Mix ‘Em Up: The Botanist Gin

I am by no means an expert of alcohol, spirits, wines or even beer and was thus quite unsure about how to take on the challenge of reviewing The Botanist gin. The bottle itself is an imposing force, so beautiful and carefully designed and crafted, you almost feel scared to pop the cork — yes there is actually a rubber cork (thats how I generally classify alcohol to be the good stuff). It was more than a week that The Botanist was looming unopened on the dining room table before I had the courage to take it on, and honestly now after I have explored its delicate tastes, I dont think I can ever turn to any other alcohol again.

Distilled and hand crafted, The Botanist is an artisanal gin distilled at the Bruichladdich Distillery on the wild Hebridean island of Islay in Scotland (many of you will know the area for its famous whiskeys). What makes this spirit special? It has been infused and distilled with 22 of the islands aromatic herbs and flowers foraged by hand, dried and prepared. Instead of a sharp, chemical-like taste gin is often known for, The Botanist holds soft floral notes and is extremely light on the palate. Even for me who hates the taste of spirits on their own, The Botanist is actually quite delicious lying on its own with a bed of ice with a squeeze of lemon.

Since gin on its own (even a tasty one as The Forager) isnt quite everyones drink of choice, Ive tried out a number of cocktail recipes concocted and developed by some of South Africas top bartenders and drink masters. Mix em up and be ready for a tantalising treat!The Botanist Gin Cocktail

The Botanist Gin Club

This beauty is a homage to long hot summer days swooping in to be the saviour with the lightest and freshest tastes.  The Botanist Club cocktail is magical in that you cannot quite put your finger on what exactly it tastes like.

The elderflower cordial with the fresh lemon adds a slightly sweet note, with the grapefruit looming like a mystical taste in the background being infused with the gin and then also used fresh. The gin itself is so subtly masked with the grapefruit, shaped to such gentle curves itll change the way you see gin forever.  Think you don’t have what it takes to make this simple, sophisticated summer sipper? Here’s all you need to do!

Ingredients

  • 50ml Grapefruit infused The Botanist gin
  • 25ml Green elderflower cordial
  • 12ml Fresh grapefruit juice
  • 25ml Fresh lemon juice

Method

Shake all ingredients. Strain into glass over ice.

Glass: Tumbler

Ice: Cubed

Garnish: Grapefruit wedgeThe Botanist Gin Cocktail

Botanical Garden

This is one will give you the more traditional tastes you expect with a gin cocktail. Freshness is key with the Botanical Garden. Personally, Im not too sure what Pélargonium leaves are, but substituted with mint it is equally divine. Top tip: you can make your own sugar syrup by boiling equal amounts sugar and water. No fancy stuff needed!

Ingredients

  • 50ml The Botanist gin
  • 25ml Lime juice
  • 15ml Simple sugar syrup
  • Handful of Pélargonium leaves

Method

Shake all ingredients. Fine strain into glass.

Glass: Coupé

Garnish: Peppermint Pélargonium leaf

Notes: Substitute Peppermint Pélargonium with mintBotanist Gin Cocktail

The Forager

A fun and slightly more adventurous alternative to the Botanical Garden, this recipe is my personal favourite. After attempting to grow my own basil garden for years to balance out my use of the herb in almost everything I cook, my love and respect for this plant is beyond measure.

The sweet yet zingy herbiness of the basil marries perfectly with the herby gin and paired with a zing of lime ends up being something similar to a margarita, but ten times more flavoursome. Sounds almost irresistible, doesn’t it?  Be sure to shake with torn basil leaves and dont be afraid to garnish with a heavy hand of basil either.

Ingredients

  • 50ml The Botanist gin
  • 15ml Sugar syrup
  • 30ml Fresh lime juice
  • Handful basil

Method

Shake all ingredients. Strain into glass over ice.

Glass: Tumbler

Ice: Cubed

Garnish: Basil leaf

The Botanist Gin Carla's Creation

Carla’s Creation

Testing out various gin recipes, you pretty quickly get into the spirit of channeling Tom Cruise in Cocktail. Seriously, the one moment you dont know about elderflower, the next you can talk in depth about its various liquid forms and uses. Fun fact, did you know elderflower is used to make medicine for sinus, flu AND diabetes? Anyway, making cocktails is easily the best after-work past time Ive discovered since yoga. So here is my take on the humble gin and tonic.

Ingredients

  • 50ml The Botanist gin
  • 25 ml Fresh orange juice
  • 25ml Elderflower syrup
  • 25ml Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh mint
  • Tonic water

Method

Shake all the ingredients together except for the tonic water. Pour over ice and pour tonic water. Finish with crushed mint,

Where to buy The Botanist Gin? 

You can buy The Botanist gin online or at all leading liquor stores.

Be sure to follow The Botanist gin on Instagram for some more amazing cocktail combinations and amazing scenes from its origins in Islay.

Thanks Remy Cointreau and The Friday Street Club for supporting our monthly mix ’em up cocktail feature. All editorial written and selected by More Than Food and its contributors.