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Domaine de Tourelles kickstarts Lebanon's gin sector

Published:  18 November, 2021

Lebanon’s oldest commercial winery is branching out from wine and launching its first gin product - believed to be the first Lebanese gin available in the UK.

Distilled at the Domaine de Tourelles winery in the heart of the Bekaa Valley, GinBey is the result of several years of research by co-owner and winemaker Faouzi Issa.

The gin is made using 14 botanicals, from the traditional base of juniper and coriander seeds, to other locally sourced ingredients such as mandarin peel, rose petals, pomegranate seeds and spices.

The base spirit is premium wheat alcohol from France, diluted with spring water from the neighbouring Lebanese mountains.

Some of the botanicals are steeped for 24 hours before being ‘cooked’ in a 400-litre copper still, which is heated by a steam jacket to keep the temperature steady. The more volatile botanicals such as tilia and rose petals, and pomegranate seeds are placed in a basket for a more delicate extraction. The final gin is rested in traditional Lebanese clay jars (as used in arak production) for six months, to give finesse and roundness to its taste.

Faouzi Issa commented: “Despite all the challenges we are facing in Lebanon, we wanted to show that we can still compete on the international stage and produce premium products. It has long been a dream of mine to produce gin and I have been researching and experimenting over the last three years.”

He added: “Now more than ever we need people to support Lebanese products abroad. Our export markets are currently our oxygen - it is the only way businesses can survive financially in the current economic crisis we are facing in Lebanon.”

GinBey is distributed in the UK by Boutinot, which also imports Domaine des Tourelles’ wines.