Smooth, unpretentious and easy on the palate, gins are some of the world's most underrated liquors. Several iconic cocktails are made from gins, including gimlets, martinis, negronis, vespers, the Singapore Sling, and of course, the good ol' gin and tonic.
Rémy Cointreau ambassador Richard Gillam is a fervent proponent of gins. With the launch of The Botanist Gin in Singapore, the regional on-trade channel manager of the French company reckons that now is a great time for the budding bartender to try his or her hand at gins.
Distilled in Scotch whisky territory alongside award-winning Islay whiskies, The Botanist is one of the world's most eclectic gins. The bouquet of notes that arise from 22 hand-foraged botanicals like aniseed, coriander, and elder endow its wielder with a wide variety of mixing possibilities.
"The botanist is a classic gin at heart," Gillam divulges. "This means a distinctive juniper character. Having this strong juniper style lends itself to the classic gin cocktails which were based around this botanical. The 22 hand-foraged botanicals from Islay provide a comprehensive flavour background which enables bartenders to choose which direction they then take the cocktail, be it floral, herbal, spicy or minty."
"Years ago, Singapore used to be a haven for foraging with an abundance of natural herbs and spices frequently used for Chinese medicine," Gillam adds. "That has since died out. In synergy with the recent move in F&B towards fresh, local produce, I do hope that The Botanist coming to Singapore will inspire its local bartenders and consumers towards sourcing for local ingredients and being creative with the way they garnish and serve their drinks."
Below, three gin-based recipes to get you started with your botanical exploration:
Gin & Tonic
The classic gin and tonic should be served in a large Burgundy wine glass full of ice. Garnish your gin and tonic with a juicy slice of orange and any fresh herbs—rosemary, coriander, basil, thyme, mint—you have on hand. There are no rules!
Islay Gin Smash
Take a large shot of gin (45ml) and place it in a shaker with half a diced lemon and a spoon of white sugar. Muddle or crush the mixture up with a stick or spoon, then throw in some fresh herbs. Basil is fantastic! Add ice, shake very hard, and tip everything onto large rocks or into a tumbler glass. You can garnish with more herbs.
Pour 25ml of The Botanist into a champagne flute, add 25ml of lemon juice, followed by 10ml of honey. Stir until they are mixed. Add a stick of cinnamon, a twist of orange and fresh mint, then stir again before topping up with very cold sparkling wine.
About Andre Frois
Andre is a freelance journalist who posts his articles on andrefrois.com and an independent publisher whose books can be viewed on afstorytellers.com.