Why Are Craft Distillers Pushing Botanical Boundaries?

Four spoons with botanicals and crushed herbs used by craft distillers

All craft distillers worthy of their title push boundaries with their signature botanical mix. A distinctive botanical recipe is a great way to attract the curious consumer, adding a flavour profile that can surprise and delight.

Given that we are spoilt for choice in Australia, it’s no wonder craft distillers have become experimental when developing their recipes. They have access to a mammoth variety of native ingredients including nuts, berries, herbs, spices, flowers, vegetables and fruits.

What’s in a craft distillers botanical basket?

There are hundreds of potential ingredients to choose from, each bringing a different flavour. From punchy and bitter to smooth and sweet. A typical recipe for gin infuses 6-10 botanicals, but you can find upward of 15 botanicals in an aperitivo. It’s a floral playground, with almost limitless options.

A craft distiller might build out their botanical basket with:

  • Blood Orange. A bitter sweet citrus.
  • Rhubarb. Both sour and bitter.
  • Grapefruit. A clean citrus.
  • Angelica Root This one is a sweet, delicate, fragrant with a vanilla herbal undertone.
  • Gentian Root. Both bitter and earthy.
  • Wormwood. Floral, but it’s washed away with a bitter aftertaste.
  • Nutmeg. A warming sweet spice.
  • Cardamom. Pungent with light notes of lemon and mint.
  • Coriander. Fresh citrus to those who love it. Or soap to those who loathe it.
  • Clove. An aromatic spice.
  • Aniseed. A sweet spice with licorice notes.

To preserve the natural flavours many craft distillers opt to dry these ingredients at lower temperatures, but some are now adding fresh ingredients to bring a bit of brightness to the finished palette.

Even though exact recipes are closely guarded secrets, who could resist boasting about the more audacious ingredients that find their way into the mix? Anyone for Green Ants?

Consumers can’t get enough

Discerning drinkers want to know what’s in their glass, so it’s worth the time to educate them with a few tasting notes. They are more likely to enjoy the experience of drinking their aperitivo when they can name that spice on the tip of their tongue.

And this is behind the experimentation; the ability to delight the drinker and gives them a tale to tell their friends.

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