniperus communis; however, occasionally distillers use local species which can have a very different flavour in gin. The berries are imported into Cayman.

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