Gin botanicals and flavoring – an inspiration
London Dry Gin itself was the inspiration for this refreshing cocktail.
The juniper berry is the principal flavoring agent in gins. In fact the spirit’s name itself is derived from it – genièvre in French and genever (or jenever) in Dutch both mean juniper. But many distilleries use additional botanicals to make their gins distinct. Indeed, for some distilleries, the choice of botanicals has become a trademark. Hendrick’s, for example, distills their gin with cucumber and rose petals, while Bombay Sapphire uses lemon peel and licorice. Both companies are now famed for their signature spirits.
In fact, the list of botanicals used in gin distillation is surprisingly long: fennel seeds, coriander seeds, cinnamon, orange peel, grapefruit peel, lemon peel, angelica, ginger, cassia, saffron, lemon myrtle, cardamom, aniseed…even almonds are used to give gin its unique flavor.
Cilantro takes the spotlight in this refreshing cocktail
On that long list, coriander is the herb that caught my eye. If coriander seeds are used in gin, why not flavor a gin & tonic with the leaves? (By the way, the coriander plant in the US is known as cilantro.)
Here fresh cilantro leaves are placed in a shaker along with grapefruit juice, lime juice, gin and bitters. During the shaking process, the ice cubes crush the tender leaves and allow them to release their aromas into the mixture. The result is a refreshing and superbly aromatic gin & tonic, so enticing that you’ll undoubtedly want a second round!
Grapefruit gin & tonic with cilantro
active time: 10 min
- 3 oz (90 ml) London Dry Gin
- 3 oz (90 ml) grapefruit juice
- 1/2 oz (15 ml) lime juice
- 2 dashes grapefruit or lemon bitters
- 3 sprigs cilantro – tough stems removed
- 6 oz (175 ml) tonic water
- 2 sprigs cilantro as garnish
- Fill a shaker two thirds of the way with large ice cubes. Add the gin, grapefruit juice, lime juice, bitters and cilantro. Shake until the outside of the shaker becomes frosted. Strain into two old-fashioned glasses filled with several ice cubes. Top with the tonic water and give the drinks a quick stir. Garnish each glass with a cilantro sprig and serve.