Australian bush botanicals for creating unique flavours in handcrafted gin and other alcoholic beverages.
Gin is an abundantly versatile spirit which allows plenty of scope for applying your creative flair. Here’s a few suggestions to help you craft ‘your’ perfect gin.
Choosing your tonic
The gin & tonic is a thing of elegant simplicity, but since the mixer makes up at least two thirds of the cocktail, a lot is riding on the tonic. There’re so many fabulous tonic waters to choose from – where do you start? Tonic waters essentially differ in how much and what type of quinine is used, the citrus that’s used, and the resulting sugar levels. The most important thing to consider is how they work together. Ideally you want a tonic whose flavours will complement or enhance the natural flavours of your gin.
A general rule of thumb is to select a tonic that doesn’t overwhelm the spirit. A classic Indian or Mediterranean tonic is a good place to start, as it gives you a clean, crisp refreshing cocktail with the flavour of the gin botanicals coming through to balance the bitterness of the tonic. Elderflower tonic is well suited to gins with strong floral profiles and those gins with spicy and heat characters pair well with ginger ale. Indeed, you don’t have to stick to tonic water, your gin may go just as well with ginger beer, ginger ale, pink lemonade, bitter lemon, fruit juices or fizzy elder flower.
By dressing your gin, you can add flavour, art, fun and sophistication. Here’s some basics to get you started.
Gin garnishes can be fresh or dried and usually fall into four main categories: herbs, spices, fruit/berries and flowers. Whilst a garnish is primarily for decoration, it should also add flavour by ‘subtlety’ enhancing or complementing the gin’s signature botanicals. As a generalisation, like goes with like, so for example, citrus gins can be amplified with citrus fruits and citrusy herbs; spicy gins pair well with the likes of cinnamon, star anise, peppercorns, cardamom, and orange; floral gins are suited to edible flowers, cucumber, citrus peel and berries; and herbaceous gins sit well with rosemary, thyme and mint. But there’s no hard and fast rules! You might want to tame the spice by pairing with citrus, herbs or flowers or you may create agreeable contrasts by garnishing your floral gin with a touch of spice.
Fresh herbs can add interesting flavours and greatly increase the overall aromatics. Sliced fruits provide a profiled look whilst imparting their signature flavours. Edible flowers, peeled ribbons of rhubarb or sprigs of lavender add subtle flavours and stunning visual appeal. If you fancy some citrusy zest, then twist some citrus peel to release the oils. Try mandarin, grapefruit or blood orange if you want to move away from traditional lemon or lime. Juniper is always a safe bet – add some berries – squeezing them hard before dropping them in. Dried garnishes are convenient, attractive and offer the opportunity to explore some more exotic options. Oh – and here in lies our opportunity to promote our Australian Botanical Garnish Pack. Our dried garnishes provide a totally! unique opportunity to adorn your gin or cocktail with a distinctive touch of the Australian bush. The tantalising flavours of Australian native fruits, berries and spices will enhance or complement your gin or favourite cocktail.
How much garnish do you add? Well, that comes down to how dressy you’re feeling. However, you want to avoid overpowering the natural gin flavours, so perhaps an intensely flavoured garnish should be used sparingly.
Over to you now – enjoy experimenting.