In 2009, when the current gin renaissance was just in its infancy, Danish Henrik Hammer presented the world to Geranium London Dry Gin. The gin with a unique botanical profile and prominent citrus notes should stand on every shelf.
I think the speed at which the gin is drunk is a good indication that it is good! There are two gins in my collection that never linger on the shelf. Geranium Gin is one of them. Maybe because I drink too much. But the last bottle I bought, I giving away the same day because one of my new friends had never tasted a G&T with Geranium Gin and Fever-Tree Tonic. I just felt sorry for the poor man. And I decided to make amends.
Historically, the geranium plant, like juniper berries, has been used for folk medicine and health food. Geranium is combined with other typical botanicals used for gin production. For example – coriander, lemon, and angelica. Therefore geranium and juniper have been combined not the first time.
Henrik Hammer and his father made an experimental analysis of the geranium plant. It showed that the leaves of the geranium plant contain essential oils such as geraniol, geranyl formate, linalool, rose oxide, and others. Many found ingredients are also present in fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs often used in gin production. Theoretically, it means that geranium should work fine in a gin. But it required careful chemical experiments to find the right variety and the right way to extract the essential oils from the geranium plant.
Ingredients of the Geranium London Dry Gin
The final recipe consists of ten ingredients: juniper, geranium, coriander seeds, lemon peel, orange peel, licorice root, cassia bark, angelica root, and rice root. The tenth ingredient is secret. The geranium used in Geranium Gin comes from a garden center at Hedehusene in Zealand, but the actual production of the gin takes place at Langley Distillery in Birmingham in England. Here the ingredients are soaked (maceration) for 48 hours in neutral alcohol extracted from wheat and then distilled in a copper alembic stills, called Constance. Then gin is sent to the Thames Distillers in London for bottling in the distinctive angular bottle.
In the nose, you get a distinct scent of juniper, citrus, and flowers. If you add a few drops of water to your glass of gin (this opens up the aromas and softens the alcohol), the geranium plant’s effect will be clear – a pleasant floral scent in the nose.
In the mouth you get, just like in the nose, a pleasant taste of juniper, geranium, and citrus. In the long aftertaste, you get juniper berries and a faint sweetness from especially licorice root and to some degree orange. It’s not an insanely complex taste. I would rather call it well-balanced between the citrus notes and the floral notes. I have tasted other floral gin, where the flowery notes “make a noise” in the mouth, which is not the case with Geranium Gin. Overall, Geranium Gin is a very pleasant gin.
Geranium Gin and Tonic
Just over a year ago, Holland conducted an excellent review in which Geranium Gin was exposed to four different tonic water: Fever-Tree, Fentiman’s, 1724, and Thomas Henry. But for this Geranium London Dry Gin review, I have only focused on the combination of Geranium Gin and Fever-Tree Tonic, which for me is the ultimate partnership.
The citrus notes from both gin and tonic water work well. The floral notes from the gin can be tasted without becoming dominant and intrusive. Mister Cocktail recommends garnishing with a little orange peel, I prefer a slice of lemon in this case.
Geranium London Dry Gin was without exaggeration one of the gins that back at the beginning of 2012 aroused my interest in gin (along with gins like No. 3 Gin, Monkey 47, and Sipsmith Gin). And it should be no secret that I am very excited. So for me to see, Hammer & Son’s initial chemical studies of the essential oils in the geranium plant have borne fruit to that extent.
So the next time you go to a bar, remember to order a Geranium Gin and Fever-Tree Tonic, which with its understated floral notes and the prominent citrus, is the ultimate partnership in a G&T.