Gin is made entirely from 100% neutral spirit and flavoured with a juniper dominated collection of botanicals. The type and quantity of each producer’s botanicals vary according to their own closely guarded recipes; all are carefully selected and tested for purity and quality.
Juniper, which by law is required to be the dominant flavour in any gin, is only one of dozens of different spices, roots, herbs and berries that can be used to flavour gin. Each combination creates a unique flavour.
All gins include juniper as an ingredient: other botanicals commonly used are coriander, angelica, orange peel, lemon peel, cardomom, cinnamon, grains of paradise, cubeb berries and nutmeg, although there are a large number of other botanicals also used (for example, Monkey 47 uses 47 different botanicals).
The Almond tree (Prunus dulci) is a species of Prunus belonging to the subfamily Prunoideae of the family Rosaceae; within Prunus, it is classified in the subgenus Amygdalus, distinguished from the other subgenera by the corrugated seed shell. An almond is also the seed of this tree. Botanically, the almond is not a nut, but a fruit.
It is thought that almond leads to abundance and prosperity, where as ground almonds make a good facial cleansing scrub. Their emollient properties make them suitable in cosmetics. The oil of bitter almonds has sedative properties and is sometimes used in cough remedies.
In gin it typically provides smoothness and binds all the other ingredients together.
Angelica Root is a genus of about 50 species of tall biennial and perennial herbs in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, reaching as far North as Iceland and Lapland. They grow to 1-3 m tall, with large bipinnate leaves and large compound umbels of white or greenish-white flowers. Some varieties are grown as flavouring agents or for their medicinal properties. The most notable of these is Garden Angelica (A. archangelica), which is commonly known simply as angelica. Natives of Lapland use the fleshy roots as food and the stalks as medicine. The roots and seeds are sometimes used to flavour gin.
Angelica has a warming and tonifying action on many body systems. It is a gentle expectorant and will gently improve circulation to the hands and feet. It has the effect of eliminating toxins and can be used for the treatment of rheumatism and colds, urinary complaints and colic. Externally the salve can be applied to relieve rheumatic pains. As a compress it can be used for gout.
Reputedly angelica got its name from the archangel who recommended its use during the plague. It would protect against evil spirits and witchcraft, hence it is also known “The root of the Holy Ghost.” In Germany, angelica was believed to eliminate the effects of intoxication and also to render witchcraft and the evil eye harmless.
In gin it typically provides the earthy base note.
The basil plant (Ocimum basilicum) – is the king of herbs and actually comes from the Greek meaning “king”. The English dictionary quotes speculation that basil may have been used in “some royal unguent, bath, or medicine”.
Basil is also the symbol of love in present day Italy, folklore states that girls would put a pot of basil in their window to attract suitors.
In gin it typically provides bold green herbaceous notes.
BERGAMOT ORANGE PEEL
Grown mainly in Italy, Bergamot orange peel is used in foods and beverages and also in many perfumes and lotions. This aromatic chameleon sometimes tastes of bright citrus and other times as a floral herb.
A member of the ginger family, cardamom pods are among the world’s most expensive spices due to the difficulty in cultivating them. They have a unique flavour with an intense aromatic spiciness and are often used in many South Asian cuisines, particularly curries. Often hand sorted to ensure only the best quality pods go into the gin, and then hulled to liberate the flavourful seeds.
The cassia bark, Cinnamomum aromaticum, synonym C. cassia is an evergreen tree native to southern China, Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam. Like its close relative, cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, also known as “true cinnamon” or “Ceylon cinnamon”), it is primarily used for its aromatic bark, which is used as a spice, often under the culinary name of “cinnamon”. The buds are also used as a spice, especially in India, and were once used by the ancient Romans. Cassia (called ròu gùi; 肉桂 in Chinese) is used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs.
In gin it typically provides warm spice notes.
Coriandrum sativum is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. The name ‘coriander’ in a culinary context may refer to either the seeds of the plant (used as a spice), or to its leaves (used as a herb). The generic name for coriander is derived from the Greek word, koris, that means, “bugs”. A bunch of fresh coriander tied with a ribbon and hung in the kitchen brings harmony to the home.
In gin it typically provides citrus notes and warm eastern spice.
The Cubeb seed (Piper cubeba), or tailed pepper, is a plant in genus Piper, cultivated for its fruit and essential oil. It is mostly grown in Java, hence sometimes called Java pepper. The fruits are gathered before they are ripe, and carefully dried. Commercial cubebs consist of the dried berries, similar in appearance to black pepper, but with stalks attached — the “tails” in “tailed pepper”. The dried pericarp is wrinkled, its colour ranges from grayish-brown to black.
The seed is hard, white and oily. The odour of cubebs is described as agreeable and aromatic. The taste, pungent, acrid, slightly bitter and persistent. Cubeb came to Europe via India through the trade with the Arabs. It continues to be used as a flavouring agent for gins. Cubeb was thought by the people of Europe to be repulsive to demons, just as it was by the people of China. Even today, the formula for the incense is quoted by neopagan authors, some of whom also claim that cubeb can be used in love sachets and spells.
In gin it typically provides pepper notes.
Honeysuckles (Lonicera; syn. Caprifolium Mill.) are arching shrubs or twining vines in the family Caprifoliaceae. There are about 180 species of honeysuckle. Many of the species have sweetly-scented, bell-shaped flowers that produce a sweet, edible nectar. The breaking of the Honeysuckle’s stem will release this powerful sweet odour.
In gin it typically provides sweetness and honey notes.
Juniper berries are a spice used in a wide variety of culinary dishes and best known ingredients for the primary flavouring in gin (and responsible for gin’s name, which is a shortening of the Dutch word for Juniper: genever). Many of the earliest prehistoric people lived in or near juniper forests which furnished them food, fuel, and wood for shelter or utensils. Juniper berries have long been used as medicine by many cultures.
Balancing the strength of the juniper flavour between predominate and overwhelming is key to producing a great gin. The heavy juniper in gins of the past often is the cause of the negative attitude some people have towards the spirit. A large number of the newer gin producers now aim for a sweet subtle cedar-like note of juniper.
In gin it typically provides classical perfumed notes.
KIEFFER LIME LEAVES
Kieffer lime [Citrus hystrix, C. papedia] leaves come from the Kieffer lime tree native to Indonesia. The leaves are highly aromatic and suitable for various Asian cuisines, including Thai, Indonesian, Cambodian and Lao cuisines. They are easily recognisable by their emerald-green, doubled sections, which makes them appear as if two leaves are joined together.
There is a top leaflet which has a slight point at the tip. Attached to that is another leaflet at the bottom which is broader on the upper portion. The size of kieffer lime leaves can vary in size, from several inches long to less than an inch. The bigger the leaf, typically the darker its colour It is used in herbal medicines and traditional treatments, as the fruit and especially its leaves, have those special properties to encourage the growth of skin.
The leaf will give a fresh lime (or lemon-like) fragrance when squashed with the fingers. For distillation, the leaves are added to give the gin the unique taste of lime.
In gin it typically provides high lime notes.
The lavenders (Lavandula) are a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. Because the cultivated forms are planted in gardens worldwide, they are occasionally found growing wild as garden escapees, well beyond their natural range. However, since lavender cross-pollinates easily, there are countless variations within the species. The colour of the flowers of some forms has come to be called lavender.
The leaves are long and narrow in most species. In other species they are pinnately toothed, or pinnate, sometimes multiple pinnate and dissected. Flowers are borne in whorls, held on spikes rising above the foliage. Flowers may be blue, violet or lilac. Lavender is used extensively with herbs and aromatherapy.
English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) yields an essential oil with sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. Lavandin, Lavandula intermedia (also known as Dutch lavender), yields a similar essential oil which add a sharper overtone to the fragrance. Mexican lavender, Lavandula stoechas is not used medicinally, but mainly for landscaping.
Essential oil of lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It was used in hospitals during World War I to disinfect floors and walls.
According to folk wisdom, lavender has many uses. Infusions of lavender soothe and heal insect bites and burns. Bunches of lavender repel insects. If applied to the temples, lavender oil soothes headaches. In pillows, lavender seeds and flowers aid sleep and relaxation.
In gin it typically provides deep rich floral notes.
(Citrus limon) is a hybrid in cultivated wild plants. The exact origin of the lemon has remained a mystery, though it is widely presumed that lemons are wildly grown in both India and China. It is also speculated that lemons were first grown on Mediterranean bushes, coined lemon bushes, but they have evolved and modern-day lemons grow on trees. In South and South East Asia, it was known for its antiseptic properties and it was used as antidote for various poisons. The lemon was later introduced to Iraq and Egypt around 700 A.D.
Lemon has invigorating and refreshing properties. It is used as an antiseptic, insect repellent, anti-anaemic and whitens teeth. Lemon has a mystic association with love, friendship, purification and longevity.
In gin it typically provides fresh zesty lemony notes.
Liquorice Root is the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, from which a sweet flavour can be extracted. Its active principle is glycyrrhizin, a sweetener more than 50 times as sweet as sucrose which also has pharmaceutical effects. Ancient Chinese divided their drugs into 3 classes, according to their reputed properties. Liquorice was of the first class because “they preserve the life of man, and therefore resemble Heaven. They are not poisonous. No matter how much you take, and how often you use them, they are not harmful. If you wish to make the body supple, improve the breath, become old in years without ageing in body, then make use of liquorice root.”
Like the Chinese, the Hindus considered liquorice a general tonic, beautifying agent, and elixir of life.
In gin it typically provides light woody notes and sweetness.
Orris Root is the root of some species of iris, grown principally in southern Europe: Iris germanica, Iris florentina, and Iris pallida. Once important in Western herbal medicine, it is now used mainly as a base note in perfumery, as well as an ingredient in many brands of Gin. Orris root must generally be hung and aged for 5 years before it can be used for perfumery. It is used in Chinese medicine and has a reputation as an aphrodisiac.
In gin it typically provides earthy and floral notes.
The Pomelo, also known as Chinese grapefruit, is a citrus fruit usually a pale green to yellow when ripe, larger than a grapefruit, with sweet flesh and thick spongy rind. Pulp colour ranges between clear pale yellow to pink to red, and tastes like a sweet, mild grapefruit – it has very little or none of the common grapefruit’s bitterness. It is the largest citrus fruit, growing as large as 30 cm in diameter and weighing as much as 10 kg.
In gin it typically provides rich orange type notes.
ROMAN CHAMOMILE FLOWER
(Anthemis nobilis) commonly known as Chamomile, garden chamomile, ground apple, low chamomile, English chamomile. With an apple like scent, Chamomile is popular in aromatherapy, believed to be a calming agent to end stress and aid in sleep. Use of Chamomile dates back to ancient Egypt where it was dedicated to their gods. Folk remedies include treatments for inflammation and jaundice.
In gin it typically provides floral notes.
The sage plant ( Salvia Officinals) means a wise man, and this term comes from the belief that sage was thought to impart wisdom and improve one’s memory. The English herbalist, Gerard wrote that, “Sage is singularly good for the head and brain, it quickened the senses and memory, strengthened the sinews, restoreth health to those that have the palsy, and taketh away shakey trembling of the members.”
In gin it typically provides roundness to compliment other herbs such as basil.