Ginebra San Miguel

San Miguel Gin 80 ProofIn < 100 Words

As far as I know, Ginebra San Miguel (Saint Michael’s Gin) might be the only gin in the world to also be the name of a basketball team. Well since the Gordon’s Gin Boars and Gilbey’s Gin Gimlets changed names. Barangay Ginebra San Miguel plays in the Philippine Basketball Association. And the gin they’re named after is the best-selling gin in the world. Unless you’re a gin geek, its understandable that you’ve never heard of it. As a nation the Philippines drinks the most gin per capita, and the great majority of that is Ginebra San Miguel. It is also very uncommon among gins in that it’s base spirit is cane [like rum].

Special Thanks for David T. Smith for sharing his bottle with me when I visited London last month.

Impressions

The nose is recognizable juniper with a harsh edge. Low notes with a little bit of spice, pepper, coriander, acetone and salt. The palate is initially quiet, with sweet straw, a slight pine-forward edge to the juniper, but a little bit flat with an acrid, chemical after taste. The overall quality of the spirit is itself a little rough and thin. Aftertaste is chemical sweet straw, reminiscent of inexpensive vodka. Overall, on its own, its a pretty rough drink. I didn’t mix up any cocktails with it, though I’d wager mixing might be an absolute necessity with Ginebra San Miguel to cover up the chemical notes. It’s a rather rough drink and hard to recommend as a gin based on the glass I sampled.

Though it is rather inexpensive, so it has that going for it.

Perhaps the best thing beating the name Ginebra San Miguel?
Perhaps the best thing beating the name Ginebra San Miguel?

Vitals

Price: $12/ 700 mL
Proof: 80
Origin: 
 Philippines 
Availability:  Philippines
Rating:  A novelty for gin collectors with a curious streak more than anything. It’s a rough gin, and what it does to distinguish itself from other inexpensive gins, it doesn’t do for the better.  [Rating:0.5/5]

Close up of the Ginebra San MIguel Label. A re-imagination of the famous portrait of the archangel trampling Satan
Close up of the Ginebra San MIguel Label. A re-imagination of the famous portrait of the archangel trampling Satan

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Readers' Reviews

by Mike chukerman

This is a straightforward Gin produced by distilling sugarcane rather than grain. I particularly like the sugarcane production it lends a sweetness and a distinct Juniper flavor and aroma! However not suited for the devoted British gin lovers. I find this product of excellent quality and delicious exclamation point

Last updated January 2nd, 2015 by Aaron

8 thoughts on “Ginebra San Miguel

  • January 2, 2015by CK

    Sounds a little rough. I’m lovin’ the last few days of reviews and the new format

  • January 2, 2015by Morris M

    It’s utter rubbish. Only sells here in the Philippines due to its very low price suiting the meager income of so many (150 pesos or near for the average bottle). It also is guaranteed to give a hangover if imbibing a little too much.
    You should have also noted that Gin should be made from Grain Alcohol only & you have made a mistake in not highlighting this.

  • January 5, 2015by AaronPost author

    Gins must derive their primary flavoring characteristic from juniper, primarily among the botanicals. There are many gins out there which feature non-traditional base spirits, including apple, potato, pear, agave, grape, carrot, honey and yes, even cane. This is one of the peculiar aspects of gin- as its defined by its flavoring, its one of the few spirits where the base spirit is open to experimentation as much as the botanicals.

    Though, to your point, this is a more progressive stance. Traditionally speaking, gin is distilled from grain and gin really became gin, once it was distilled via grain instead of wine. This limitation does not (legally) apply in most places; however, I can’t condemn a taste preference that I think you, and many other readers might share.

    Cheers,
    Aaron

  • January 5, 2015by AaronPost author

    Yes, a little!

    Thanks for the compliment and comment. It seems a few others are as well- we may be getting in a few more smaller reviews, in addition to the full-on reviews going forward.

    Thanks!

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  • September 16, 2015by Robert Robert

    i love this jin and find it one of my favorates of all time

  • September 16, 2015by Robert Robert

    is ever gonna be sold out of county

  • January 12, 2017by Bill

    Bought a bottle in Las Vegas, NV. Imported by InternationalDistillers and Vinters, Everett, WA. I little different but makes a very palatable Martini or Gibson.

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