This opened a path for botanical flavored spirits, which have gained great momentum in the past five years. The innovative flavor combinations have added a much-needed dimension to the industry.
Ketel One has always been known as a quality vodka distilled using traditional methods. Although it has maintained its purest position for almost 35 years, the brand finally succumbed to the popularity of flavored vodka with its Botanical line. This includes its crisp and lightly flavored Peach and Orange Blossom expression. This vodka evades the syrupy sweet by using orange blossoms, while still maintaining the lush flavor of the white peach. It’s a perfect light cocktail with soda or just on the rocks.
The versatility of tequila was heavily tested during the mixology movement of the early 2000s. Now most specialty bar menus have several tequila drinks, often with a botanical focus. Female owned and operated, 21 Seeds Tequila, saw the obvious next step of putting the botanicals right into the bottle. The brand combines its Blanco tequila with real fruit from Jalisco to create Grapefruit Hibiscus Tequila. Grapefruit is heavily prevalent from the nose to its bitter finish. The hibiscus cuts into the fruit flavor with subtle floral notes, as well as adds a pinkish hue. This tequila is best suited for the Paloma lover who likes a little twist.
“The rose is a rose, and was always a rose. That apple’s a rose, And the pear is and so’s the plum, I suppose…”
The Robert Frost poem, “The Rose Family,” inspired Empirical to name its sweet floral spirit, “The Plum, I Suppose.” Just as the apple’s not really a rose, its use of dried plum kernels doesn’t produce a plum flavor. The kernel has more of a sweet nutty taste, often described as marzipan. Empirical also infuses in marigold kombucha which ironically creates a sour almost plum peel sharpness. They are infused into a distillate of pilsner malt, pearled barley and Koii.
The contrast of warm and nutty with a slight tartness doesn’t seem like it would be complementary, but it surprisingly works well.
Wild Roots began as a corn-based vodka company, with bold flavor expressions including “Marionberry” and “Dark Sweet Cherry”. They eventually leaned into the growing popularity of gin and created their own London Dry Gin, with two flavor infusions including ‘Orange & Bergamot’. Grown in rich Oregon soil, they infuse extra-sweet oranges and aromatic bergamot. This gin equally showcases the earthiness of the bergamot as well as the fresh citrus of the fruit. The orange coats the top of your tongue immediately while a slightly leafy flavor finishes in the back of your throat. It’s incredibly smooth and easy to sip straight out of the freezer. Although you can drink this year-round, it will be a perfect accompaniment to your fall and winter holidays.
Mezcal Pierde Almas +9 Botanicals embarked on the arduous journey of trying to combine Mezcal and Gin. These two spirits could not seem further on the spectrum from each other, but they found an inventive way to combine. They distill acclaimed Espadin Mezcal twice and then once more with nine botanicals of gin. Star of anise and juniper berries are the most prominent flavors in this mezcal, but it also contains coriander, fennel seed, orange peel, cassia bark, angelica root, oris root and nutmeg. Surprisingly, this gives it a more winter woods finish, with flavors of “Fur trees, pinecones, medicinal and delicately smoke sage, celery salt, nutmeg and zesty citrus.” It’s a unique spirit for a unique palate.