Dry Gin Botanicals
"The wonderful arrays of botanicals found in gin are what creates its personality, transforming plain vodka into an exciting explosion of flavours to tantalise your taste buds."
Juniper is required as the major flavouring to legally call the spirit gin. In addition, gins can contain a variety of additional botanicals to allow a wide spectrum of flavours to be produced. Anno have selected a blend of botanicals which include some of the more traditional gin flavours in combination with some less commonly used botanicals which are sourced in Kent.
Many producers choose to keep their choice of botanicals as a house secret. However, we are so proud of our gin and the botanicals it contains, that we are going to let you in on our little secret. As we describe below, each botanical adds its own distinctive essence to the overall taste of Anno Kent Dry Gin.
Traditional Gin Botanicals
These bluish purple berries are the basis and therefore the signature of all gins, and the prominent flavour in traditional gins. Although it has a berry-like appearance due to its fleshy skin, the juniper berry is not actually a true berry but a female seed cone from a conifer. Juniper berries have a strong and assertive pine flavour; although the flavour is mostly woody it can have some slightly citrus and floral tones to it.
Coriander is the second most common ingredient in gin. Although all parts of the plant are edible; the fruit or dry coriander seeds only a few millimetres in size are the part we use as a spice to flavour Anno gin. When distilled the seeds have a warm, spicy, nutty flavour that can also combine citrus and orange notes.
The orris root is the rhizome (mass of roots) of the iris flower. Once important in herbal medicine, orris root is more commonly used in the manufacture of perfumes for its scent which is reminiscent of violets. It has a heavy flowery and woody flavour that helps bind the other components in the gin together.
Angelica, also known as Holy Ghost or Wild Celery, grows in many countries of the Northern Hemisphere and is often found near rivers and lakes in damp soil. Cultivated in the 10th century as a medicinal plant, angelica’s sweetly scented edible roots add a nicely balanced earthy and floral combination to our Kent Dry Gin.
Considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs in Chinese medicine Cassia is often used as an alternative to cinnamon, which is in the same family and genus. This often leads to confusion between the two botanicals in both taste and texture. Cassia bark adds a strong cinnamon style flavour with an extra peppery punch.
Although thought similar in taste to star anise and fennel, the liquorice plant is unrelated as it is actually a legume associated to the family of beans and peas. The name liquorice was derived from the Greek word meaning sweet root, descriptive of its long lasting, mellow, sweet, woody flavour.
Cubebs or tailed peppers are the berry looking fruits of the piper plant, which are collected before they are ripe and then dried. They are highly flavoursome, giving a persistent bitterness and often are compared to the tastes of pepper and allspice.
Floral and Kentish Botanicals
We use a specially selected blend of different aromatic Kentish hops. Kent has been famous for growing hops for English beer for centuries and the iconic Oast House where the hops are dried has frequently been used as a Kentish symbol. Kent remained the largest producer of hops in England until as recently as 2003. Unlike the bitterness imparted in beer production, aromatic hops when distilled for our gin have a pleasant, sweet flavour, which lingers in your mouth.
Anno use a unique and exceptional combination of handpicked lavenders from the beautiful purple fields of the Downderry Nursery in the Kentish countryside. Lavender varieties were selected for their exquisite floral notes that create a heavenly smooth and creamy feeling in the mouth as well as a fantastic aroma.
The elderflower is from the flowering elderberry plant (Sambucas) and, though often thought of as quintessentially English, is wide spread in the Northern Hemisphere. It is used in cooking and to produce soft drinks such as elderflower cordial, as well as being added to alcoholic drinks such as Sambuca. Elderflower adds delicately sweet floral notes to our gin.
Rose hips are the fruit of the rose plant and form after successful pollination of the flowers. They have many uses in food, for ornamental value and in medicines due to their high vitamin C content. They have a delightfully light, sweet flavour.
Camomile has many common uses including in herbal tea to aid sleep, as an anti-inflammatory in cosmetics and to aid the enhancement of blonde hair. It has a mild, clean, floral flavour with subtle fruity hints.
Samphire is an edible plant that has grown in the coastal regions of Kent for centuries. An area of Kent reclaimed from the sea has been named Samphire Hoe after the plant and Shakespeare cliff in Dover is thought to have been named due to the mention of samphire collection in the play King Lear “Half-way down Hangs one that gathers samphire; dreadful trade!” (Act IV, Scene VI). Samphire has a salty taste, as you might expect from a plant grown in salt marshes, although once distilled it has a rather pleasant sweetness about it with fresh grassy notes.
Our Citrus Spectrum
Most people are familiar with the bright yellow fruit that grows on evergreen trees native to Asia. It has a distinctive sour taste and in gin provides extra delicate citrus notes and helps to add a zingy attitude to the other botanicals.
Bitter oranges, also known Seville oranges, are used in the production of marmalade as well as in herbal medicines and as appetite suppressants. Bitter oranges have an amazingly distinctive combination of sweet, sour and bitter flavour that a normal orange lacks and they blend in astonishingly well with the other citrus notes.
Native to South East Asia, kaffir lime leaves are utilised as an Indonesian insecticidal medicine and are also frequently used in Thai cuisine to add a zesty, aromatic yet astringent flavour. The Kaffir lime leaves mix well with the lemon and bitter orange to give an all round full bodied fruity citrusy flavour.