On our Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Day I decided to blend a gin as my tribute to the Queen. It is rumoured that the Queen’s favourite gin was Gordon’s London Dry Gin so I made my own variation of that in her honour: sweet English rose with a touch of warm spiciness.
I have become quite a convert to distilling my own gin at home following a gin-making workshop I attended and of course getting my own still. I have made it completely from scratch but you can start with any neutral spirit such as vodka. My little 3L alembic still is ideal as a flavouring still to make small batches of gin (1L of neutral spirit) and try out various flavour combinations.
At the gin-making workshop we were given a classic London Dry gin recipe and shown how to vary the ingredients whilst still keeping them in the right proportions. I love a very citrusy flavour and my favourite ‘go to’ recipe uses predominant citrus (I vary lemon, lime and orange peels – all from my garden) and spice (cardamon, ginger). It was very hard for me to move away from something so tried and true but at the course we had been able to try different combinations of things that I would never have considered. So I decided to try a predominant rose petal and pink peppercorn blend as something completely different and very fitting as the Queen was certainly an ‘English Rose’ and demonstrated a certain ‘spiciness or fieriness’ as well.
There are lots of versions available of a Gin Colour Wheel that help you to understand the character of the various different botanicals and what they bring to the gin flavour. You can and should study the wheel and plan your blend but ‘creative experimentation and trial-by-error is a tried and true method for eventually becoming a master distiller‘. I’m not sure about becoming a master distiller but it is certainly fun to try out different combinations.
This is my Tribute to the Queen blend:
|Coriander seeds||7g||Heat, musky|
|Angelica root||2g||Rooty, dusty|
|Liquorice root||2g||Sweet, buttery|
|Orris root||0.5g||Rooty, dusty, warming|
|Ginger root||0.5g||Heat, piquant|
|Rose petals||3.0g||Perfumed floral|
|Pink peppercorns||1.0g||Heat, fiery|
When it was freshly distilled the cinnamon flavour of the cassia was very strong but it blended into the overall flavour after a day or two. I wasn’t sure what the rose petals would be like and had some misgivings that it would be too perfumey but in fact it was very pleasant, fresh almost fruity rather than being overly floral. I felt very pleased with my tribute to the Queen.
Cheers Your Majesty!