Back in the 90s everyone who was anyone in the gin-drinking classes wanted nothing other than that well-known blue-bottled icon that is Bombay Sapphire. But since its lunch in 2000, Scottish gin Hendrick’s has arguably stolen Bombay’s crown.
It is easy to see why, with its signature black apothecary-style bottle, clever marketing as a “most unusual gin” and of course its unique flavour. This is thanks to the addition of both rose and cucumber essence at the end of production, giving Hendrick’s a wonderful aroma that is reminiscent of turkish delight. The cucumber comes through on the palate, emphasising the other classic gin botanicals: juniper, angelica, coriander seed, orris, lemon peel, orange peel and cubeb berries. Hendrick’s also use chamomile and elderflower, which further enhances the floral notes, whilst the addition of caraway adds a gentle spicy warmth to the gin.
Interestingly, the man behind Hendrick’s, William Grant’s master distiller David Stewart, drew his inspiration for this wonderful gin from a visit to a rose garden with some cucumber sandwiches! Working alongside the Scotch Whisky Research Institute, the product was eventually launched in the UK in 2003 by the well-known whisky distillers. In fact it was William Grant’s granddaughter Janet Roberts who cam up with the name Hendrick’s – after her gardener – which seems very fitting!
Another reason for its popularity, especially with those for whom gin may not always have been a first choice, is that the juniper is not so pronounced as a London Dry style gin. When served as a gin and tonic (and we would always recommend Fever Tree!) a slice of cucumber helps to bring out the cucumber flavour. It is also great in a martini or in longer-style cocktails. Here are a couple from the Sub 13 menu to get you started:
(Yes, we are aware of the irony given it is a Scottish gin!)
2.5 cm slice of cucumber, diced
12 mint leaves
10ml Elderflower cordial
10ml lemon juice
50ml ginger beer
In a large glass, muddle the cucumber and mint with the elderflower and lemon juice, add crushed ice and ginger beer and churn with a bar spoon to mix. Add more ginger beer and garnish with a sprig or mint and a cucumber twizzle.
Peculiar Gin Fizz
25ml Combier Crème de Rose
25ml lemon juice
25ml cucumber syrup (2/3 cucumber sliced with a peeler until you reach the seeds, squeezed and infused into sugar syrup)
Shake first four ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fine strain over ice cubes. Top with soda, give it a quick stir and then garnish with a dried rose and/or a cucumber twizzle.