Sometimes I like to push a gin out of its comfort zone a little bit. Caorunn is a good gin but one that I think could have come on a bit stronger given the fantastic set of exotic ingredients it boasts. Can it stand up to a bold tonic and bitters to boot?
I sometimes like a little bit of bitters in gin and tonics. Its an alternative to the lime juice and creates a more palate-cleansing mouth sensation. The Fentiman’s tonic was sweet and all of this flavor dwarfed the flavor of Caorunn. I don’t know if it was the fact that Caorunn is a milder gin that fits in the London Dry style, or if the fact that I paired it with two very bold flavors- but this cocktail just didn’t work.
Next time, I may try a bolder more juniperesque (or more citrusy) gin. I may choose a more bitter tonic (such as Q) or a less bold sweet tonic (such as Fever Tree)
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Caorunn gin captivated me from the first time I heard about. Exotic botanicals are nothing new in modern gin. With Big names like Bombay getting into exotic ingredients designed to invoke a certain region, it shouldn’t be surprising that a gin coming out of Scotland would attempt to do something that invokes a certain vision of the pastoral and idyllic Scottish countryside.
The 5 Unique Botanicals (w/ Wikipedia references for those who are unfamiliar with the Botany of the Northern United Kingdom)
Coul Blush Apple: The UK telegraph reports that native apples are making a comeback, after being obscured beneath the mounds of cheaper imports like Granny Smith. “Makes a good sauce.”
Heather is a short shrub that grows in bogs all across Europe and parts of Asia.
Bog Myrtle is also known as “Sweet Gale” and is a short shrub common in nitrogen poor bogs in North America and Europe. Bog Myrtle was a common component of beer flavoring in Europe prior to the availability of hops.
Rowan Berry is a common wild tree in the UK. Often as small trees with bright orange-reddish berries.
And Dandelion leaf should be familiar to anyone who’s ever had a lawn.
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This week at the Gin is in, I am saluting one of my favorite cocktails: the Negroni. And I begin with one a gin which I think is a bold newcomer on the scene, Scotland’s Caorunn gin. For those of you that haven’t had Caorunn (and without spoiling the forthcoming review) it features five Celtic botanicals among which is Coul Blush Apple. Its a remarkable subtle gin, but an extremely enjoyable one. I really wanted to put it to the test to see how it stood up in one of the boldest gin cocktails around.
Some background on the liquor choices. I chose Vya Vermouth as my brand because it is among my favorites. It has a sweet, acidic tone, with bold peaks of herbal notes. I think it compliments the almost cloying sweetness of the Campari. I chose original Campari because I don’t think any Amari quite brings the same combination of sweet and bitter palate cleansing as the original. It’s an essential ingredient in a Negroni, and although I’ve seen some cocktail bars deviate and use other Amari, Campari is the measuring stick for “what makes a good Negroni.”
How does Caorunn Gin stand up to the flavors of the Negroni?
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