Wild distinction and simple elegance. Have you ever had a gin that captures the spirit and beauty of Vietnam? Sông Cái gin takes the deeply delicious botanicals from the northern highlands and applies them to gin like no one else has before. Let us introduce you to Vietnam’s first and award-winning gin which we proudly serve at The Bench.
To understand what makes this gin so special you should know a bit about the owner & master distiller Daniel Nguyễn. Originally born and raised in California, Daniel returned to Vietnam to work with Oxfam America on sustainable Mekong Delta development, focusing on the agricultural supply chain. His work eventually brought him to work for the minority ethnic tribes in the central and northern highlands.
Living in remote villages Daniel participated in everyday life from foraging botanicals to eating local food and drinking local spirits. He was able to gain a deep understanding of the unique flavors of the regions. Along with immersing himself in the local culture, he has formed lifelong friendships with the villagers. His business endeavor is a responsible one built around four pillars of sustainability which are:
- Skills Development – Locals are not only trained in processing techniques but financial literacy and accounting training.
- Environment Ethics – Help farmers effectively utilize pesticide and herbicide-free methods of heirloom crop production.
- Cultural Preservation – Respecting local cultural and spiritual beliefs along with helping document traditions.
- Economic Transparency – It’s important that people are paid an ethical above market rate and the business invests in the long-term health of producers.
This is why the name “Sông Cái” was chosen. It means “mother river” which is a water source that nurtures the whole community. Daniel wanted to build something sustainable that benefits the entire community.
Production of the gin starts in the northern highlands of the country where magical mountains meet the beautiful mother rivers. The local ethnic tribal here live off the land and bring you the flavors of lush and wild botanicals from foraging the forests. The distillery partners with local farming families who have known this way of life for centuries. The knowledge of foraging botanicals when perfectly ripe is passed from one generation to the next.
It’s no surprise that the elegant depth of flavors from 16 botanicals, fruits, and flowers has brought many awards to Sông Cái gin. We don’t like to mess with perfection and only add complementary ingredients in our signature cocktail to add an additional level of freshness and depth.
The phrase “U ƠI” means to call out for your mother in Vietnamese. Experience one of the most beautiful places on mother earth – the land of steep mountains and remote valleys with our “U ƠI” Gin and Tonic cocktail.
Our “U ƠI” is our newest cocktail made with the best gin in Vietnam. The best gin and tonic is made with a perfect ratio of tonic and a quality gin, especially one with a slight citrus flavor and a great blend of botanicals. There’s not much you can do to improve on something already great but we add a few simple ingredients to elevate the cocktail. First we start with a balloon glassware base, next we add in our favorite Vietnamese Gin. A slice of cucumber for freshness, an orange peel for a hint of zesty and bitterness. To round it out we add in a sprig of rosemary to give you the sense of walking through the forest.