An Irish gin spiced in God’s Own Country

New Update


When an Irish distiller is inspired by his Kerala born wife to launch a premium gin named ‘Maharani Gin’, it can be expressed as the ultimate tribute to cross-cultural love. Dedicated to revolutionary women everywhere, the premium gin is zested with pomelo fruit, and uniquely spiced with cassia and nutmeg mace, all sourced from a women’s organic farming co-operative in Kerala. This heady combination results in a gin of truly transcendental taste; a liberation of spirit and spice.

We may call it the triumph of love beyond boundaries. When the rolling verdant fields of Ireland gets inspired by the high spirits, exotic spices and the breathtaking backwaters of the God’s Own Country, the resultant elixir is bound to create magic in your life.


Robert Barrett, a biochemist turned fine spirits expert, who, following a number of years researching cancer cell migration, has spent more than a decade learning the art of crafting and distilling premium spirits around the world. Robert completed an MSc in Brewing & Distilling at the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, which counts many stalwarts of the craft drinks industry among its alumni. He combined his wealth of industry experience to set-up his own boutique distillery alongside his wife, Bhagya and father, Brendan, and thus Rebel City Distillery was founded in Cork city, in 2020. Cork is the second largest city in Ireland.

His wife Bhagya hails from Kollam in Kerala, India. A software engineer by profession, Bhagya’s expansive career has seen her work in large cities like Chennai and Madrid before moving westwards to Ireland, where she completed an MBA at Dublin Business School. Currently, as a Senior Program Manager at Dell, Bhagya manages project teams the US, Ireland, Malaysia, India, Brazil and China. Bhagya is multilingual. She speaks Tamil, Hindi, English and Spanish along with her native language, Malayalam.


This exposure of different languages and cultures has provided Bhagya with a worldly perspective, and her own cultural identity has inspired Maharani Gin. Bhagya identified the organic women’s farming cooperative in Wayanad, which is her favourite part of Kerala, as the perfect location to source Rebel City Distillery’s fine botanical selection.

Maharani Gin celebrates a fusion of Cork and Kerala culture, from where Robert and his wife Bhagya respectively come from. Maharani Gin is a homage to Kerala women who are known for their strength and importance in society.

Excitement Galore

Speaking about the launch, Head Distiller and Co-Founder, Robert says, “We are really excited to finally introduce Maharani Gin to the world! Our plans for a launch event in our new distillery and an initial roll-out in bars around the country had to be significantly adjusted over the last few months in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we are thrilled that our product is now available to be bought online and to select offtrade and retailers around the country so that consumers can finally get to enjoy this new product which we are immensely proud of.”

How did the idea finally take shape? Bhagya is quick to point out that “I always liked craft beer and spirits and when Robert talked about starting a distillery I was really excited about the possibility of infusing Kerala flavours into our gin.”

Robert excitedly chips in saying the genesis for this gin was Kerala, where his wife Bhagya is from. “We wanted to incorporate some of the taste and ingredients of Kerala, which even in India is known as a land of spice. To that end my wife found Vanamoolika, a women’s organic collective based in the Western Ghats of Kerala. We met them and were really impressed with their quality and so decided to take our signature botanicals from there, namely nutmeg mace, pomelo and cassia. This then formed the backbone of the gin and led to us to a citrus/spice gin.”


He structured the remaining botanicals – cardamom, lemon, orange, coriander, orris and of course juniper to support. He says the time taken from recipe procurement and development was about two years. “This heady combination results in a gin of truly transcendental taste a liberation of spirit and spice,” he adds.

Talking about how this fusion will be accepted, Robert gushes forth, “We believe the authenticity of our story and production process will appeal across geographic boundaries. India has historical links with gin, so we think that Maharani Gin will resonate well with its people because of this. And as countries are having increasingly diverse population, we think the gin’s cultural appeal will be widespread.”

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