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In photos & Gastronomy: Discover the "Gin Gardens" at the Raffles

While the Elephant Bar at the Raffles Hotel le Royal in Phnom Penh is renowned for its incredible choice of different gins (over 200), it is also one of the only bars in the city to offer 100% local gin and to cultivate in its gardens herbs used to create the most original and fragrant cocktails.

Gin Gardens at Raffles
Gin Gardens at Raffles

To find out more about these 'Gin Gardens', Michelle Htway, the hotel's communication manager, invited journalists, influencers and a number of celebrities yesterday to discover this garden dedicated to the pleasure of gin.

After recounting the history of the bar, an iconic venue whose menu features the famous cocktail concocted by Jackie Kennedy herself, Ms Htway went on to explain how the bartenders at the Elephant Bar delicately prepare their gin-based cocktails, using only three varieties distilled by Seekers especially for the Raffles.

Three exclusive varieties
Three exclusive varieties

Guests were then invited, using tongs and a 'royal glove', to pick their own herbs to make the cocktail of their choice. Several varieties of mint, basil and even chilli joined the generously filled glasses for a unique, refreshing experience.

Michelle Htway (centre) with guests
Michelle Htway (centre) with guests

As well as local gin, the Elephant Bar offers over 200 different types of gin, including the legendary Sipsmith Raffles 1915. The bar also offers two hours of free-flow gin cocktails for 28 dollars.

Among the cocktail herbs on offer
Among the cocktail herbs on offer

A brief history of gin

For those who are curious, gin was originally a medicinal liqueur made by monks and alchemists throughout Europe. Today's gin was developed in Flanders and the Netherlands to provide brandy from grape and grain distillates, becoming a commercial item in the spirits industry. Gin became popular in England after the introduction of genever, a Dutch and Belgian liqueur.

Although this development had already taken place in the early 17th century, gin became more widespread after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 led by William of Orange and the resulting restrictions on the import of French brandy. Gin became England's national alcoholic beverage during the "Gin Folly" of 1695 to 1735.

Discover the 'Gin Gardens' at Raffles

Gin is produced from a wide range of botanical ingredients in a number of distinct styles and brands. After juniper, gin tends to be flavoured with herbs, spices, floral or fruity aromas, or often a combination of both. It is usually mixed with sparkling water in a gin and tonic. Gin is also used as a base spirit to produce flavoured liqueurs, such as sloe gin, traditionally produced by adding fruit, flavourings and sugar.

Discover the "Gin Gardens" at Raffles

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