Botanical: Licorice

Licorice RootLicorice (alternatively spelled liquorice) comes from the root of a perennial plant native to a large swath of Eurasia. It takes nearly three years for a licorice root to be ready for harvesting, requiring several years of growth. It’s popular in its native regions as both a sweetener and component of natural medicine.

It’s particularly of interest in gin, because the root itself is thought to have been widely used as a sweetening agent in early gins, including some Old Tom styles. Licorice has a distinctive flavor, similar to anise or fennel, but with a pronounced additional sweetness. It’s used in gins for both its flavor and for the sweetening effect.

Gins Featuring Licorice

Sacred Gin

I visited Ian Hart’s Sacred Spirits Company headquarters in Highgate, London and interviewed the distiller himself in my most recent Gin:

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St. Laurent Gin

The seaweed in St. Laurent Gin is laminaria longicruris, perhaps better known to sailors of North America as Oarweed. This kind of kelp

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Bulldog Gin

Bulldog Gin may be “English,” but the botanical blend and influence is from a vastly different part of the world:

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