There is quite a short list of botanicals in Blogger Gin but added together they make, what we think is, a great flavour. Just juniper, cardammon seeds, citrus peel and two different types of pepper.
The law says that all gin has to have juniper in it or it is just grain spirit, or vodka. The addition of juniper makes a gin a gin. What happens after that is what makes each distillery different. Blogger Gin’s juniper comes from Croatia.
Cardamom has a pungent and identifiable aroma in spice form, but once it’s been distilled it becomes very green, like a blanket of grass. There is a definite piquancy on the nose as well, and to taste it’s identifiable only as itself – a slightly perfumed flavour, sweet at the fore with a fiery finish. Green cardamom seeds lend an additional eucalyptol flavour to gins, while black cardamom add a more smoky finish.
Once distilled, lemon remains easily identifiable. The smell is initially reminiscent of candied lemon peel – the type that adorns sponge cakes in bake sales up and down the country. It grows in the nose, though, becoming zesty and crisp– as though someone had grated the fruit into the bottle. The taste is tart, but fresh and quite lovely, though it doesn’t linger
Pepper, black and pink
Black Pepper, often known simply as the “peppercorn” comes from the Piper nigrum vine, native to India and tropical Asia. The berries are picked while still green, then washed and dried, causing them to take on their signature cratered black appearance.
Peppercorn was so important that it made it to the resting place of Ramesses II in the 12th century BC and it was widely beloved in Rome during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. It was even used as a currency. By the age of Exploration, it came to dominate the spice trade, and while once only in the afford of the rich, black pepper is so quotidian that it appears on nearly every table alongside salt.
Piquant, spicy and warming, black pepper remains a popular ingredient in gin.
Cinnamon is often known in gin circles as cassia bark. And whilst the two are very similar they are actually different.
Sri Lankan, AKA Ceylon Cinnamon quills are 8cm lengths of tightly rolled, concentric layers of the very thin underneath layer of bark. This has been carefully peeled off cut branches and then rolled by cinnamon peelers into metre-long quills that look like a giant cigar. These long quills are then cut into the familiar short ‘sticks’.
Cassia, AKA Dutch Cinnamon, Baker’s Cinnamon, Bastard Cinnamon and Batavia Cinnamon is often confused with Sri Lankan cinnamon, cassia has a very sweet, pungent aroma and almost bitter taste when used to excess. This is what the majority of bakers use on cinnamon donuts, in apple strudel and in cinnamon spiced muffins. Cassia is also used extensively in the United States and at one time was referred to there as Saigon Cinnamon.
People off screw their noses up at Licorice as it is one of those flavours you either love or hate. When used as a botanical in gin though you don’t get that typical licorice taste, you get a sweetness that adds to the other botanicals without being sickly sweet.
All images of individual botanicals are courtesy of Shutterstock