Anjali Batra Talks Gin Trends As The GEC Fest Returns To Mumbai
Image Credit: anjali_batra/Instagram

It was in the early 2010s when I first heard the term Gin-naissance. As a lover of everything punny, it immediately caught my eye but it was a while before I fully understood its implications. See, till then, Gin still conjured up thoughts of Prohibition-era speakeasies or fictional Victorian landladies drowning their woes. In short, Gin seemed like a dated drink, one that seemed at odds with modern mixology. But its meteoric comeback was already in motion.

India is one of the countries that has seen monumental success in the Gin space, and someone who was there to see it through from the start was Anjali Batra. The co-founder of Food Talk India - along with Shuchir Suri - the duo behind the wildly successful Gin Explorers Club has been front and centre on India’s Gin scene before it even really existed. 

Started back in 2017 as a series of curated events and pop-ups, the Gin Explorers Club (or GEC) was designed to give a platform to her personal passion for Gin and to open up the potential of the spirit to the Indian public. Today the GEC has evolved far beyond anything she imagined and as the country’s love for Gin expanded, so did her audience. With gin festivals in Mumbai and Delhi that pull crowds of thousands, the GEC has established itself as a facilitator of the Indian gin revolution.

This weekend marks another milestone as they return to Mumbai for The Mythical Edition of India’s Biggest Gin Festival on the 7th and 8th of January where they’re poised to showcase 12 homegrown and global gins in all their glory. In anticipation of the gala event at BKC’s Jio World Garden, we sat down with the mind behind the magic to explore her journey and the hidden potential that gin still has to offer.

Raising a toast to GEC


How do Indian gin brands compare to global ones right now?

The brands that are coming out of India right now are neck and neck with global brands in terms of quality, flavours, and innovation. All are embracing a very India-proud story. All the leading brands have a very prominent story and they’re putting India on a global map. Along with quality, branding, marketing, and story, they are embracing things and taking the world head-on. I love the fact that we have more homegrown brands to showcase than global brands at our festival now. We’re seeing that curve happen every day. This is a very exciting time for the Indian spirit industry right now.

Where do you predict for the Gin-nassiance in 2023?

I think when we did our first edition in Bombay we continued to grow, evolve and listen to consumer demands. We’re bringing back a tasting experience with a Gin Atelier where people can do a hands-on session with the distillers and really learn about the products to bring in a bit more of a serious gin conversation at the festival. What’s been constantly changing is the scale and the response we get is overwhelming and the demand is just rising.

I foresee a lot of innovation in the space of flavour, both in India and globally. A lot of brands are experimenting with limited editions and collaborations for flavoured gins. I see an influx of so many choices that I hope to see gin does become one of the largest chunks of Indian alcohol consumption. There’s a lot of innovation paired with the fact that people are more curious and excited. I think that quality products with great quality, flavours and stories are what we’re moving towards with the category expanding more and more.

What is your favourite part of hosting gin festivals?

I get excited to see a lot of new faces as well as returning ones. I always love to see people getting converted to gin lovers. Last time we had people of all ages, one person came with their grandfather and we loved watching him sip his way through all cocktails so this time too, I hope people come back with people of all ages and we get to show that gin is a gender and age-agnostic product.

How do you like to drink your gin?

A French 75 for breakfast.

A Basil Smash at lunch.

A Gin & Tonic in the evening.

A Negroni nightcap.

I have a cocktail for every occasion!