There was a time when everyone around us was loving tequila. It was the martini and the disingenuously feminine drink the cosmopolitan. This was followed by the present-day #lovescotch era, where everyone has taken to the wide spectrum of malts and whiskeys.
A recent food tasting at the POH at Kamala Mills came to be a pleasure when it was accompanied by some really unique cocktail blends of a classic British Barley scotch – the Bruichladdich Classic Laddie along with a relatively new cocktail surprise – The Botanist Gin. Cailin Hill was here at the launch of The Botanist and Bruichladdich in India.She is a popular South African mixologist who loves to play with cocktail infusions full of wild herb flavors.
We were served concoctions of both the classic laddie and the Botanist gin; however, the gin caught my attention a little more. It was slightly grainy on the palate and felt like a drink that would uniformly adopt almost any flavor. While its subtle notes got me the right amount of high, it went well as an accompaniment to this kind of weather.
Caitlin is an enthusiastic forager of wild spices and loves to blend them with her drinks, especially gin. Growing up in South Africa, she developed a liking for two specials – peppermint and wormwood.
Caitlin describes the locally found Peppermint Pelargonium as a leaf with an infectious smell and fuzzy leaves. Cool in texture, peppermint serves as a perfect garnish to your gin and tonic. Another one of Caitlin’s favorite – the African Wormwood is a very different spectrum of flavor. Also known as Tunisia, it is quite aromatic and the wormwood syrup – give a wild, forage-ish element to the drink. For the classic whiskey lovers, Caitlin suggests roast plums. “I pick up a lot of plum with classic laddie. It is a roasted plum syrup. Whisk it all up and you have a perfectly smooth whiskey cocktail”, says Caitlin. Chef Vikram’s contemporary interpretations of the oriental Asian cuisine at POH along with an exquisite play of palate tinglers added perfectly to the Scottish isle experience.
For those interested in knowing more about the drink, there is good news. India is one of the first few countries in the world where The Botanist is being imported. At present, it is being imported by Sula vineyards and is easily available in all major Sula stores. Caitlin also conducted a brief session with a group of bartenders from Mumbai, where she shared some of the many pearls from her foraging and cocktail blending experience.
Times are changing and this time the most subtle of all drinks has taken over. With India’s wide collection of historic herbs and spices, there is a high chance that we become the original trendsetters in the gin cocktail space. This shift in trend is happening, and it is up to us if we want to be one of the first movers in this super cool trend.
If you wish yes to the trend, go find #BetheBotanist campaign and get your bottle of Botanist gin today! Forage for your own herbs, maybe even a completely different style, maybe spice it up with peppers! Whatever you do, remember to share your amazing recipes and experiences!