After three generations of making Calvados in Normandy, the Christian Drouin family decided to add gin to their offerings in 2015. Le Gin, made from their apples, quickly became a familiar addition to the backbars of many of Paris’s notable cocktail spots and well-known to the city’s cocktillian crowd. This year, the house has created a limited edition, small batch (8,550 bottles) gin: Pira.
Pira, which is latin for pear, puts the pear rather than the apple front and center. While many people think of apples when they think of Normandy or Calvados, the pear is also an emblematic fruit that makes up a good part of the Calvados production (about 30% of a bottle if we’re talking Domfrontain AOC Calvados). There is also a pear equivalent of apple cider in the region called Poiré. And, I’m all good with putting a hard working but lesser noticed fruit front and center.
Like their original, each aromatic is macerated and distilled separately before blending together. And while I enjoy their original gin, I don’t get the apple off it like I get the pear off of this one, mostly in aroma but also in flavor.
Pira delivers as promised on the fruit flavor and has a light weight and texture. After swallowing there is a fleeting breath of pear and then a length of bright sensation. And it’s rare that I say this about a gin, but this is one that I would serve as a digestive (maybe because it recalls the familiar poire, a pear eau de vie often served in France as an after dinner drink).
You can find this in bottle shops in France for around 39 Euros a bottle, which I think is a fair enough price for a limited edition of an unaged spirit that is not industrially made.
Christian Drouin is open for visitors and I recommend a visit should you find yourself in Normandy. Also, if you want to learn more about this house or spirits from the area, you might want to check out our Calvados primer with Alex Mermillod of Christian Drouin on Paris Cocktail Talk. If you want to read a little about our last visit there, my bff has a bit about it on her travel blog as well.