Memos from Asia

Song Cai Dry Gin – An Entrance to Vietnamese Premium Spirits Market

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What is your favorite gin of all time? Do you have a go-to brand that can cheer you up no matter what happens? To me, Song Cai Gin is the answer to all of my problems. Elegance, authenticity, and wilderness are the best words to describe the pride I have for this Vietnamese liquor.

You’ve heard that the Vietnamese people are the biggest fans of the strongest alcohol you’ve ever seen in the market. But have you wondered which liquor brand that can represent the whole country and even compete with the big guys for the international market? If the answer is NO, read on to find out the best Vietnamese gin in this article!

What Is Dry Gin?

For those who are new to the liquor scene, the term “dry gin” refers to the pure gins that see no interference of artificial flavoring elements. This means that the juice is distilled out of natural botanical ingredients.

Unlike some other liquor brands in Vietnam, Song Cai Gin is all about going green. The team behind Song Cai goes above and beyond to appreciate the quintessence of the Northern Vietnam highlands by using foraged botanicals in the making of their gins.

What to Know about Song Cai? A Respectable Journey

Song Cai is a new brand in the liquor market that has been taking the world by storm recently with numerous awards since 2018. This distillery is a small-batch artisanal gin created by Daniel Nguyen, a Vietnamese American who left behind the life of luxury in the United States to pursue his dream in the motherland.

Daniel Nguyen is a Hanoian master distiller. He spent four years living a life like a real ethnic man in the community of the Red Dzao and H’ mong people. Dedicating a great deal of time for the tribal life allowed him to recognize and collect the finest things in nature for the making of Song Cai Gin.

Now you may be wondering why living in the tribal villages encouraged Daniel to come up with such a big dream? As a real native villager, Daniel picked up a chance to learn how to forage botanicals, collect natural items, and turn them into a full-on local meal. But on top of that, Daniel discovered an interesting technique that changed his life forever: the distillation of local spirits.

A typical spirit in a mountainous area is not just a warm-up drink. In fact, it inherits the unique flavors of the regions. Daniel immersed himself in the ethnic tradition. At the end of the day, what’s left is not only a masterpiece that rocks the spirit world but also a long-lasting friendship between Daniel and the villagers.

Song Cai – The Meaning behind this Iconic Brand Name

“Sông Cái” is “Mother River”. The grandest civilizations ever existing in the world we know today took root by the big rivers. Water is a huge supply for humans of all races, and Vietnam is no exception.

In this S-shaped country, the mother river nourished our wet rice civilization and the entire community. The meaning behind this symbol has printed an impression in the heart of Daniel. Therefore, Song Cai Distillery was born to function as a sustainable approach that benefits the country and the community.

Song Cai Gin used to be a new kid on the block when entering the market in 2018. Today, this brand is not a new kid anymore! It becomes a man who is ready to rock the world’s awards. Song Cai Distillery won a Gold Medal at Gin Masters 2020. It also claimed the Best of Class Platinum category with its Dry Gin, and a double gold for the Floral Gin range (Vietcetera, 08/25/2020).

The Magical Distillation of Song Cai Dry Gin

The main ingredients for the making of Song Cai gin include green turmeric,
jungle pepper, black cardamom, green turmeric, heirloom pomelo, local cinnamon white licorice root, indigenous woods, bark, and leaf. These botanicals are collected during the ripening period of the plants and foraged to deliver the best flavors.

Bizarre and unique as the names suggest, these elements are nourished by mother nature. They grow at the back of the mountains and secluded valleys.

To grow and collect these plants, the team of Song Cai goes above and beyond to partner with the indigenous people who take care of the plants with their knowledge and culture.

“Simple Elegance” and the Flavor of a Country

Take a look at Song Cai Distillery website and you will soon realize one special thing: simple elegance. This feature doesn’t stop at the vivid, rustic and inspiring design, but also the story behind Daniel’s tireless journey to introduce a premium but simple and dignified product.

The team behind Song Cai believes in the best of the wild. Northern Vietnam highland is home to the “deeply delicious” elements which have been off the radar for years. No one has ever brought these ingredients to something extravagant before. And as a consequence, Daniel becomes a pioneer who is willing to take risks and experiment with pride.

The simple elegance thrives from the mountains and valleys, as well as the knowledge and culture of the whole community.

Song Cai Logo – When Vietnamese Folk Art Is a Game Changer

I must say that one of the biggest decisions about whether or not we will bring home a bottle of liquor comes from the design. For Song Cai, as long as you spot it on the shelf, chances are you will pick it up, hold it in your hand, spin it around, and finally, you will admire!

The beauty coming from the bottle is more than just a good UI design. It speaks for the core values of Song Cai Distillery: preserving and elaborating Vietnamese tradition and folk arts.

As you can see from the logo above, the harvesting tools and the botanicals are twisted together as a visual identity. Meanwhile, the indigo background compliments the white label, which represents the indigo-dying technique of the tribal group. Once you pay a closer attention to the drawing, you will see that the colorful pattern behind is inspired by Hang Trong folk painting genre.

Refreshing, unique and filled with honeyed citrus fruit and the breath of the mountains, Song Cai Gin is a groundbreaking innovation that opens a door for you to enter the premium Vietnamese spirit market. What are you waiting for? It’s time to grab one bottle home and take a shot with your friends!

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