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Some examples of pink gins from around the world— It was a given from the outset that they were not going to use anything but the ingredients themselves to color their gin. Warner Distillery trades on their reputation for being authentic in their flavor and color creation. Warner described the process as requiring a lot of trial and error, but the team had a breakthrough when they saw rhubarb thawing in the sun. “We saw pink juice bleed from this fresh rhubarb… [we] put it through the cider press and we got a bright pink color.” They now take fresh rhubarb, press it, and add the juice to their quintessentially classic Harrington Dry Gin. After blending, they sweeten it and bottle it at 40% ABV. The resulting gin has been a smashing success. In 2017 alone, Warner Distillery’s Rhubarb Gin sold over 350,000 bottles.

POST DISTILLATION MACERATION

The most common way distillers create their pink gins is with natural and fresh ingredients. However, as Warner recounts, this process is not without its tribulations — especially if color is as important to you as it is to Warner Distillery. He charitably described their first experiment with macerating frozen rhubarb as unappetizing and “quite browny-green.” Next, they cooked the rhubarb in the still before juicing it in a cider-press. Color again was an issue. Tom described it as “orangey-pinky-reddy color” and that was only after they added some lemon juice. With the right story, the second experiment might yield a product that consumers want to buy, especially at a bar with a knowledgeable bartender or directly from the distillery. But sitting on a shelf in a liquor store, color speaks volumes, which is why Warner and the team kept working at it until they stumbled upon the juice method described above. Maceration periods vary widely across distillers using this method. Some flavors can be infused in a short time, but others like Isle of Wight let raspberries and strawberries rest in gin for nearly 100 hours. When working with fresh, organic material,sediment isn’t just probable, it’s nearly certain, especially given time on the shelf. Secondly, color can fade over time. People who keep their gin in a cabinet might not be too troubled, but collectors who display their WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM  

Distillery

Gin

Flavor

Method

Strawberry Ginger Gin

Strawberry and ginger

Post-distillation maceration, naturally pink

Warner’s Distillery England, United Kingdom

Rhubarb Gin

Rhubarb

Addition of rhubarb juice to gin after distillation, rhubarb juice is naturally pink

That Boutique-y Gin Company England, United Kingdom

Proper Pink Gin

Angostura and Gentian

Bitters added to gin after distillation

Anís Los Hermanos Spain

Puertos de Indias Sevillian Gin Premium, Strawberry

Strawberry

Mashed strawberries added to gin after distillation

The Beefeater Distillery England, United Kingdom

Beefeater Pink

Strawberry

Natural flavors added after distillation

Mirabeau Winery France

Mirabeau Rosé Gin

Rose wine

Wine is added to a grape-base gin after distillation

Cameronbridge Distillery Scotland, United Kingdom

Gordon’s Pink Gin

Raspberry and strawberry

Flavors and color added to gin after distillation

The Antipodes Gin Company Australia

Antipodes Pink Gin

Grapefruit, strawberry gum, pepperberry

Rested over Shiraz grapes after distillation

G&J Distillers England, United Kingdom

Bloom Jasmine and Rose Gin

Rose

Isle of Wight Distillery England, United Kingdom

Mermaid Pink Gin

Raspberry and strawberry

Four day maceration of raspberries in distilled gin

Laverstoke Mill England, United Kingdom

Rosé Gin

Raspberry and strawberry

Natural flavors added after distillation

Boulder Pink Gin

Rose and grapefruit

Musgrave Pink Gin

Rose

Lee Spirits Co. Colorado, United States

Vapor Distillery Colorado, United States Musgrave Spirits South Africa

gin could be. This could also affect products that don’t move quickly at liquor stores. In these contexts, color fading and the presence of sediment can be devastating. For better or worse, the perception among consumers is that pink gin should be pink and not have sediment. Some distilleries like Crossbill Distillery in the UK try to directly address this on their website. For their Staghorn Sumac Gin, it prominently informs the consumer, “Our products are made from natural ingredients and unfiltered, hence small amounts of sediment or fruit fibres may occur.” If you don’t have an educational moment with your consumer, you may not have an opportunity to dispel their misconceptions. So, while using fresh strawberries alone for color makes for a great authentic brand story, your pink gin will

Rose petals infused after distillation

Pink grapefruit zest and rose petals macerated after distillation Rosewater and rose petals added after distillation

have to sit next to the vivid unfailing pinks of Beefeater, Bosford, and Gordon’s.

But is it gin? ‘You can buy me a beautiful pink gin if you will,’ said Vicki, looking at him humorously with her rather nice eyes. ‘Beautifully pink, or beautifully ginny?’ asked the Lieutenant. (1947) Patrick Hamilton, The Slaves of Solitude Nicholas Cook, Director General of The Gin Guild, has expressed concern that some brands have incorrectly used the word “gin” to label their products, when technically speaking, because of either ABV or sugar 83

Profile for Artisan Spirit Magazine

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2020  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

Artisan Spirit: Spring 2020  

The magazine for craft distillers and their fans.

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