Botanicals Distilled is a series of blog posts explaining the origin, characteristics, taste and uses in gin of individual botanicals. Find out why juniper is the key flavour in gin, why coriander is liked and loathed in equal measure and many other quirks of gin botanicals.
Who would think that rose could be used as a botanical in gin? But the damask rose, so named after Damascus in Syria from which it originated, is often used in the creation of liqueurs, perfume and gin through the processes of infusion and distillation.
Frankincense is one of the noblest gin botanicals. Its name derives from the Old French for 'noble incense'. Used for centuries in religious ceremonies it is now being distilled in gin. But beware. Too much of the noble incense and your gin can taste like men's soap.
Hibiscus is a popular key botanical in gin often taking centre stage. It also pops up in mixers and is found paired with pomegranate and grapefruit where its tart fruitiness finds natural partners. It is the trumpet-shaped flowers or calyces that distillers are interested in. The calyces are tart to the point of bitterness, adding a jammy floral note to gin.