St. George Spirits is a craft distillery located in Alameda, California, which was started in 1982 by Jörg Rupf as an eau-de-vie distillery. Lots of things have happened since then, and just one year before their 30th anniversary in 2012, they released a series of gins – Botanivore, Terroir and Dry Rye. However, it wasn’t until recently they were launched in Sweden, courtesy of small company Aros Import.
Botanivore Gin contains 19 botanicals: juniper berries, cinnamon, citra hops, angelica root, cilantro, lime peel, coriander, dill seeds, bay laurel, fennel seeds, black pepper, bergamot peel, lemon peel, caraway, cardamom, Seville orange peel, orris root, ginger and star anise, and according to St. George Spirits it plays well in any gin cocktail and is “all you need for the perfect Martini”. Let’s see about that…
Nose: very floral, the juniper is there but somewhat subdued. Instead, there’s loads of cardamom, fennel and anise with a nice peppery finish. Mouth: Slightly bittersweet and very herbacious, with fresh bursts of pine and citrus up front, and a well balanced, somewhat peppery herbal complexity from which cardamom, coriander and black pepper stands out before the elegant, lingering finish.
The juniper was somewhat subtle so I’m not sure if it should be the first choice for cocktails that specifically call for London Dry gin, but I decided to try Botanivore Gin in three classic cocktails. First a Dry Martini (50 ml Botanivore Gin, 10 ml Noilly Prat dry vermouth – stir with ice until desired dilution, strain into cocktail glass and garnish with lemon zest) and the rather prominent citrus elements of the gin made a refreshing and delicious Martini, helped by the marriage of the vermouth and the somewhat spicy herbal qualities of the gin.
Next, a Gin & Tonic (50 ml Botanivore Gin, 100 ml Fever-Tree Tonic Water – build in ice filled rocks glass, garnish with lemon zest) and once again a refreshing result with the combined bittersweet flavours, the citrus and gentle floral elements backed up by the complex herbaciousness. The tonic water is subtle enough to let the gin’s qualities shine through in a very pleasant way.
Last but not least a Negroni (30 ml Botanivore Gin, 30 ml Martini Rosso sweet vermouth, 30 ml Campari – stir until desired dilution, strain into ice filled rocks glass and garnish with orange zest) and it’s a tasty drink but not necessarily thanks to the gin. Because of its gentle nature it doesn’t really come through, and I can just imagine how it would be if I’d used an even more powerful vermouth like Antica Formula. Anyway, the result is good and the different components comes together nicely, but maybe a more juniper-forward is to prefer in a Negroni.
I still have a few drops of the gin left to play with, and I’ll probably go for a sour cocktail or two… cheers!