Steinhorn: award-winning Gin from Austria

Posted on 05/05/2020 by Eileen Schuch
Steinhorn Gin Falstaff Gin Trophy Best Austrian Gin

When Lucas Bols produced his “Genever” in Amsterdam in 1575, he probably did not imagine the triumphal ascent this spirit would make one day. Pure, with tonic or in cocktails: gin is not only a trend it is cult. In recent years, however, gin has experienced a hype like no other spirit. In 2018, Falstaff selected, for the first time, the best producers as part of the Gin Trophy and presented its own magazine special on juniper spirits. About 200 of the finest Austrian and international gins were tasted and rated by recognized spirits experts. The best of the six categories, as well as the most outstanding Gins from Austria, were celebrated at an exclusive award ceremony.

Austrian Gin? Yes, it’s a thing!

The interest in Gin is vivid and the first edition of the Vienna Gin Festival in 2018 was a huge success. Since the late 90s, more and more distillers venture into the gin market. Among the newcomers are restaurateurs who want to offer their own, bespoke product. According to Falstaff, there are over 130 different producers of gin in Austria right now and exponentially more variants of individual gins. Many bars and restaurants offer a selection of gins from small, local producers. Regionalism – with regards to developing their recipe and selecting botanicals – is very important to most distillers. Where a certain gin comes from is the producer’s pride and can sometimes be deducted from its name. The winner of the Falstaff Gin Trophy 2018 is Steinhorn Gin, and why it is called like that has less to do with where and more with by whom it is made: Steiner Bros.


Steinhorn Gin Falstaff Gin Trophy Best Austrian Gin Steiner Bros


Steinhorn: Best of Austro-Gins

With 94 out of 100 possible points, Steinhorn Gin ranked first among Falstaff’s selection of the best Austrian Gins and runner-up in the international ranking of London Dry Gin. That is a huge success considering that the brand was only founded in autumn 2017! The Steiners are a family from the Weinviertel, Austria’s Wine Quarter, who have been growing and producing wine for generations. They also produced Schnapps with their own fruit. The brothers Johannes and Martin Steiner, aka the Steiner Bros., committed to reviving the family’s tradition of distilling spirits. Their ancestors, Katharina and Gottfried von Grosz, impoverished landed gentry from Silesia, were making a living as traveling merchants before settling down in Ruppersthal, a little village in the Weinviertel, at the end of the 19th century. In addition to their activity as grocers, they were also distilling schnapps. Although bootlegging of some sort, their liquors enjoyed great popularity. It is reported that in particular the gin they produced enjoyed a legendary reputation and was present even in the most prestigious Salons des Fin de Siècle in Vienna. Unwittingly, they were the originators of Steinhorn Gin.


Steinhorn Gin Austria Gin Trophy Best Austrian Gin


Steinhorn: the unicorn among Gins

Steinhorn – in English not so much, in the German language, however – a rather peculiar name. It is a play on words: “Stein” from Steiner, the founders’ name, and “Einhorn”, German for “unicorn”. The explanation for the association can be found on the brand’s website: Unicorns are strong as buffalo and graceful as Lipizzaner. They are rare and their horn is sought after because it is said to have magical power. From these attributes, the name for their unique Gin was quickly derived. Steinhorn Gin is the contemporary interpretation of their family’s tradition, distilled in a 60-litre copper kettle in the pot still process and according to the strictest requirements for London Dry Gin. The result is a characterful gin with a strong juniper signature, citrus notes and a herbal, spicy finish. Botanicals such as rosemary, elderberry and liquorice, as well as a number of other ingredients, many of which come from their own garden and the region around Wagram, add elegance and make Steinhorn Gin a pure, graceful spirit with a mysterious aura.

26 East Bar David Penker


Steinhorn Gin x David Penker, 26° East Bar

The Steiner Bros.’ uncompromising approach quickly caught on with bars and spirits connoisseurs. Today, Steinhorn Gin is present in the finest establishments in Vienna and beyond. Among them, 26° East Bar at Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna.

The name derives from the street number the bar is located at: 26, Schottenring. The number 26 is woven deep into the bar’s DNA. Its signature cocktails are inspired by countries located along the 26th eastern longitude. Just eight months after the opening on 8th March 2018, 26° EAST Bar was voted “Hotel Bar of the Year 2018” at the Falstaff “Vienna Bar & Spirits Festival” in Hofburg. In addition, the bar reached 93 out of 100 points in the new “Falstaff Bar & Spirits Guide 2019”, making it one of the 600 best bars in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Together with our Vienna based Fabdrinx partner Raise-your-Spirits, we challenged David Penker, Bar Manager of the award-winning bar and World Class finalist, to create a cocktail with Steinhorn Gin. A master of his trade, David conjures not one, but two great cocktails:

The Weinhorn Negroni

3cl Steinhorn Gin
3cl Met
3cl Yellow Muscat (Gelber Muskateller from Polz, Südsteiermark) Ad lib.

Cardamom Bitter Blossoms Put Gin, Met, Muskateller, and Bitters in a stirring glass with plenty of ice-cold, stir well, then strain into a tumbler on the rocks, decorate with flowers. Not only does David Penker reinvent the Negroni with this version of the classic cocktail, he also managed to reference the wine heritage of the Steiners.


Steinhorn Sake Fizz

5cl Steinhorn Gin 2cl Sake Junmai Ginjo 1.5cl lemon juice 1.5cl lime juice 2cl cowslip syrup Egg white 1 bar spoon of orange blossom water (Bitter Truth) Bitter lemon Coffee beans Apart from the bitter lemon, put all ingredients in a shaker without ice and shake thoroughly. Then add ice and shake again. Strain into in a highball glass filled with ice. Top up with Bitter Lemon. Decorate with crushed coffee beans. The Fizz has a diametrically different character to the Negroni and yet this creation perfectly emphasizes the unique character of Steinhorn Gin.


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When reading the instructions, you will have noticed that David mixes his cocktails without ice first. It’s a traditional technique called “Dry Throwing” – or Dry Shaking, if you will – that he rediscovered for himself and made his trademark. The mixing of the ingredients without ice first has several advantages: it allows for aeration and full release of the flavors without diluting the mixture. It works perfectly for fortified wines (i.e. Vermouth, Sherry), aromatized, and botanical-rich spirits. That is why gin can largely benefit from this technique. Throwing (or shaking) it dry first will reveal the more subtle vegetal and base spice notes, then repeating the procedure with ice will lead to slight dilution which enhances the citrus and floral notes.

Throwing, a technique somewhere between rolling and shaking is meant to allow for aeration in addition. And, if you manage to do it well, it looks cool and is an attention-grabbing, entertaining spectacle. Works well with cocktails that are typically stirred, like Negroni, Martini, or Manhatten. But there is nothing new under the sun! “The throw” is an age-old show! The ancient Greeks and Romans did it already with their wine, and later it became custom in the Basque region of Spain to aerate sherry, cider, and wine. If you are interested in learning more about cocktail culture and mixology, you can visit David Penker at his bar in Vienna or you book David for Workshops. Erhard from Raise-your-Spirits also organizes Workshops and Bar Crawls through Vienna.


Steinhorn Gin, Steiner Bros. GesbR,, Palais Hansen Kempinski Vienna, 26° East Bar,, +43 1 236 1000 8088. Raise-Your-Spirits,,, +43 660 / 25 99 921.



One comment

  1. Can you provide me with all promotional items for my namesake Gin-Steinhorn Gin!
    My address is 9 Clover Lane, RUMSON, NJ 07760 USA
    I would love to promote it in the USA

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