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Gin Botanicals: The Spices That Create The Flavor Profile

Gin is a truly unique spirit. Every bottle and every distiller offers something slightly different. Whatever bottle you open or gin you sample, it will provide a new drinking experience. Gin can be made from dozens of botanical combinations, which allow for thousands of flavor possibilities. No other spirit in the world allows regional distillers to make spirits that perfectly reflect their corner of the world like gin. Understanding these different gin botanicals will help you understand the gin flavor profile, so here is what you can expect from some of the most popular (and even a few uncommon) gin spices.

What Gives Gin Its Flavor?

Many connect gin with a strong, pine taste. While not always the case, most gins do share this particular tasting note. Where does this flavor come from? The juniper berry. Juniper berries are easily sourced around the world and a main ingredient in classic London Dry gins. In recent years distillers have started to experiment with botanical combinations that don’t always include juniper, but when you want that classic, piney taste, the gin will include juniper berry as a main botanical.

What Are Botanicals?

These are simply the ingredients used during distillation that give each gin its flavor. From juniper berries to apples, cinnamon, and everything else in between, botanicals are simply the ingredients that give the spirit its unique taste.

Gin Botanicals List

Ajwain

The ajwain is a small flower that contains oval looking seeds (referred to as fruits). The fruits are a light khaki in color and are extremely small in size, similar in shape to fennel. This botanical offers a tape similar to oregano while giving an aroma nearly identical to thyme.

Almond

The almond nut hails from the Middle East, although it now grows in most regions around the world. However, as a gin botanical there are two almond variations used. The first is the nut commonly sold for eating at grocery stores. The second is slightly bitter. These almonds are used to give liquors like amaretto its taste. Most gins with almonds as a botanical use the snacking, sweeter almond, as the bitter almond variant actually contains cyanide.

Angelica Root

This is one of the most common gin botanicals. It has been cultivated as a crop since the 10th century, and while the plant itself is considered a vegetable it is the root that is used in gin (on occasion Angelica seeds are used). This botanical shares a similar smell and taste to fennel (it hails from the same plant family as fennel). Due to its prominence throughout Europe, it has become a favorite botanical of local gin makers.

Anise

Also referred to as aniseed, this is a large flower that is commonly found around the Mediterranean. It produces a black liquorice flavor while still offering a subtle basil tasting note. However, anise is more expensive to grow than star anise, which produces a near-identical flavor. Due to this, unless a gin brand specifically states it uses anise, chances are the gin is actually using star anise (which is not related and comes from Asia).

Apple

There are dozens of apple variants used. Most distillers who use apple will utilize locally grown produce. Some will use apple to distill the gins from, others will use it as a botanical. Each apple offers a slight change in taste, with some adding acidic elements while others increase the sweetness.

Apricot Kernel

Also known as apricot pits, the use of an apricot pit will add some sweetness to the gin without relying on the full fruit. This way, it offers a subtle sweetness while also drawing woody, earthy tones off of the “kernel” itself. 

Barberry

Barberries are found on nearly every continent (except for Australia and Antarctica). The barberry, which is also known as berberis will have a slightly different taste depending on the source. However, it usually has an earthy, almost peppery taste to it. The berries are small but strong in this peppery, bitter taste. 

Basil

Most basil will offer a sweeter smell and have a stronger taste, similar to anise. However, the exact flavor notes will depend on the kind of basil. Thai basil, for example, has a slightly spicy taste to it with a dab of black licorice. 

Bay Leaf

The bay leaf is often used as an aromatic infusion into the gin. It leaves a bitter taste, especially when fresh bay leaves are used over dry leaves. The aroma it uses is herbal, similar to that of oregano. 

Bee Pollen

This offers a sweet taste to a gin. While there are some honey-like tastes to it, bee pollen is generally more floral in taste and it slightly muted when compared to honey. Naturally, the kind of bee pollen and the kind of flowers used by the bees will impact the overall level of sweetness. 

Bergamot Orange Peel

Used both fresh and dried, the orange peel will offer a sweet, citrus taste to the gin without being as tart or sour as lemon. Bergamot oranges are lighter in color, like a cross between an orange and a lime. A popular ingredient in perfumes, the smaller orange does have a somewhat bitter-sweet taste to it.

Bilberry

While similar to blueberries, bilberry has a stronger, more intense and tart flavor. Like a tart blueberry pie filling. It is acidic in nature that is used in a gin flavor profile to help make the gin fruiter without being as sweet as regular blueberries. 

Birch

Whether birch or birch syrup is used, there is a taste of caramel left in the gin, closer to a molasses mixed with soy and a dab of peppery spice. It is a rather complex botanical that works both as an earthy and as a subtle sweet botanical. 

Bog Myrtle

There are drinks made specifically out of bog myrtle, It gives off a spicy smell while offering a somewhat bitter taste to it. It is most often used to flavor some soups or for teas, although bog myrtle can be found in certain beers as it helps increase foaming. Due to the distillation of the botanical though it will not cause foaming in the gin.

Borage

Borage tastes somewhat like cucumber. If the flower of the borage is used it will give a subtle, honey taste to the gin. It is not uncommon for both the vegetable and the flower to be used in the same gin. 

Caraway

Caraway is another one of the gin spices used for an anise flavor. When using caraway it has a milder taste though, so it is often paired with other botanicals to complement the tastes, and not to be one of the main tastes. When using caraway in gin (it is the seeds that are used), it will offer an earthy, peppery taste, with just a bit of citrus. 

Cardamom

Cardamom is a versicle ingredient, which is why when looking at a gin botanicals list you will often see cardamom included. It has both a minty and herbal taste to it, with some citrus and spice notes. This makes it possible to use the botanical in a number of gin recipes. 

Carline Thistle

There is no stalk on this plant, just leaves that grow from the roots and a flower that may bloom in the center. This is used more as an aromatic botanical than as something to give flavor. It offers an earthy, herbal aroma too it. Any taste derived is mild although it may add a touch of bitterness to the gin.

Cassia Bark

Cassia bark tastes similar to cinnamon, although the taste is milder than actual cinnamon while, at the same time, it offers a stronger aroma. For this reason, it is often called cinnamon bark as well as cassia bark. 

Celery

Celery is mild in taste. Often paired with other refreshing botanicals such as pear and cucumber, it doesn’t leave a lingering, strong taste. It can also be used to cut down on some botanicals that might be too strong. In a way, it will help the gin have a milder taste

Celery Seed

Celery seed gives a concentrated taste of celery. Because it packs more “celery taste” in a smaller package it comes across as stronger, with a grassy-like taste to it. It also is slightly bitter as well. When a gin distiller wants celery taste but finds actual celery is too mild, celery seed is often used. 

Chamomile

When used in the dry form chamomile will offer a subtle apple taste to the gin. It also has some floral hints and a touch of earthiness to it. In general, it is a lighter taste to it, so when gin distillers are looking for a lighter, more subtle apple sweetness they will often turn to chamomile. 

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is both sweet and savory. While it can be used ground in its ground-up form, distillers will typically use the full cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon is derived from the bark of cinnamomum, which is a kind of tree.

Citrus Peel

There are a number of citrus peel variations used in gin. With the sheer number of citrus plants around the world, especially in warmer climates, it is one of the main ingredients of gin distillers. From lemon peel to orange, lime, clementine, and others, there’s no limit to the flavor citrus peel can offer. The peel itself is milder than using the full plant. It will add an essence of the fruit without fully infusing a sweeter taste to it. When a sweeter taste is needed the entire fruit might be added. 

Cloves

This is often thought of as a winter spice due to its usage in seasonal beverages during the winter holidays. It is a strong, pungent taste that offers a warm feeling when consumed. It shares a similar flavor profile as nutmeg, although it does have a sweet, somewhat bitter taste. 

Coriander

Coriander very much is like the plant cilantro. Some will taste the plant and say it has a light, even lemon-lime taste to it. Others who taste it will say it has a soapy taste to it. Cilantro has a similar effect on people. Due to this, gins with coriander may taste completely different to people who taste the refreshing portion of coriander while others might think the gin has an odd, soapy taste to it. 

Coul Blush Apple

Coul blush apples are not heavily used any longer in gin. This is because the fruit itself is actually an endangered fruit. Apples have been cross-bred so many times in order to create new tastes that the coul blush apple has been passed by. The coul blush apple hails from Scotland and offers a sweet, tanging taste. Outside of a handful of Scottish gins, few other gins will likely have this kind of apple. 

Cebub

In its form, cebub looks like pepper. However, it has a slightly different taste to it. Yes, there is a black pepper taste to it, but there are also hints of allspice to it. Basically, it is like a more complex pepper that will help add a subtle kick to the gin. 

Cucumber

Cucumber, when added into gin, will help soften its taste. It gives it a clean, refreshing taste. Cucumber itself has a mild taste to it, similar to a watered-down melon. It also doesn’t have much of an aroma to it. 

Cumin

The cumin seeds are actually part o the parsley family. It is a common ingredient in curry powder and hails from the Mediterranean through pockets of central Asia. It has a nutty, warm flavor to it, although it also has hints of lemon, which is mostly due to the soil it grows it.

Dandelion

While considered a weed in parts of the United States, it has long been used in a number of edible dishes, including soups. When added directly into the distillation process it can have an earthy, yet bitter taste to it. It is an extremely versatile plant that can live through just about any weather without much assistance. This makes it a valuable and inexpensive botanical when looking to obtain an earthy taste. 

Dill

Dill brings with it a vibrant taste palette. It is both sweet with a hint of bitterness. It also offers both a lemon and celery taste to it. Dill seeds are often used in replace of the plant when a muted version of dill is required. However, dill leaves are generally more vibrant and stronger in taste. 

Earl Grey Tea

This is a form of black tea. It has a strong, earthy taste to it. If the tea itself is used in the distillation process it may have just a hint of lemon or grapefruit citrus, as the tea is often flavored with subtle amounts of oil from bergamot oranges.

Elderberry

Elderberries are generally not consumed raw. The berries are too bitter and astringent. However, when brewed down the elderberry has a tangy, tart taste to it. The berry is most commonly used in jams as the added sugar helps balance out the tartness. 

Elderflower

Elderflower doesn’t have the floral, flower taste many might expect (even though yes, it is a flower). Instead, it has a subtle herb taste to it with a clean finish. There are also hints of lychee in the flower as well. 

Etrog

Etrog is a form of citrus and commonly used in Israeli gin. Buddha’s hand is in its family (Buddha’s hand doesn’t have the traditional lemon or orange sphere but instead looks like a twisted hand with fingers). Etrog’s shape is in the middle of this, looking more like a deformed lemon. It has a very thick skin to it, which allows for more oil to be released. It is a muted citrus taste as it is not sour or sweet. It is more used as a soft, subtle citrus botanical when most other citrus options are too strong. 

Eucalyptus

Often used in topical and alternative medicines, eucalyptus has a citrus and menthol taste to it. It does have some bitterness to it and ends with a cool, refreshing taste. 

Fennel

Fennel is another one of the botanicals on the list that does have somewhat of an anise taste to it. However, fennel is a bit lighter with some earth notes. Fennel looks like the cross of celery and onion, although fennel seeds can also be used. Fennel seeds have a stronger earthy taste to it, although there is some sweetness to the seeds. 

Fig

The fig is part of the mulberry family so it does have some similar taste to mulberries. Figs come from both the Mediterranean and Asian regions, although it can be found around the world now. Figs have a sweet, sticky, honey taste to them. Some distillers may use the entire fig, others might mash up the internal flesh. When distilling with the skin it will take on more of the earth tones left on the outside of the fig. 

Frankincense

Generally speaking, frankincense is used as an aromatic and not as something to give gin taste. Frankincense has been used for thousands of years as an ingredient in perfume. So when used as a botanical it typically will not offer any kind of taste. However, it will depart a woody, spicy, and balsamic aroma to it. 

Galangal

This and ginger look similar to one another. However, the taste is different. Galangal has a piney, citrus flavor to it. It is not as spicy as what you’ll find in ginger. 

Ginger

Ginger is especially pungent. It is spicy and seems to build in intensity with the more ginger added. It is not sweet at all, although is an excellent pallet cleanser so it helps with offering a clean finish. 

Goji Berry

The goji berry grows in China, although it can be found in other regions of the world now. It has been used for centuries in ancient Chinese medicine. Also known as the wolfberry, it has a tomato-like taste to it, although it also has a bit of cranberry tartness. The exact taste of the goji berry will depend on which variant is used during distillation.

Gooseberry

The gooseberry very much is a cross between grapes and apples. It is juicy like a grape yet tangy like an apple. The skin adds a different complexity to it as it has a sour, grassy taste to it. Some distillers used the full berry, skin and all, while others remove the skin before distillation.

Grains of Paradise

When looking at what gives gin its flavor grains of paradise is one of the most common botanicals used. It has a woody, peppery taste to it. There is also a bite of pine as well. Grains of paradise is also growing in popularity in the culinary world thanks to its complexity. 

Grapefruit peel

When using the skin of grapefruit during distillation gin will pull the oils left within the grapefruit skin. It will depart some of the tart, bitter, grapefruit taste, but not as much as the fruit itself. With the peel, it aids in the spirit’s taste, while grapefruit will take over the spirit if the flesh of the fruit is used. 

Green Tea

Green tea generally is seen as a bitter, nuttier alternative to black tea. However, there are also elements of floral and even saltiness (like ocean water) in the tea. Green tea often leaves a bitter after taste. 

Hawthorn

A common ingredient used during holiday beverage preparation, it has a tart taste to it (although not as bitter as cranberries). Hawthrown berries have been used in alternative medicine and are known to help reduce heart pressure. 

Heather

This is a small shrub that produces even smaller, bell-flowers. The plant taste, when added as a botanical, is unique, although it is a mixture of floral and earthy herb. The taste itself is generally mild, regardless of the color of the flower used

Hibiscus

This is another botanical used in teas around the world. It has a sweet, fruity taste to it. It is also somewhat astringent. The taste is similar to that of a mild cranberry, with a hint of both sweet and sour. The hibiscus is a kind of flower that usually grows in warmer, subtropical climates. 

Honey

Honey can surprisingly vary in its taste, depending on the source of the nectar. Similar to bee pollen, the sweetness profile will depend on what the bees used to make the honey. It may have a sweet, floral taste to it, while it may also have a woody, earthy taste to it. If honey is used as a botanical it likely will reflect what is grown locally in the region. If it is a Scottish gin it will more likely have an earthier sweetness, while something made in Portugal or South America will probably have a sweeter, lighter taste to it. 

Honeysuckle

This is a rather unique botanical to use in anything consumable. That is because honeysuckle is poisonous to consume raw. During the distillation process, this dangerous element is lost, but generally, it is why most gin distillers do not use honeysuckle. The flower part of the plant is edible though, and when the flower is used it offers a sweet, honey-like taste, that isn’t as pungent or powerful as regular honey.

Horseradish

This is a botanical that will give gin a bit of a kick. Used to spice up dips and create wasabi, horseradish is a directly spicy addition that doesn’t linger. The spicy taste doesn’t burn the tongue though. Instead, it affects the sinuses. The creamy, peppery taste can help add a subtle kick to any gin.

Jasmine

This is usually a form of green tea that has a sweet, floral taste to it. However, it all depends on where the jasmine is sourced. Jasmine is one tea that can change completely based on where it is grown. It also depends on if it is cut with other teas. Often jasmine will be cut with a white, or black tea, to add in the earthy notes of it. 

Juniper

When it comes down to what gin tastes like, it is usually juniper that people connect with gin. It has a sharp, tart, almost piney taste to it. It is also the most used botanical as it was a key ingredient in the original gins and London Dry gins. In fact, the word “gin” is short for jenever in Dutch and genievre in French, both of which translates to juniper.

Kaffir Lime Leaf

The kaffir lime leaf is popular in Southeast Asian cooking as it offers a lemon-lime taste without the need for expensive citrus. The leaf is aromatic, especially when used fresh. It helps heighten other citrus notes that might be used in a gin, or it can stand out on its own, offering a nice, lemon-lime aroma without impacting the level of sweetness found in the gin.

Kawakawa

This is a common botanical used in New Zealand. It is often used in teas and offers a mild pepper taste. Local to New Zealand, the plant (which is in the pepper family) has a minty spice to it, which is unique when compared to other pepper-based plants. 

Lavender

The lavender plant is part of the mint family. It is floral in its aroma with a clean, earthy, and apple-like taste, it is a favorite ingredient used in candles and soaps because it is both clean smelling with a touch of floral and smoke. Often different people will experience varying tastes when drinking something with lavender based on their own palette. 

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is a favorite in the culinary world (especially Southeast Asia). It has a mixture of lemon and mint taste, yet it is very light, so none of the flavors will overpower. It is why it is so popular in not only foods but in gins. It is easy to add in subtle flavors without going over the top. It also brings the taste of lemon without the bitterness that often comes with the citrus plant.

Lime Peel

Lime peel is the entire skin of the lime. This includes both the colorful “zest” and the white portion that peels from the fruit. The entire lime peel will include oils pulled from the fruit and offer the lime citrus notes, plus some earthy elements due to the skin. It won’t be as sweet and sour as it would be if the fruit itself was used. 

Liquorice

Unlike red licorice, which is completely artificially sweetened, liquorice pulls its taste from the licorice root. Sweet ‘n’ Low uses this same sweetener, although the licorice root is not as popular as it once was. The liquorice has a unique, bitter, sweet, and even sour flavor which is different from most other natural ingredients. However, there are a number of liquors that use the licorice root. 

Lovage

Lovage tastes almost identical to celery. The plant itself is different, in that it doesn’t contain the same stalks, but instead, it is mostly dark green leaves. With lovage, it only takes a few leaves to add the celery taste to an entire distillation. Due to this, it is often more cost-effective to use lovage instead of celery.

Mace

Mace is a botanical that offers a taste similar to cinnamon and pepper. It is a stronger taste and often used in sweets such as puddings and cakes. It adds a peppery kick to what would normally be sweet. Some describe it as having a nutmeg-like taste to it, although nutmeg is sweeter and mace has a stronger aroma. 

Mango

When mango is used as a botanical it adds a sweet, somewhat tart taste to the botanical. It has a sweet, buttery fragrance to it. There are a handful of different mango variants used, with some bringing a milder taste that isn’t as sweet or pungent. Some distillers will use mangos before reaching traditionally ripe levels in order to add a tart, sweet taste to the gin.

Manuka Honey

This is a kind of honey found in New Zealand and Australia. It is produced by bees that use the local manuka bush as the pollen source. Depending on the age of the honey it might have a darker, earthy look to it. It will also grow richer in taste as it ages. It has a slightly more bitter taste than traditional honey, giving it a molasses and honey combination taste.

Marigold

When using flowers as a botanical in gin the marigold will have a mild taste when compared to other flowers. It has a soft bitterness that is not overwhelming, and the petals and leaves give a dry, sweet taste. The aroma of the flower is stronger than the taste, with the aroma smelling of something tropical. 

Milk Thistle

Usually, when milk thistle is used as a botanical it is done in an extract form. This is because the seeds from milk thistle do not mix well with water and will give off an oily, bitter taste. Instead, the botanical might use the extract to avoid problems with using the regular plant in the distillation (very little of the flavor will be absorbed if the full plant is used).

Mint

The mint plant offers a peppermint-like taste while leaving a cooling effect after consumption. This gives it an almost peppermint menthol taste to it. Usually, the fresh plant will be used as a gin botanical, as dried mint leaves lose much of the original flavor, not to mention it lacks much of the cooling effect fresh mint delivers.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg will give a nutty, sweet taste. Nutmeg comes from the seed of the myristica tree (which originally comes from the Western Pacific and Asia). In fact, two similar spices come from the same tree. The first is nutmeg, which is derived from the seed itself, and the second is mace, which is made from the seed covering. This is why both nutmeg and mace have similar tastes.

Oats

Oats have a nutty, toasted taste to it. It is different from traditional oatmeal (although it will have a similar taste to steel-cut oats). The taste isn’t especially powerful and there is very little aroma produced by oats. Some gins use oats to ferment and pull the alcohol from (similar to corn or potatoes for vodka). Other distillers will use oats to help add a subtle, toasted taste to the gin.

Oregano

This common spice has a slightly bitter, pungent taste to it. It has subtle minty tastes to it, as well as an almost grass and hay taste. It does have a strong aroma, especially when used as a fresh plant. Dried oregano loses much of its taste and aroma during the drying process.

Orris Root

During the distillation process, orris root will lend a floral note to the gin, yet it also has a faded, almost duty sweet taste to it. It offers a clean, sweet aroma. Depending on the other botanicals it is distilled with it may offer a strong, woody taste. It is often used to enhance the liquorice taste.

Passion Flower

The passionflower is commonly used for medicinal purposes. However, it doesn’t have a strong taste. While often used in herbal teas the taste is mild and earthy. It has a subtle grass taste that is not strong. Due to the mild nature of passion flowers, it is usually paired with other tastes that the grass can accentuate, such as lemon (or lemongrass). 

Pink Peppercorn

The pink peppercorn shares a number of similarities with black pepper. It has a very similar taste profile and will give the familiar peppery spice. However, pink peppercorn comes with a sweet, fruity flavor from the pink coating around it. This allows distillers to add a spicy punch to their gin while also offsetting it with the sweetness coating found on the peppercorn.

Rhubarb

The stalks of rhubarb have a sour, acidic taste to it. If it is cooked prior to distillation it will have a sweeter taste to it and lose some of the acidity. There is a slightly earthy taste to the rhubarb as well. It is a commonly grown vegetable around North America and can be found not only in regionally distilled gins, but in pink gins. 

Rooibos

Often used in teas, rooibos has a subtle sweet and nutty taste to it. The longer it remains in distillation the more full-bodied it becomes. It will add warm notes to the gin without being terribly sweet. The earthy, naturally sweet mixture makes it a favorite botanical to be used. 

Rose Petals

Roses already offer a light, floral aroma to whatever it is added to. It has become a favorite in the culinary world recently because of exactly this. However, it is also a popular gin botanical for the same reason. It will add a floral, earthy taste to the gin, yet it will maintain some of its sweetness as well. There is a very subtle strawberry taste to rose petals. Rose petals may be used both dry and fresh in the distillation process. 

Rosemary

A common household herb, rosemary offers a piney-lemon taste. It also has some peppery elements to it as well. Because rosemary can be grown just about anywhere in the world it is a popular botanical used in gins spanning from the Mediterranean to North America. It adds a subtle burned wood taste to the gin during distillation.

Rowan Berries

The rowan berry is a common British cooking ingredient. It is often served along with game dishes or in some jellies as it helps offset some of the gamy qualities of food. This is because it has a bitter taste that can work well with more savory dishes. Upfront the berry is bitter, although as it opens up it delivers a warmer, softer sweetness. As it distills the bitterness will fade away, leaving more of the sweet touches.

Saffron

Due to the cost of saffron, it is not a widely used botanical. However, when it is used in the distillation of gin it will at a floral aroma to it while also adding a very slight sweetness, similar to honey. However, saffron, in general, has a unique taste it has a nice complexity of sweet without being sour or bitter, yet there is also a mellow presence in it. Because it is such an expensive ingredient most saffron gins will also have a higher price point.

Sage

Sage comes from the Mediterranean, offering a biter, sweet taste. It also delivers a bit of a pine taste crossed with eucalyptus. Sage will be used both in its dry and fresh stages, depending on what the distiller is looking for. Fresh will usually have a stronger aroma and taste that stands out from the other botanicals. 

Santolina

Green Santolina, also known as Santolina Virens, is not generally used as a botanical in gins. This is because it can cause some skin rashes in individuals who already have sensitive skin. When it is used it offers a slight medicinal aroma and taste to it. There are some hints of lavender, and if the leaves are bruised it will open up the aroma, although too much and the smell of Santolina will become especially bitter and pungent. 

Savory

Not to be confused with savory foods, savory is an herb that is similar to rosemary or thyme. The aroma of savory is a cross between oregano and thyme, while the aroma given off by the herb has elements of marjoram and thyme. It is a unique herb that delivers the best of several other spices. It grows in the Mediterranean, which some local distillers do use it for their gin.

Shiso Leaf

The shiso leaf delivers a vibrant, grassy taste to gins. When used in its raw form it will add a spearmint, cinnamon taste with hints of anise and even basil. The plant is common in Korean dishes, so when shiso leaf is used in a gin it will likely hail from Korea or Southeastern China.

Thamarind

The thamarind spice comes from a sticky pulp found within the bean-pods of the tamarind tree. The pulp will give off a sweet, fruity taste and matching aroma. However, the tastes are mild and it is used in a number of food dishes because it blends with just about any spice profile. This means if it is used with a spicy profile it will enhance the spice, or if it is used in a sweet dish it will take on the sweet dish. It is a common ingredient used in Asian foods such as Kung Pao chicken and sweet and sour chicken.

Thyme

Thyme is used when a distiller wants to add a subtle, earthy mint taste to a gin without altering the aromatic presence. This is because thyme has next to no aroma profile. Thyme will also have a slight sweetness to it when included in gin.

Timur Pepper

This pepper is different from most other peppers. It doesn’t have the spicy kick of most peppers. Instead, Timur pepper offers a subtle lemon taste. When consumed raw it may also give off a slight tingly feeling, due to the hydroxy alpha sanshool that is found in the pepper. This tingly feeling does not carry through the distillation process, but it does offer a slight lemon taste. 

Turmeric

When considering what are botanicals and looking at gin labels, Turmeric is one that often pops up. This is because it is bitter, and yet has subtle hints of ginger and orange. This makes it possible to make a gin that blends the bitterness of junipers with Turmeric while still introducing hints of citrus. It is one of the oldest spices used in the world, dating back to 600 BC. 

Vanilla 

The vanilla bean provides a sweet, yet somewhat smokey taste. It does depend on the kind of vanilla used. It originally comes from Mexico, where even then it was used as a way to enhance chocolate beverages by the Aztecs. Now vanilla beans are grown everywhere and the plant does take some taste from the soil it grows from. Vanilla is an expensive botanical, so some may use a vanilla extract, or artificial vanilla, which doesn’t have as much of the woody, smoky flavor and instead is sweeter.

Violet Root

The violet root gives a floral, sweet taste to the gin. It is often a taste that is combined with deeper, earthy tastes, such as chocolate or coffee. Violet root is usually used to enhance and pair with other tastes. Violet root, when consumed on its own, will cause nausea, so it is used in small amounts (typically) and then distilled. 

Find Your Own Gin Experience

There are countless gin drinking opportunities to discover out there. Each botanical will influence the way the gin tastes and how you experience it. Search for a new favorite gin by the botanical included by clicking here.

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