Dr. Ferns Gin Parlour
Inside Hong Kong's Largest Gin Collection
Gin is the fastest growing spirit world Lin recent years. Over the past year saw 49 new distilleries launched around the world. Global sales reached a record £1 billion (HK$ 10 billion) in 2016. No wonder why that Dr. Ferns, which focuses in Gin, had achieved very good sales results in the first four months of opening.
Dr. Ferns offers more than 280 gin labels.
Bar manager Gerry Olino joked that he thought it is the largest collection in Asia, but later learned that a bar in Singapore offers more.
But Dr. Ferns still trumps Hong Kong in its gin collection, it showcases the most fashionable gins, that is, in addition to the basic juniper and citrus flavor base, a lot more interesting botanicals have been added during distillation that makes gins very interesting. Dr. Ferns divides their gin collection into four categories, including juniper and citrus, fruity and floral, spicy and savoury, and sweet and confectionary, making it easier for guests to choose from a wide selection.
Of course, Gerry has his own preference, "If you prefer a gin with complexity, I would recommend Monkey 47. It comes from Germany, distilled with a secret recipe made up with 47 kinds of botanicals. The brand launches a more exciting Distiller's cut evey year, with some extra unique materials, and go through some sort of aging, makes it even more exciting and complex. Generous Gin is also very good. It has rich citrus, floral and spices, the idea behind is an imagination of the garden of Eden." Some other unique flavours include Cambridge Truffle Gin, with a taste of white truffle; the Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin, which is distilled with the pomace of Shiraz grapes that comes from Australia's Yarra Valley; and the exclusive Blind Tiger Gin from Belgium, which used a lot of rare botanicals such as malted barley.
While one enjoys the delicate taste of gin when drinking neat, the fresh and easy drinking Gin Tonic make the mix remain the most popular way to serve. Here offers a total of five labels of tonic water, such as Fever Tree Tonic, which taste fresh and aromatic; the butter and woody Fentimens Tonic, and Indi strawberry tonic, taste sweet with natural strawberry flavouring. With the rich choice of tonics, you can match the taste of the corresponding gin. "For example, Bloom gin is rich in floral note, and it is distilled with the specialties of honeysuckle and grapefruit. Fever Tree Tonic matches it well, as it tastes light and fresh. But sometimes I use Indi strawberry tonic to match with it, which can emphasize the floral and fruity side of the gin, and the ladies love it.” Gerry said.
Gin Martini is a cocktail that Gerry usually mix with gin, as it is more strict forward, and let the guest enjoy the gin better. For example Umami Gin displays a heavy savoury and spicy taste, is particularly suitable for mixing Martini, "When the guests want to enjoy something dry and unique taste of gin, I would recommend this. I always think that capers is rich in umami flavour, and this Umami gin is actually distilled with capers. This Martini I also specifically garnished with capers. "In addition, the latest trend in London is mix gin with a lot less tonics, or even drink it neat or on the rock, in order to enjoy the true taste of gin. If the guests want to taste in this way, Gerry would serve the gin, and separately a glass with ice cubes and tonic, then the guests can mix the gin and tonic according to their own taste.
Dr. Ferns提供的氈酒選擇多達280款，bar manager Gerry Olino笑指原以為已經是亞洲最多，但原來新加坡有一家提供更多氈酒的酒吧，但Dr. Ferns已是香港最多了。既然有280款選擇，自然追得上近年氈酒界的潮流，就是除了基礎的杜松子和柑橘味的基底以外，味道和添加進去蒸餾的材料，變得非常多姿多彩。Dr. Ferns首先將酒分成四大類，包括杜松子和柑橘味、花果香味、重香料和鹹味，以及糖果甜香味，讓客人較易從海量的選擇中挑選到較合心意的。
當然Gerry自己也會有心水選擇，「想要比較複雜的我首選Monkey 47，這來自德國的氈酒由47種秘密配方蒸餾出來。這品牌更會每年推出一款更精彩的Distiller’s cut，加添一些獨特的材料，並可能作陳年，令這些版本更精彩和複雜。另外，Generous gin也很好，這款酒包含了很豐富的柑橘、香花和香料的元素，背後理念是一個像伊甸園般美好的世界。」較獨特口味的還有白松露味的Cambridge Truffle Gin，在蒸餾中加入來自澳洲Yarra Valley Shiraz葡萄皮的Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin，還有全港獨家、來自比利時的Blind Tiger Gin，其中用上了很多罕見的草本材料去蒸餾，例如發芽大麥。
雖然淨飲會比較能飲到氈酒的真味，但加湯力水喝下去，清爽又易飲，始終是最受歡迎的享用氈酒方式。這裡提供共五款味道各有特式的湯力水，例如味道純淨而芬芳的Fever Tree Tonic 、味道帶苦並富木質香氣的Fentimens Tonic，和味道甜美並添加了天然士多啤梨味道的Indi strawberry tonic，有豐富的湯力水選擇，就可以配搭味道相應的氈酒。「例如Bloom gin是一種花香豐富的氈酒，蒸餾時特別用上金銀花和柚子。平常我會用Fever Tree Tonic去配搭，Fever Tree 味道較輕盈，與很多氈酒都相配。但有時可以用Indi strawberry tonic去配搭，不單能強調酒裡的花香和果香，也更受女士歡迎。」Gerry說。
Gin Martini也是Gerry較常調配的雞尾酒，因為較直接，可以將氈酒的香氣發揮得更好。例如鹹味和辛辣味較重的Umami Gin，就特別適合用來調Martini，「當有客人想要找較乾口和獨特味道的氈酒時，我會推介這款。我一向覺得水瓜榴有很豐富的鮮味（Umami），想不到這款氈酒裡也用上水瓜柳作蒸餾。這杯Martini我也特地用上水瓜柳作裝飾。」另外，現在倫敦流行大幅調低湯力水的比例，以至淨飲或加冰飲，以飲出氈酒的真正味道，若客人想將氈酒品嚐得更清楚，Gerry會將氈酒、加了冰塊的杯和湯力水分別奉上，那麼客人就可以根據自己的喜好去調出適合自己的Gin Tonic了。