From the idea of combining the well-being of yoga with that of an excellent gin and tonic, OM Yogin was born, the spirit to be drunk strictly with tonic, ice and soul. Monica Magnini and Andrea Alciati invented it between Langhe and Monferrato. In this interview with Monica, we retrace the stages that led to its birth.
Monica, you and Andrea have been successful restaurateurs for many years now. How did you come up with the idea of creating your own gin?
We had been thinking about it for some time now, but we always put it off because there were other priorities. In November, however, when we realized that we would once again be facing a new period of "mandatory break", with the restaurant (Guido da Costigliole, 1 Michelin Star, ed.) closed and a lot of time available, we said to ourselves "why not? ”.
Your passion for gin comes from afar.
Yes, I have always been passionate about gin, it is my favorite spirit and one of the best that can be used for mixing. When I told Andrea that I thought the time had come, it didn't take us long to contact the Beccaris Distillery in Costigliole and begin this exciting adventure.
What are the steps you followed?
We started from the idea: we wanted to create a very fresh and pleasant to drink gin, but we also wanted to give it an extra connotation. I define it as "spiritual", because I have always thought that spirits, like wines, when they are really good and consumed in the right places and ways with the right people are certainly good for the spirit. And it is a well-being that, especially in moments like this, we really need.
And so you left for the Distillery.
Exact. There we chose the botanicals, which in our case are juniper, mandarin, pink pepper, elderflower, acacia flower, lemongrass and bitter orange. And then, of course, came the name. We thought about it for a long time, and to connect to the spirituality we were talking about before we called it OM, like the yoga mantra that serves to rebalance the organism and put it at peace with itself and with what surrounds it.
In fact this isn't just a Gin, it's a Yogin.
Exactly (laughs ed.). Yogi, in Sanskrit, indicates someone who practices yoga with an ascetic technique, like a Master, for example. I myself have been practicing yoga for many years, and the idea of combining this passion with that for gin was born precisely by virtue of the well-being that both give me. A yoga session is good for my spirit as is a gin and tonic, or, as I like it, a gin with sparkling water.
How does this gin taste?
It is a very fresh gin that initially appears strong and dry, but closes with a slightly sweet note given by the orange peels. Andrea and I designed it for mixing, imagining its ability to enhance the flavors of a Martini, for example, or a Negroni, to name two timeless classics. But we think it is an excellent blank canvas also for cocktails that arise from the imagination of the bartenders, who are the true painters of this art.
Is the spirituality we talked about also a product of the period we are living in?
Absolutely yes. It is a difficult period for everyone and this is why there is a need to cultivate one's internal and external well-being. In this research, Yogin helps us right from the label, where a stylized woman in a classic yoga position inspires peace and perhaps even gives rise to a smile, because it is an unexpected combination. There are many extraordinary gins, yet the gin and tonic is still linked to a wrong idea today, that of a simple cocktail that is drunk simply to get drunk, while when it is well made, in my opinion, it provokes the same emotions as a large glass of wine or whiskey, and it also gives you that alcoholic well-being typical of moments of meditation. With Yogin we want to do just this, in fact I can't wait to be able to sip it on the terrace of the restaurant, with just a lemon peel and the view of the Langhe hills in front.
Since you mentioned the restaurant, let's ask a question not to the creator of Yogin but to the entrepreneur: how did you experience this period?
It was complicated, but I'm optimistic by nature and I imagine a good restart soon. I have many friends who do the same job as me and we are all very tried, but the nice thing is that we have always supported each other, even just with a phone call or a chat during a casual meeting on the street. It made me realize that we are not alone. Of course, I think we've all asked ourselves some questions: with restaurants closed and the impossibility of doing our jobs, many of us have begun to reflect on our lives and also on our profession. I was the first to find myself asking myself "do I still have any use?", "Do I know how to do anything besides being a restaurateur?". But I took the beauty out of this experience. The break served to make a long-held dream come true, that of creating our own gin.[:]