No Gin Without Botanicals
In the production of gin, the herbs and spices that are used – the so-called “botanicals” (also known as herbal extracts) – play an essential role, as it is these that give gin its unique character. Even the smallest adjustments to the recipe can have a major impact on the taste of the distillate. Typical for a classic gin is the most important botanical, the juniper berry.
However, barks, roots, seeds, grains, herbs and fruit are also used in the maceration (extraction process). There is no real limit to the amount of possible combinations. The list of herbs is endless: sage, orange blossom, clove, nettle, and numerous other herbs can be used. When it comes to fruit, besides citrus fruits and berries, exotic fruits such as physalis, kumquats or mango are also conceivable. The group of seeds and grains is also characterized by it’s diversity. Aniseed, fennel, nutmeg, vanilla or malt are only some of the seeds and grains that can be macerated in the production of gin. Finally, the group of roots and barks includes, for example, turmeric, ginger, angelica root, sandalwood or cinnamon
No THE DUKE Gin without more Botanicals
THE DUKE – Munich Dry Gin would not be the duke of all gins if it did not have an array of deliciously complex aromas beyond the juniper berry. This arises from the combination of 12 other botanicals. 13 hand-picked botanicals from purely organic cultivation are what make up this powerful gin.
The production process at THE DUKE Gis is based on the classic way to produce gin, starting with the maceration and subsequent double distillation. The botanicals are first prepared in an alcohol-water mixture and macerated overnight. During this process, the spices are carried by the fine aromas of wheat ethanol, which do not push themselves to the foreground. During distillation it is particularly important to preserve the complex aromas of the botanicals. This is ensured by slowly and gently transferring them from the copper still to the cooler. Afterwards two filtrations ensure the purity and softness of the distillate. Finally, a second distillation is carried out, which makes the distillate finer and rounder.
Juniper Berry – The Soul of the Gin
The juniper berry is not only the most important botanical of gin, but also by definition the ingredient that must be contained in a distillatefor it to be considered gin. Juniper belongs to the family of the evergreen cypress. There are about 50 to 70 different species. Only the common juniper and the sade tree can be found in Central Europe. The wood has a narrow sapwood, a reddish-brown core and often has an aromatic scent. The leaves are generally short and lie close to the branches. The either egg-shaped or spherical cones, popularly called “berries”, need one to two years to ripen. In this time they remain closed and turn blueish. The juniper berry is characterised by a sweet but spicy, slightly resinous-bitter taste and has a very strong smell.
Coriander seeds- The Sidekick
Coriander is classified as a medicinal spice plant and belongs to the family of the umbelliferous plants. It is also known as cilantro, Asian/Arabic parsley or vertiginous herb. Coriander is familiar to many as part of the herbal world. The fresh branches develop a fragrance reminiscent of lemon grass and musk. They are often used to season, refine or garnish hot and cold dishes. But the small, hard and spherical seeds are also often used as a spice. They contain up to two thirds of the valuable essential oils contained in the plant and can be used in many different ways. The extraordinary and intensive aroma is also very popular in the production of gin.
Lemonzest – The Citrus note
The evergreen lemon trees produce oblong oval fruits with yellow or green-yellow peel. The juicy, acidic flesh contains around 3.5 to 8 % citric acid and plenty of vitamin C. Lemon slices are often used as a garnish for cocktails. Numerous oil glands are in the peel, giving it an aromatic fragrance. Thus the essential oils also give THE DUKE Gin a fresh fruity note. The lemons we use are peeled by hand by our distillers before the peel is macerated.
Lavenderblossoms – The Floral note
The plant genus Lavendula also includes the plant species Lavandula angustifolia, which is called true lavender in German. This is the very plant that is almost always meant when it comes to lavender. The typical colour of the flowers also gives the name to the corresponding shade of colour, which is close to violet. Despite its love of warmth, it thrives well in Germany and its neighbouring countries. The lavender is a gray-felted, hairy and aromatic shrub. The inflorescences are spike-like and somewhat reminiscent of cereals. The calyx of the flower is grey-violet, short fluffy and egg-shaped-tube-like. The violet corolla is slightly double-lipped. The flowering period is from June to August. Lavender is a plant that is often used in medicine and perfumery. The floral, sweetish to tart lavender scent may be intense and distinctive in itself, but it gives the juniper distillate a pleasantly light floral note.
Ginger root – Hot spice
The ginger plant is a herb visually reminiscent of reeds, with an average growth height of 0.5 to 1.5 metres and long leaves and thick stems. The root grows bulbous with several branches, both elongated and thick. The inside of the ginger tuber is light yellowish in colour, fibrous and juicy. The tuber is surrounded by a thin, brownish skin. The typical strong aroma of the ginger tuber and its pungent, spicy taste are subliminally noticeable in gin.
Cubeb pepper – Warming spice
This pepper plant is a climbing plant whose pointed, elongated leaves are smooth. Similar to cereals, the flowers grow on ears and are delicately white in colour. They form the rough, brownish fruits associated with peppercorns. These have a sweet rather than a pungent taste. Each tiny berry has a short, small stalk that looks like a tail and inspired the alternative name “tail-pepper”. Cubeb pepper appears warmly spicy and piquant, but not too hot or tart. It is also considered aromatic and long-lasting.
Angelica root – The angel among the botanicals
The angelica root, also known as angelic root, belongs to the umbelliferous plants and can grow up to two metres high. It has a beet-like, reddish-brown root with yellow lactiferous sap and sprouts a hollow, grooved stem. The large leaves are light green, the greenish flowers are arranged in 20 to 40 ray double umbels. Angelica root contains mainly essential oil – it consists of 80 to 90 percent terpenes. It exudes an aromatic, strongly spicy smell and an initially aromatic, then pungent and bitter taste.
Orange blossoms – bewitching scent
Oranges are the fruit of the orange tree, which is evergreen and is a cross between the grapefruit and the tangerine. It reaches a height of up to 10 metres. Its young branches are covered with thorns. Orange trees have fragrant, white flowers, whereby the flowering period in Europe lasts from February to June. From the orange blossoms the round, up to fist-sized fruits with the characteristically coloured skin develop. The scent of orange blossom is a wonderful combination of fresh citrus aromas and a mild, heavy honey-like scent.
Cinnamon bark – Warming effect
The cinnamon tree is an evergreen tree with dense foliage and can reach a height of up to 10 metres. The large leaves are undivided, oval-shaped, pointed and have arching main veins. When the leaves are crushed, they exude a fragrance reminiscent of cloves. The tree also bears inconspicuous flowers arranged in loose panicles, which grow to about 1.5 cm in size, and egg-shaped, dark purple fruits. The bark is obtained either from the two to three centimetre long branches of approximately 6-year-old trees or from the approximately two-year-old root suckers of older trees. Cinnamon spreads a very characteristic, pleasantly aromatic smell. The taste is slightly sweet and tangy-spicy at the same time.
Caraway – Beneficial properties
The evergreen, biennial herbaceous plant with beet-like roots grows 30 to 80 centimetres high, and under favourable conditions even up to 120 centimetres. Seed ripening is from about June to August. The small, hairless split fruit of the caraway is oval and breaks up into two individual fruits. These individual fruits, slightly sickle-shaped and pointed at both ends, are dark brown on the outside and light brown on the inside. They are said to have beneficial properties such as antiseptic, pain-relieving, antibacterial, digestive, antispasmodic and calming. When grinding the single fruits, which are popularly called “caraway seeds”, a charismatic scent is released. Caraway seeds have a sweetish fruity smell and a spicy-hot taste.
Hops & Malt – The Bavarian impact
Hops are a plant of the hemp family. All hop varieties are found in the northern hemisphere, although the best known representative of the genus is the true hop, as it is used for brewing beer. The annual to perennial herbaceous climbers have serrated leaves and green-yellow cones (also called flowers). Hops have a bitter, slightly resinous taste, with a fruity, floral note you can taste in the distillate itself.
Malt describes grain that has been germinated and dried by malting. Special types of grain are usually used for production, for example so-called malting barley or brewing wheat. The cleaned grain is soaked in water and brought to germination, which increases the water content to about 40%. After the seedlings have grown for five to seven days, germination is ended by gently drying and removing the out-grown seedlings. The malt can then be stored. It is the ground for further processing.
THE DUKE Wanderlust Gin
THE DUKE Wanderlust Gin reflects both our wanderlust and love of home. In addition to the classic botanicals juniper and coriander, the distillate is given a hint of honey aroma by the fine blossoms edelweiss, cornflower, poppy, arnica flower and rose blossom and a clearly perceptible fruity note by the raspberry. The cocoa bean gives the distillate a full-bodied aroma, while hops and malt give the gin a genuine Bavarian touch.
THE DUKE Rough Gin – The “Total Reduction”
In the daily handling of a multitude of herbs and spices, the appreciation of each individual botanical grows continuously. So it is not surprising that one day, while shredding the juniper berries, the idea was born to create a gin that above all honours its defining juniper note.
THE DUKE Rough Gin contains only five natural ingredients, allowing the strong juniper to show its full flavour. The juniper berries are delivered to us in a semi-dry condition. If they were to be dried completely, essential aromas would be lost. Instead the gentle semi-drying process results in a pleasant sweetness. A little coriander appears as a supporting actor and the orange peel, which has already proved to be an excellent garnish for the DUKE & Tonic, provides a wonderful freshness. Our two Bavarian classics hop blossom and malt round off the Rough gin in the usual mild way. The hops come from the “Hallertau” cultural landscape in the centre of Bavaria, which is the largest continuous hop-growing area in the world. We obtain the malt from Bamberg in Upper Franconia.