In just over a decade, gin has gone from being a spirit made by a select few distillers to a worldwide phenomenon that comes in every flavour, infusion and mixture imaginable.
As a result, many brands have decided to think outside of the box when it comes to creating new gins.
According to The Drinks Business, botanicals such as tea, herbs, ginger and horseradish have been used in gin, and for the most part, consumers are willing to try them.
We have also had gins that are inspired by perfumes, gin inspired by wine, and gin that has gone to the moon.
In the quest for innovation, however, some gins have surfaced that should never have been made. What follows is a list of some of the weirdest ingredients to be infused into gin, starting with…
I don’t know about you, but unless the recipe calls for it, I like to keep my food and my gin separate.
London’s Portobello Road Gin has released its fair share of quirky limited-edition gins over the years. Last year, as part of its Director’s Cut range – a project launched every year to mark the brand’s birthday and that of it’s founder Ged Feltham – it launched what it claims is the world’s first ‘pechuga’ gin, an expression distilled with an organic turkey breast.
I can’t even begin to imagine what that must taste like, and if I’m lucky, I’ll never find out.
The Holy Spirit..?
While this gin is made, for the most part, in a conventional way, it also claims to have one extraordinary and rather holy ingredient.
Cathedra is Britain’s first ever cathedral-brand gin and was created to bolster the Church of England’s fundraising efforts.
I guess if you’re going to be filled with a holy spirit, it might as well be this one.
Harley-Davidson Engine Parts
This gin takes the term “petrolhead” to a whole new level. It also comes with an eye-watering price tag of €1 000 (R16 000) a bottle.
Uwe Ehinger of workshop Ehinger Kraftrad – which manufacturers custom-made motorbikes – earned the nickname “The Archaeologist” due to his passion for scouring the planet for antique motorbikes and parts and using them to create his own models.
He subsequently created The Archaeologist – a €1,000 gin made by steeping the spirit with engine parts salvaged from an old Harley Davidson motorbike.
No thanks. Again, I like to keep my gin and engine parts separate. It’s a personal preference, really.
Products Used In The Embalming Process
That Boutique-y Gin Company’s range of gins is routinely bizarre. This is the company that sent a bottle of gin to the moon because they’re ‘out there’, and then there’s this whole embalming angle:
One of its recent releases included Dead King Gin, which combines the scent of freshly unwrapped Egyptian mummies and gin, featuring botanicals traditionally used in the embalming process including rosemary, honey, moss and myrrh.
Sure. If a side of death with your gin is your thing, then you do you.
Which brings us to possibly the weirdest ingredient on the list:
Believe it or not, more than one distiller has used ants in gin. This particular monstrosity by the Cambridge Distillery contains the essence of around 62 redwood ants foraged in Kent.
‘Essence of ant’. Let that sink in.
Look, if you want to spend R16 000 on a bottle of booze with an exhaust pipe in it, be my guest.
Personally, I like to enjoy my gin, and if it’s going to be infused with something it had better be something delicious.
Take for example the Cape Town Rooibos Red Gin, infused with organic, handpicked rooibos to extract the essence of this remarkable plant, indigenous to the Cederberg region of the Western Cape.
Juniper, orange peel and cinnamon flavours combine harmoniously with the earthy, slightly sweet and nutty flavour of rooibos. The result is a unique and truly South African gin, vibrantly red in colour with the distinctive taste of rooibos.
Or there’s the famous Cape Town Pink Lady Gin, made with the purest neutral spirit, and then infused with rose petals, hibiscus flowers and a heavenly hint of rosewater.
You end up with a delicious gin with fresh floral aromas and a slightly sweeter aftertaste, that sells like hotcakes on Takealot each and every month.
For the old school ‘keep it simple’ types out there, you could just enjoy the perfectly-crafted Cape Town Classic Gin with your choice of tonic.
No ants, no engines, just amazing gin that is uniquely South African, and makes the most of the flavours and favourites from this neck of the woods.
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