LM: Does this craziness of contrasting elements help explain your brand name?
BN: Well, the name came about when I told my mum that my wife and I were going to spend our life savings on creating this.
It was not a great amount of life savings but she called me a number of names and one of them was ‘Paagal’. It’s probably the only word I can repeat from that conversation! It just means crazy in Punjabi.
I said to my wife; ‘Crazy? That sounds pretty good’ and that’s how the name was born.
My mum wasn’t alone though, the name’s crazy because everyone thought we were crazy too!
LM: The gin is crystal clear despite being based on a lassi, why is this?
BN: We didn’t want a yellow alcoholic milkshake, it doesn’t sound appealing and it would be too heavy. We also didn’t want a product where you have a couple of shots or a couple of drinks and you’re full.
If you’re having a yoghurt drink, it’s like having a milkshake. It fills you up and it wouldn’t work. So we said it has to be crystal clear.
The desire to keep the gin clear is how we came up with the whole process of how to make Crazy Gin, including our use of vacuum distillation.
There was a lot of taste testing in a very short period of time!
LM: And what does the vacuum distillation add to the drink?
BN: Again it comes back to the delicacy of the flavours we use. You can’t put yoghurt through a lot of heat and then there’s the question of how do you separate it?
Something that’s increasingly popular is the use of rotary evaporators and they look like something out of Breaking Bad! These evaporators allow you to boil at lower temperatures and that reduces the risk of losing flavour.
I spoke to a lot of chefs in the process and they mentioned that when you heat certain ingredients you lose the edge of flavour. So vacuum distilling doesn’t necessarily add to the process it just conserves the flavours so as not to detract from the final product.
LM: How have people taken to such a unique concept?
BN: I set myself a game, so when somebody comes along prior to a tasting with a negative attitude I just make my aim to make sure they go away smiling after drinking it.
One time, when we were providing a tasting in Harvey Nichols, a guy told me he was going to hate it based on the concept alone – he hadn’t even tried it, smelt it or even touched a bottle. After he had enjoyed a glass he bought three bottles!
Although it’s unique and a very alien concept to most people, it’s still a very drinkable product designed to complement all food or stand alone as a drink, so it will suit a wide range of tastes.
What’s interesting is how people have taken Crazy Gin and created unconventional partnerships with it. During a tasting with the General Manager of the Taj Hotel they paired it with dehydrated mango, ginger beer and chilli, I was a bit taken aback at first but it was an awesome drink!
I even tell customers to Instagram us with whatever weird and wacky things they’ve eaten alongside a Crazy Gin. We’ve had so many cool combinations come out of that, even one lady who paired it with feta cheese and loved it.
This journey is for everyone, it’s supposed to be fun and it’s great to see how people have taken Crazy Gin and made it their own.
LM: Where can people get their hands on a bottle of Crazy Gin?
BN: At the moment it can be purchased from all Harvey Nichols stores across the UK. You will also find Crazy Gin in Michelin Star restaurants such as the exceptional Vineet Bhatia in Chelsea, as well as Charlotte’s Bistro’s London locations. The Pump house and Pi Shop in Bristol also stock Crazy Gin – all incredibly cool venues!
Crazy Gin – Where & How
Where: Crazy Gin is available to purchase in Harvey Nichols’ stores across the UK.
Find Crazy Gin on Instagram: here