Celery Gin

Celery Gin

I first tasted Celery Gin at Tales of the Cocktail last year. The latest gin from Rutte Distillery was on the shortlist for ‘Best New Spirit of 2016’ and Master Distiller Myriam Hendrickx was kind enough to grant me an interview which you can read here.

As with most new gins, it can take a while to hit the Australian market and I did a fair bit of pestering to find out when it would get here!  I was fortunate enough to attend a ‘Lunch and Learn’ session last week with the Bacardi/DeKuyper team and enjoyed cocktails made with Celery Gin and Old Simon Genever created by Australian Bartender of the Year 2015, Lee Potter Cavanagh. That genever was a taste revelation and quite unlike other genevers that I’ve tasted and largely disliked.

Celery Gin
Celery Gin and Tonic garnished with celery leaf and a piece of apple.

Celery Gin came after DeKuyper acquired Rutte Distillery. They were looking for interesting flavours for their liqueur portfolio and Myriam pointed straight to the extensive Rutte archives where celery has been used as a botanical in Rutte genevers since the 1800s, and suggested using it to make a gin. The rest is history and the result has been a huge hit and put the smallest distillery in the Netherlands on the map.

Botanicals

Celery Gin

In fact, it’s the incredibly fragrant leaves of the celery plant that are used alongside juniper, coriander, angelica root, sweet orange peel and cardamom, rather than celery seeds or the celery stalks we all crunch in our salads.

Tasting Celery Gin

Sometimes when a gin hits the market and it has a dominant botanical, the balanced “gin” flavour is lost. Fortunately, this is far from the case with Celery gin.

On the nose you get the familiar gin aromas; juniper, coriander and angelica.

If you are expecting this gin to taste of celery stalks, you’re in for a surprise as while celery notes are present, it’s not in your face. There is lots of piney juniper and citrus with fresh notes of celery leaves. The flavour then builds with more herbaceous celery, some orange giving a subtle sweetness and ending with bold white pepper notes. The finish is mouth-watering and lengthy.

Drinking Celery Gin

Celery Gimlet
Celery Gin Gimlet
KT Collins
KT Collins

The herbaceous freshness of celery works well with gin, especially in savoury cocktails. Of course, a really excellent gin is super versatile. While Celery gin is a natural choice well in the celery forward cocktails I’ve shown above, it’s also excellent in a martini, It’s also creates an outstanding Red Snapper.

Red Snapper
Red Snapper

Country of Origin: Holland

ABV: 43%

Price: Medium

 

Gin and Jonnie GastroGin

Gin and Jonnie GastroGin is one of the more intriguingly named gins I’ve come across recently! The choice of name becomes obvious when you discover that the recipe was created by Dutch chef Jonnie Boer. Jonnie became the youngest two Michelin-starred chef in the Netherlands and in 2004, his restaurant De Librije, receive 3 stars, only the second in the Netherlands to do so.

Restaurant De Librije

A die-hard gin and tonic fan, Jonnie sought the expertise of Onder de Boompjes, to collaborate on his passion project, a gin that would “captivate my favourite flavours, ones that are fresh, real and genuine“. Onder de Boompjes have been making genever since 1658 and is the second oldest distillery in the Netherlands. Together with his chef Maik Kuipers, master distiller Justus Walop and Johan Kersten from Onder de Boompjes, Jonnie took over a year to create the recipe for the world’s first  “GastroGin”.

The botanicals

Gin and Jonnie GastroGin contains an abundance of citrus and pepper botanicals. There are four citrus ingredients: Lemon verbena, grapefruit, lemon and orange peel, and five types of pepper: Jamaican (flavours reminiscent of cinnamon and nutmeg), Szechuan, Voatsiperifery (aromatic with a subtle sweetness), Long, and Sarawak (black) pepper.  They have also used fennel seed and fennel flowers, against a background of more traditional gin ingredients – juniper, cardamom, licorice, angelica and caraway seeds.

The taste

Citrus, citrus, citrus on the nose and palate. If you love a citrus forward gin you’ll love this. As the flavour builds the citrus gives way to some interesting aniseed flavours before those peppery botanicals come through and deliver and good blast of spicy warmth.

Drinking Gin and Jonnie GastroGin

Jonnie nailed the brief when it comes to making a gin that is made for tonic. It’s a great drink and the pepper and anise prevent it becoming overly sweet.

I used Lillet Blanc in place of vermouth to soften my martini and garnished with grapefruit peel to bring out those citrus elements. It was slightly sweet with a good peppery punch at the finish.

With my Negroni I used Antica Formula instead of sweet vermouth. With an ABV of 45% Gin and Jonnie GastroGin was a good choice,  the spice and pepper notes work well with the bitterness of the Campari.

Gin and Jonnie GastroGin negroni

Gin and Jonnie GastroGin recently came 33rd in The Spirit Business Top 50 Innovative Spirits Launches of 2016, and if you like a bold gin with lots of flavour, then this is right up your gin lane!

Country of Origin: Holland

ABV: 45%

Pickering's-Gin-Cosmopolitan

Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin

The current gin boom sees ever crazier expressions of the spirit, with distillers appearing to be in a battle with each other to use the most unusual botanicals they can. I have tasted some disastrous gins (I’m not naming names) where the unusual has wrecked the sublime juniper spirit I enjoy. I know, I’m a purist. However, I am learning to appreciate the more contemporary gins, particularly if the quality is there. Aviation gin is a good example of a contemporary gin where juniper doesn’t dominate.

Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin is one of the more left-field gin brands and was created by the Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, Netherlands. The Nolet family has been distilling for over 300 years, and produce Ketel One vodka and Jenever/Genever.

Noel's-Silver-Dry-Gin-bottle-top

The botanicals used in Nolet’s Silver Dry gin only have a whisper of the traditional ingredients (juniper, citrus, orris and liquorice) with white peach, turkish rose and raspberry added as essences. Rose and notes of turkish delight are detectable on the both the nose and the palate, as well as raspberries. Pine notes from the juniper came through towards the end with some pepper and earthy tones giving a surprisingly dry finish.

This is Hendrick’s bolder sister; fruity and floral, smooth and moreish.  Sipping neat over ice opens out the flavours and I would recommend using it in a Gin Rickey rather than in a G&T. It produced a rich, full negroni (I used Dolin vermouth and Campari) with a sweet rose finish. Interesting!

The dry martini is where Nolet’s Silver Dry gin comes into its own. The floral notes in the gin balanced well with the vermouth (Dolin Dry in a 5:1 ratio) and resulted in a soft (almost creamy) martini. If you aren’t confident drinking martinis this could be a good place to start! A Clover Club cocktail would also work well with this gin.

Nolet's-Silver-Dry-martini-and-bottle

This is the most contemporary gin I’ve tasted so far and will definitely polarise opinion. The price is at the premium end of the market and is only available in Australia via Nicks Wine Merchants. I’m intrigued to try the companion gin, Nolet’s ‘The Reserve’ Dry Gin (gold label) but at over $600 a bottle I think I might be waiting a while!

Country of Origin: Holland

ABV: 47.6%

Price: High