Our botanicals: what are Red Door Gin’s secret ingredients?
The popularity of gin in the UK is showing no sign of stopping! Distilleries are regularly releasing new gins. Bars have ever-expanding gin menus. There’s no doubt about it, we’re gin-obsessed!
Whether you see yourself as gin connoisseur or an occasional tippler, ‘botanicals’ is a buzzword you’ll be familiar with.
But how important are botanicals to the flavour of your gin?
And how do you know which botanicals will suit your taste preferences?
What are gin botanicals?
Botanicals are what makes gin, the gin we all know and love. Complexly flavoured, delicately perfumed, beautifully light and refreshing. Without botanicals, gin would be an unflavoured base spirit.
Red Door Gin is a London Dry Gin. This means a few things…
- Its predominant note must be that of juniper berries.
- It does not contain any artificial ingredients.
- No flavour or colour is added after distillation.
Aside from this, distillers have complete freedom over the botanicals they choose. Hence why different gins can vary dramatically in flavour.
From berries to spices, roots to fruits, there are hundreds of botanicals that can be used to flavour gin. Some gins are predominantly floral, some have upfront citrus notes, others are more earthy and herbaceous.
Not only do botanicals create a gin’s unique flavour, they can also affect the mouthfeel and the smoothness of a gin.
What makes Red Door Gin’s botanicals special?
After much trialling and testing, our Master Distiller carefully selected a combination of eight locally-influenced botanicals both complex and beautifully balanced.
Red Door Gin has a heart of finest juniper and defining citrus bite of bitter orange, with aromatic sea buckthorn, grassy, floral pearls of heather and chocolatey, smoky rowan berries .
Our idea was simple. To capture the spirit of Scotland’s majestic mountains, forests and windswept coastline in a deliciously distinctive, small-batch Highland Gin.
“As a gin from the Scottish Highlands, we were keen to take influence from botanicals associated with the Scottish landscape – heather, which is common on Scottish hillsides, rowan berries, which can be found in local wooded areas, and sea buckthorn, which can be found growing wild in Scotland’s coastal areas.”
– Andy Hannah, Brand Manager.
For us, the key to a great flavour is all about how our selection of botanicals interact together. Our Master Distiller has incorporated a depth of citrus notes and earthy angelica root to help marry together Red Door’s flavours.
We use a special vapour infusion distillation method to steam the neutral base spirit through our basket of chosen botanicals. The slow nature of the vapour infusion ensures that the delicate flavours of our botanicals are not lost during distillation. You can taste the most subtle notes and nuances of each of Red Door’s individual botanicals in just a single sip.
Our botanicals: Red Door Gin’s secret ingredients
When treating yourself to a tipple of Red Door Gin, see if you can taste all eight of our locally-influenced botanicals! Here’s what to look out for…
Juniper is the base to all gin. In fact, the word ‘gin’ derives from the Latin juniperus, meaning juniper. Red Door Gin is classified as a London Dry Gin, meaning its signature note on both the nose and the palate must be juniper.
As Lizzie our Master Distiller says…
“It wouldn’t be gin without juniper, you can smell gin just by crushing a juniper berry in your hand.”
– Lizzie Haw, Master Distiller
Red Door Gin’s signature botanical is punchy, piney and fresh flavoured.
Bitter Orange Peel
Tarter and tangier than your average gin, a burst of bitter orange peel gives Red Door Gin a deliciously different bittersweet citrus taste. Richer than lemon peel, bitter orange provides a delectable depth of citrus flavours to Red Door Gin.
Bitter orange is our Master Distiller, Lizzie’s, personal favourite of all eight of our botanicals.
“My favourite botanical has to be bitter orange, it’s deliciously rich and has comforting citrus aromas that remind me of buttered toast and marmalade!”
– Lizzie, Master Distiller
There’s no denying that with notes of bitter orange, Red Door Gin is the perfect base to a dry, citrus Negroni.
Crisp and clean, lemon peel brings uplifting citrus notes to Red Door Gin. Providing zesty balance, citrus is essential to cut through the bittersweet, herbal notes of a gin.
Angelica root is often regarded as the third major botanical in most gins. Its unique flavour acts as a binding agent, creating harmony between the other complex flavours of our botanicals.
But what does it taste like?
Angelica root has a warm, earthy flavour with slightly bitter, herbaceous notes. It provides essential bite and a lingering aftertaste, giving Red Door that lusciously long finish.
Coriander seed is citrusy, nutty and slightly spicy. It delivers zesty spicy notes that are presented towards the end of Red Door Gin.
Sometimes known as ‘sea berries’, sea buckthorn can be found growing wild in Scotland’s coastal fringes.
These tart, tangy berries have crisp, warming citrus flavours. Sea buckthorn’s aromatic flavour adds fresh, fruity top notes to Red Door Gin. With the addition of sea buckthorn, we wanted to capture the invigorating Scottish sea breeze. You can almost taste the salty sea spray!
Pearls of heather
Heather is iconic across the Scottish landscape. When in bloom, heather populates the Scottish hillsides with a haze of bright purple flowers. It’s one of our favourite times of year here at Red Door Gin.
As a botanical, heather’s flavour is subtly perfumed. It imparts deliciously delicate grassy, floral notes to Red Door Gin. Pearls of heather provide a uniquely Scottish twist on the traditional floral undertones from common gin botanicals such as rose petals and chamomile.
If you are able to taste gentle floral flavours from your Red Door G&T, that will be pearls of heather!
Rowan berries can be found in abundance in our local forests. In Scottish folklore, the rowan tree is considered to bring good luck and ward off witches and evil spirits.
Rowan berry’s rich flavour is slightly bitter with subtle chocolatey, smoky overtones. It is one of the key elements to building Red Door’s bittersweet, full bodied flavour profile.
Warning! Don’t let our delicious description of rowanberries tempt you to try them (unless as a botanical in our gin!). They can be poisonous if eaten raw!
Red Door’s Distillation process
Handcrafted Highland gin
Red Door is a handcrafted Highland gin. All our botanicals are prepared and weighed out for distillation by hand. We use just over 6.5kg of botanicals in every batch!
“I really enjoy dealing with the botanicals; we’re very particular about checking every bag, we only buy the best. It’s important for us to be exact with the proportions of the botanicals, it’s a closely guarded secret!”
– Lizzie, Master Distiller
Find out what it’s like to work as one of our dedicated distillers here.
Hopefully this clears up any confusion you may have had about gin botanicals!
You can continue the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where you will find a regular servings of all things Red Door Gin. If you’ve had the chance to try Red Door Gin, we’d love to know which of our botanicals stand out to you!