Gin is in, more than ever. As Vienna kicked off its first annual Vienna Gin Festival on May 3 & 4, a worldwide trend celebrated its arrival. With 40 local and international purveyors of gin and tonic represented, the lively event offered a fascinating insight into how gin has made a comeback in the last few years.

Like a fine perfume, gin’s basic formula with juniper berry can be infused with a myriad spectrum of botanical combinations, making it one of the most customizable spirits in existence. This means that anyone can find, or create, their perfect, one-of-a-kind formula. At a time where individuality is the sine qua non, gin not only is the spirit of choice – it exemplifies the spirit of choice.

While classic brands such as Tanqueray and Hendrick’s were present, regional distillers like Wieser from the Wachau and Edelbrände Besser of Lower Austria have developed their own varieties to meet the new demand. Vienna itself has also entered the market with several makers, ranging from the pioneering Wien Gin, created three years ago as the first local brand, to the charmingly-named Vienna Cowling, which made its debut at the festival.

Here is our selection of some the best local gin producers:

1. Wien Gin

The first original gin produced in Vienna. With a hint of elderberry flower and orange, it still sets the bar for local distillers.

 

2. Vienna Cowling

Handmade in the 8th district, the “cow” is personified by lavender and other meadow herbs, with a touch of raspberry to top off the sunny vibe. Truly Bovine!

 

3. Vienna Craft Distillery

Established in 2015, the small-scale distillery has a line-up of eight interesting gins, and even lets you devise your very own mix.

 

4. See Destillerie Wolfgangsee Gin

One of nine gins offered by the Salzkammergut distillery, each made with the local water of its namesake. Pure and refreshing.

 

5. Gölles Hands On Gin

Infused with only five carefully selected botanicals, this Styrian gin’s minimalist approach insists on fresh (as opposed to dried) ingredients. Sometimes less is more.