Knickerbocker Lemon Basil Gin was a limited release in the 2022 season from New Holland Spirits’ makers of Knickerbocker Gin. Unsurprisingly, as the name suggests, this seasonal variation adds lemon and basil to their original botanical bill.
Color: Perfectly clear
Aroma: Lots of lemon, with some nutty clove, terpey pine-forward juniper and angelica— it’s true to its name. Basil isn’t immediately recognizable, though there is a savory greenness that lends it color.
Flavor: Early, bright lemon and orange. Mid-palate there’s an herbal, slightly green heart. It’s quite bright with hints of tarragon, oregano and Thai Basil. A slight camphor note hovers around as some of Knickerbocker’s signature spice-forward heart takes over.
Lots of ginger is present— almost the the point of being able to feel like there’s going to be a piquant fresh ginger heat. It’s rounded out with hazy clove, a hint of grated nutmeg and peppery notes.
Finish: Clean and warm, with the cool herbal presence of basil maybe most prominent— ginger, basil and other mentholic herbs play with a cool juniper low note.
Cocktails and suggested serves
I found Knickerbocker Lemon Basil Gin to be an ideal pairing with tonic water. In a gin and tonic with Owen’s American Tonic, bright lemon and juniper come through, but those herbal notes really come to the fore. Green and cooling without any mint, it’s summery and an ideal complement to an herb forward dinner like fish or chicken (okay, I’ll admit that suggestion came from the back of the bottle, and I’m repeating it because it’s a good one).
Beyond that, I highly recommend in a Last Word. Its aroma profile is so neatly elevated by the way it combines with the flavors in Green Chartreuse, that it combines to be an even more herbal version of itself. It’s nicely complemented by the sweetness of cherry that the cocktail adds.
Bartenders will find this gin a versatile mixer behind the bar. Smooth enough and complex enough to work well in a Dry Martini, the herbal notes pair well with olives in a Dirty or vegetables in a Gibson, while the lemon aspect is highlighted when garnished with a twist. Honestly, if marketed as a Martini gin on its own, it might be one of the most versatile flavored gins available.
Overall, Knickerbocker Lemon Basil Gin
Herbal, citrusy, summery with the signature spice of Knickerbocker Gin coming through? And with juniper? Knickerbocker Lemon Basil Gin walks a narrow line of balancing four different flavor profiles, and does a good job of it.
While I could see some fans of more traditional gins wanting more juniper here and a bit less of the herbal/citrus/spice; overall, I have to commend them for their balance and versatility. This was a limited edition gin that I think could have year-round appeal.
Recommended in its category.