Gin is in — in fact it's so popular that during lockdown it was the most searched for item on Advintage Wines website.
Yes you read that right — the most searched item on a website for a wine store that has been selling only wine for 21 years.
So what did owner Mac MacPherson and his son Will decide to do about it — get some gin in of course.
They haven't done it by halves either, now stocking 50 different gins. I was lucky enough to have a gin tasting run by Will. I was so impressed with his knowledge - he certainly knows his gins.
Some of the gins were familiar to me, others I've never seen before.
Mac joined me as Will talked us through six gins — we did it the same as wine tasting — smell, taste and spit.
However, before we started the gin we had a tonic tasting.
"Why would you buy a bottle of gin that might cost $100 and top your glass up with cheap tonic," Will said.
"It just doesn't make sense to have more than three-quarters of your glass filled with something that is not going to enhance the taste of your gin."
I have to say I am guilty of this gin sin.
First, we tasted East Imperial tonic. It was delicious with a refreshing citrusy flavour — quite tangy.
We also tried Old World East Imperial tonic which was nice if you prefer no citrus. Again it was refreshing and bubbled on my nose when I sipped it. They really are rather nice and it's easy to appreciate just why they cost a bit more .
Now it was gin time.
We started with Hayman's London Classic Dry Gin. The aroma was quite intense and I was expecting the taste to be the same. However, it was dry and citrusy. Very nice.
Next was the Hawke's Bay's National Distillery Company's Verdigris. What a very cool bottle. This is delicious. Sweeter than the previous one and as Mac said "soft on the nose".
Dancing Sands Strawberry and Rhubarb was the third. I also loved this bottle. Will told us this gin was made in Nelson using water from the world's clearest spring. You could taste strawberry but the tart of rhubarb made sure it wasn't overly sweet. Yum, I had a new favourite.
Four Pillars was next. It was nice and had a slight oily feel on the tongue. The gin was quite savoury. I liked it.
Monkey 47 followed. This German gin was quite unusual. Will said that the 47 in its name was because it contained 47 different ingredients. It smells interesting — so many different flavours. I found it hard to pinpoint a specific flavour but it was very pleasant.
Last but not least was Scapegrace Black Gin. I'm a big fan of Scapegrace gin but I had never tried the black gin.
Wow. It looks amazing in the glass - dark and mysterious and then — magic — when you add the tonic it turns a rose colour. Oh, and did I say how absolutely delicious it is. It was the winner on the day.
Will said over the past two years the sale of gin had skyrocketed. "We tend to follow overseas trends and while I think gin will be popular for a while to come, rum could well be next."
Mac said people had embraced the call to shop locally and numbers through their doors since lockdown had increased.
"It's fantastic because people realise we are not a high-end wine seller. We have prices to suit everyone. It also made me recognise the need to meet the overwhelming demand for spirits and that's where Will stepped in.
"I'll stick to my wine. I've been selling it forever — Will has the knowledge and the skill to tell the story of gin".
■ They now also stock a large range of other spirits.
For more info go to Advintagewww.advintage.co.nz