Meet The King Of Gin & Covent Garden | Gourmand & Gourmet

Cuba Krzyzanowski and the New GINeration

If Covent Garden’s countdown of the hottest 100 gins taught us anything, it’s that we’re in the midst of a booming generation of quality gin distillers - and we’ll raise a mint-and-cucumber-garnished glass to that!

Despite our many years of combined gin drinking experience, we don’t pretend to be experts when it comes to understanding the intricacies of the industry – which is why we sat down with the General Manager of Covent Garden, Cuba Krzyanowski, for his take on the current state and future of the craft gin scene.

As the head honcho behind West End’s tropical home to over 200 gins, Cuba’s the man to see for advice on how to make quality gin a key feature of any drinker’s repertoire. When he recommended that we stock our home bar with the new River Mint gin from Applewood Distillery, we went out and bought one of everything that Applewood has on the market because gin is delicious and self-control is overrated.

After a whirlwind year of experimental gins in 2018, Cuba predicts that distillers will take a back-to-basics approach to their 2019 catalogue of creations: “I reckon this and the following years will re-focus on juniper, and increased quality of produce. Never Never Distilling is a great example of a classic gin taken to the next level,” he says.

When it comes to his favourite Aussie gin, Cuba confesses that it can vary depending on the time of day (and understandable dilemma given the sheer scope of great local distillers) but he did want to give a shout out to Gold Coast’s own Granddad Jack’s Craft Distillery and their 65 Miles gin, complementing its well-balanced spice and loving that it’s “surprisingly smooth for a 57% spirit.”

Given its position as the heart that pumps gin through the veins of Brisbane’s drinking scene, Cuba assures us that we can look forward to plenty more events lighting up Covent Garden throughout the year, not just in celebration of their liquid calling card, gin, but also showcasing quality local produce. Of course, there’ll always be loads of exciting new gins on rotation as distillers begin unveiling their 2019 line of careful concoctions.

Be sure to swing by Covent Garden the next time that you’re in West End and try Cuba’s favourite food and gin pairing: gin-cured salmon and a Negroni made on Four Pillars Navy gin – trust us, the man knows his gin.

It’s an exciting time for gin drinkers everywhere and thanks to pros like Cuba keeping his finger on the pulse, we’ve got every reason to think that 2019 will be another killer year for this timeless tonic.

Words by Josh Schultz
- the GINtleman gourmand