The Beauty of Botanicals

Craft gin makers are the witches and wizards of the alcohol world They are the perfume makers, the alchemists, the magicians, stirring potent brews late into the night, casting spells on our taste buds, doping our senses with the heady smells of flowers and leaves, seeds and bark, fruit and spices. No craft gin maker worth their juniper will reveal their secret recipe, and unsuspecting gin quaffers are often left guessing at a distiller's recipe, which can range from the conventional to the downright unexpected, including the likes of lavender buds, dandelion, chilli, almonds, coriander or violets. While bigger commercial outfits tend to make up a concentrate of botanicals that can be watered down for mass production, much like a tea bag, the traditional process behind small batch gin involves a precise recipe, followed by careful maceration and distillation. And sometimes even years of tasting, smelling and tweaking. The result is a smoother, more sophisticated drink that can (and should) be appreciated on the rocks with just a garnish, as the taste is so pure. According to Amy Stewart, author of the excellent The Drunken Botanist', Every great drink starts with a plant. For Curio Spirits, it was our hand-foraged rock samphire which has become the company's signature plant and one of fifteen different botanicals that make up our Curio Rock Samphire Gin. These include seaweed, juniper, cinnamon and star anise. We wanted to bottle up the taste of Cornwall, the home of Curio Spirits Company, and samphire and seaweed speak of the crashing sea, the rocks and the salty air of our Cornish coastline, while the warmth of the spice and the zing of citrus maintain a magical balance of flavour that makes us light and delicate, as well as slightly savoury. As with most craft gins, we can be drunk neat on the rocks with a few flakes of Cornish sea salt, or with just a splash of tonic and a garnish. If you want to step outside of your comfort zone or just treat your taste buds to a new experience, then our Cocoa Nib Vodka or our Cardamom Vodka have added a much-needed botanical twist to a spiritual classic. The beauty of flavoured vodkas is drinking them neat with ice, or choosing a mixer that matches the flavour. We'll leave the experimentation to you! Since making Curio Spirits, we've come to see gin in a whole different light. As Amy Stewart says, Gin is nothing but an alcohol extraction of all these crazy plants from around the world. Add a splash of magic to the crazy botanicals and you will never see your humble G&T in the same light again.
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