Say Hay to HeuGin – a Berlin Spirit with an Alpine Soul

By Andrew Cottrill . June 1, 2023

HeuGin is a 46% London Dry Gin made by Berlin distillery, von Bergen Spirits.

von Bergen Spirits are – to be precise – Werner & Sebastian, two Berlin-based gin lovers whose quest for the perfect gin took them 1,600m above sea level. To Austria’s Carinthian Alps, Werner’s homeland.

It’s at this altitude, high up on the alpine hillsides, where a hay – alongside wildflowers, herbs and grasses – grows. For Werner & Sebastian, this hay is the flavour of the Carinthian Alps, and something they distil down into their hand-made HeuGin.

A full-bodied gin with a strong cardamom kick

I was lucky enough to sample some. Although the bottle reads that, along with the alpine hay, the gin’s botanicals include classic juniper, lemon, cucumber, pine, cranberries, blueberries AND cardamom, cardamom really is the stand-out flavour here.

Straight out the freezer, this gin is thick, punchy, almost buttery… with a strong cardamom aroma. My mind went straight to all the Indian-inspired mixes this spirit could bring to life.

HeuGin served neat in shot glasses
Photo: Sandra Juto

First, we tasted it on its own – pure. It works well as a stand-alone drink. A shot. A schnaps. In a tumbler, over ice. Next was to see how it played with others…

The impromptu cocktail party

To test HeuGin’s cocktail capabilities, we mixed up a classic Negroni, a Dirty Martini and a Gin Basil Smash, bastarded-up with a splash of homemade cherry syrup.

HeuGin mixed into three different cocktails
Photo: Sandra Juto

The hallmark of a classic Negroni is three ingredients working in perfect balance. But, that all sounds a little boring… HeuGin’s heavy-spice aroma forces its way through, up and above the other flavours, adding a welcome anarchy to the classic drink’s harmony.

HeuGin is definitely friends with olives and produces a dirty, dirty Dirty Martini. The inner sweetness of the 46% gin highlights the salt-bitterness of the green olives and brine, making this sleazy drink a touch more sublime.

Our frankenstein Gin Basil Smash really showed what HeuGin can do. It lends itself well to sweeter, fresher drinks that allow the gin’s natural botanicals to zing. A gin fizz would be perfect – and I think you could have a lot of fun with tea infusions such as Earl Grey.

Outside on a balcony drinking three HeuGin cocktails
Photo: Sandra Juto

A G&T with a spiced, floral bloom

After all this cocktail-making malarky, we settled down to some good, proper (and easy-to-mix) gin & tonics.

As advised by HeuGin’s website, we used a dry tonic water. We chose Fever-Tree Premium Dry – the dry, light version that contains 50% fewer calories.

Drinks should be made strong and, with a 30-40% gin mix, this G&T is light, refreshing and with a subtle lilt of the exotic.

Andrew Cottrill drinking a dirty martini
Photo: Sandra Juto

HeuGin was awarded silver at Craft Spirits Berlin Awards 2023.

Find out more about HeuGin at von-bergen-spirits.com, or visit FREYTAG in Friedrichshain for the in-store experience.

FREYTAG Liqueurs & Spirits e.K.
Grünberger Str. 8
10243 Berlin


By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.