We take a look at why flavoured gins are so popular, and suggest some innovative gin flavours for you to try today.
Gin makers have done a remarkable job in taking a classic distilled spirit and turning it into the must-have drink of the moment through innovation and experimentation. Not only have they given gin lovers a range of alternative styles to discover and enjoy, they’ve been able to appeal to a whole new market of gin drinkers. How did they manage to do this, you may ask? Well, it turns out that it’s all about flavour.
Traditionally, gins are flavoured with juniper berries to give them their unique taste. While juniper is still always used, the new styles are infused with different flavours and ingredients to create varieties where juniper is not the predominant characteristic. From the big-name brands to the smaller distilleries that are opening around the world each week, it seems everyone is on board with these new gin varieties.
The number of Australian gin distilleries has grown exponentially in the last decade, with many small distilleries winning world recognised awards as pay-off for their gin flavour experimentation. From traditional fruit flavours, spices and native botanicals to famous wine varietals, it seems that the only limit to what can be infused is the distiller’s imagination, which makes finding a gin that suits your tastes easier than ever.
The world of flavour-infused botanical gins is rich in options, ranging from fruity to floral to herbaceous and earthy to sweet. Try these popular flavoured gins.
These flavoured gins have all the botanicals you would expect from traditional gin but add the aromatic and fruity characteristics of wine grapes to the mix. Try Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin – a combination of Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin with Yarra Valley shiraz grapes, it changes with the vintage. It has a rich ruby colour and sweet, spicy and peppery flavours. If you love mulled wine in winter, make Mayfair Mulled Spiced Gin your anytime drink – it’s sweet and fruity with hints of cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves.
Slightly sweeter and fruitier than traditional gin, pink gin has a rosy blush in varying shades depending on the ingredients, such as strawberries, raspberries, or pink peppercorns. Match your garnish to the flavours and try adding fresh berries to a pink G&T. A great Australian pink gin to try is Antipodes Pink Gin – infused with Kakadu plums, strawberry gum and pepper berries, it was Australia’s first certified organic pink gin. Or go for
Hoshi Japanese Pink Gin – it has summer fruit aromas and strawberry, raspberry and star anise flavours.
Orange is a traditional gin botanical, so it makes good sense to go all-out with the tang of oranges to create a flavoured gin that’s great in cocktails and as an aperitif with tonic. A blood orange gin takes it up a notch with a flavour that’s hard to come by outside the citrus fruit’s short season. Whitley Neill Blood Orange Gin has a zesty aroma that heads up a clean, citrus gin with a sweet fruit burst of Sicilian blood orange. Try mixing it with grapefruit juice and a squeeze of lime.
Traditional English gin botanicals meet tart rhubarb in this deliciously sweet and sour style of flavoured gin that’s perfect for a twist on the classic G&T. The tangy fruity flavour of rhubarb pairs well with the spicy heat of ginger in Whitley Neill Rhubarb & Ginger Gin. If you’re a fan of rhubarb desserts and also love ginger-based cocktails, this is a great gin to get mixing with.
Perfect in cocktails, blue gin has a similar flavour profile to traditional gin but has a vibrant colour from the addition of blue flowers or other natural blue botanicals. Try Ink Gin – it’s made from a mix of traditional and native Australian botanicals including lemon myrtle leaf and Tasmanian pepperberry and infused with butterfly pea flower petals for a beautiful blue colour that becomes a blushing pink when you add tonic.