It’s a classic – and it’s booming again this year. At the Romantik Seehotel Jägerwirt, this trendy spirit are even made on their own – with a very special ingredient

Gin is usually distilled with juniper berries, but you add something else …

Right. We infuse our gin with the sap of Swiss pine cones. Swiss pine is a pine tree species that predominantly grows here in our region between Styria and Carinthia. We harvest the cones by hand at the beginning of June. It is a lot of work as they only grow in the highest tops of the trees. The cones are then peeled, the sap is pressed, and the gin is infused for six weeks. The result is a genuinely regional, handmade product of excellent quality.

Sounds like an interesting combination – and how does it taste?

The pine aroma harmonizes very well with the juniper note of the gin. Both have a slightly bitter taste. That is why we also add a bit of elderberry as balancing sweetness. We mostly sell this special gin as a mixed drink with tonic or, as we call it, as “Zin-Tonic.” The resins and oils in the pine are also antibacterial and lower the heart rate. So, it is like wellness from within.

Where do you think the ongoing gin boom comes from?

Gin is a high-quality spirit that also does very well in combinations. Naturally, as the classic cocktail with 4 cl gin and 8 cl tonic water. Or as a dry martini with vodka and gin.

… like James Bond drinks it?

(laughs) Exactly: shaken, not stirred! But there are many other ways to enjoy gin. In the past, people just added a slice of lemon, and that was it. Today, gin drinks are decorated with cranberries, rose petals, or cucumber and pepper. We also offer a smoked gin, for example. The smoke is blown into the glass and then covered. This is a delight for the nose and creates a very special taste-fragrance experience.

Christoph Brandstätter



Christoph Brandstätter

Host at the Romantik Seehotel Jägerwirt in Turracher Höhe in Austria






Gin is produced as a distillate of juniper berries since about the 17th centuryGin is produced as a distillate of juniper berries since about the 17th century

A basic question: How do you recognize high-quality gin?

That depends on your individual taste. Some gins have a stronger and some a weaker juniper note, but both can be excellent gins. In general, one could say: A good gin won’t give you a headache or hangover the next day. But it should always be consumed ice cold, whether straight or as a cocktail.

What would an excellent gin cost?

Unlike as with rum or whiskey, there are rarely highly expensive gin brands. That’s because it is the long storage that makes premium rum or whiskey expensive. With gin, you don’t have this factor. The quality results from the distillation and the basic ingredients used. Our most expensive gin has a wholesale price of
55 euros per bottle.

Will you tell us what your personal favorite gin is?

You mean besides our own “Zin-Tonic” (laughs)? A Monkey 47 from the Black Forest; that’s really a super product.






Gin has been around since the 17th century. It was first produced by the Dutch physician Franciscus Sylvius who called it genever.

London Gin

May not contain anything but water and plant-based ingredients. As London Dry Gin, may not contain any sweetening agents.

Dry Gin

As with London Dry Gin, may not contain sugar. Nature-identical flavorings and colorants may be used.

French Gin

A light gold-colored gin with a citrus note and the addition of saffron.

Sloe Gin

Despite the name, this is not a gin but a gin-based liqueur flavored with sloe drupes.

Old Tom Gin

Has a slightly sweet aroma through the addition of sugar – basically the counterpart to Dry Gin and London Dry Gin.


3 questions for gin experts

gin and tonic cocktail recipe

How did Gin get to Tonic?

He is a classic – and as Gin Tonic one of the most popular long drinks. He owes his popularity to medicine. During the period of British colonialism in India, there was a liquid medicine that was trusted to protect against treacherous malaria: the quinine-containing tonic water. Quinine is extracted from the bark of the native in South America Chinarindenbaumes and was already among the South American original inhabitants as a versatile remedy, with which you could fight, for example, chills and malaria fever. Quinine, however, tastes extremely bitter. In order to make the Tonic Water edible, the Gin, which was especially popular among the military, was poured into the gin – the birth of the Gin Tonic.


juniper berries

What makes Gin so aromatic?

Gin is a juniper schnapps with an alcohol content of at least 37.5 percent. What makes the varieties so different tastes and aromatic are the so-called botanicals. This is what they call the herbs, spices and other herbal ingredients that give each gin its individual taste. In addition to the juniper can be used as botanicals, for example, citrus peel, ginger, cardamom, coriander, hibiscus, lavender or Mediterranean herbs. Typically, most gins are grafted with six to ten botanicals. However, the trend is to use more and more flavorings. So it comes that in addition to the varieties on classic juniper base always new variants are offered with exciting flavors.

gin distillery

How is Gin made?

Basically, a quality gin is distilled twice. Only if this is the case, he may adorn himself with the name “Distilled Gin”. The first firing gives the base distillate, which is flavored only in a second distillation. The so-called neutral alcohol is usually made from grain. This tasteless alcohol is now distilled a second time. The high-percentage alcohol is diluted with water and heated in a so-called fuel bladder. This produces alcoholic gases and water vapor which rise and pass through the tubes of the still. In this system hang small sieves, in which the respective Botanicals are. The steam takes on the aromas of spices and herbs. Subsequently, the volatile gases and vapors are cooled down again in a condenser. They liquefy into the finished distillate. After production, the gin has to rest for a few days. Then it is diluted with water, reduced to drinking strength and bottled – the basis for an aromatic gin and tonic.