With lemon and rosemary. Or, for those with sweeter tastes, with orange and bay leaves. These are Raquel Santos’ suggestions regarding the best way to serve Amicis, a gin that was born from a man’s passion for the Beiras region and that aims to be the best-selling national gin in Portugal.
It’s been six years since Paulo Pereira brought his gin to television and introduced it to Shark Tank investors. Since then everything has changed. Starting with what stands out, the bottle, all the way to the owners, who now, in addition to Paulo Pereira, the founder, include Grupo Bel (a shareholder in the group that owns Diário de Notícias), owned by the investor Marco Galinha, who left convince by the project in the SIC program, and another partner.
Gone are the days when Paulo Pereira, trainer at the Douro-Lamego Hotel and Tourism School, “walked around with the botanists in a small suitcase and experimented with friends until he reached the ideal recipe”. Now, the group of friends is much larger and Amicis (Latin for “friends”) is already, according to the project manager, the second best-selling Portuguese gin. “We reinforced our ambitions”, admits Raquel Santos. “We want to be the best-selling Portuguese gin in Portugal”, she guarantees.
The bottle is in a copper tone and features the Sicó and Açor mountains, where the 14 botanicals come from (harvested and extracted at certain times of the year in order to obtain their greatest potential) that make up this aromatic gin with a floral touch. , such as Santa Maria herb, carqueja flower, and others, rare in gins, such as honey or nutmeg.
To enhance the aromas of gin, it is recommended to combine two elements: a citrus (lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit) and an herbal (laurel, rosemary, thyme, mint, basil or salicornia).
A recipe, which, in 2017, earned a gold medal in the Spirits Selection of the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, and which gained presence in luxury hotels and in tasting events. “This was very important, because it gave us credibility in the market”, says the official, stressing the extensive list of cocktails as a determining factor in conquering this niche.
This was followed by the so-called numerical distribution, that is, reaching the common consumer, with a presence in restaurants and retail, a market dominated by large “players”. “We don’t compete with low cost brands, only with large international brands”, notes Raquel Santos, adding that the path, even if slow, has been followed very consistently. Hence, the eyes are on the international market and on exports.
The “boom” of gin is gone, but the drink is still a trend. And now consumers are more qualified, believes the project manager. “They don’t drink gin just because it’s in fashion. They are more demanding”, she considers, arguing that this was one of the reasons that led to the sudden appearance and disappearance of several national brands.
The Amicis customer is, the brand believes, a person who “truly likes gin” and who, therefore, remains faithful to this friend.
try it at home
Ingredients: 5 cl of Amicis; 3 cl of grapefruit juice; 2 cl of lemon juice; 3 cl of sugar syrup; 1 cl egg white; Thyme; Ginger Beer Schweppes; Ice.
Preparation mode: In the shaker, add the Amicis, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, sugar syrup and egg white. Then pour into a glass with ice and fill with Ginger Beer Schweppes. Finally, garnish with grapefruit and thyme.