There’s a curious thing happening in the world of gin, a colour-changing gin, from the Secret Herb Garden. Kerry attended their soft launch at the Scottish Cafe last Thursday and loved what she tried.
Nosed and tasted neat to begin with, each of the three gins on offer, Chamomile & Cornflour, Apothecary Rose and Lavender & Echinacea, were pretty as a picture in their clear bottles, displaying their enticing colours.
Creator Hamish Martin waxed lyrically and passionately about the botanicals that go into each bottle, which are all hand grown and picked at their very own Secret Herb Garden, nestled at the foot of the Pentland Hills on the outskirts of Edinburgh. If you haven’t paid this place a visit, it’s thoroughly recommended. There’s a cafe, a shop full of vintage furniture and lots of wonderful herbs and plants to buy.
Our second nosing and tasting was with the addition of Bon Accord Tonic and a curious thing occurred. These tonic were the perfect accompaniment. Full of flavour, they contain no added sugars or flavourings, so did not overpower or taint the natural flavours of the gins. Not only did this tonic open up the ‘nose’ of these wonderful gins, they changed from the original colour in the bottle to different shades of pink. Pure alchemy, just proving the magic of the herbs.
The final tasting was paired with food from the kitchen of the Scottish cafe. The Chamomile & Cornflour was paired with a Shetland lamb neck bon bon with pinenut oil and labna; the Apothecary Rose with Phantassie butternut squash and Loch Arthur ricotta tart with spiced honey; and the Lavender and Echinacea with charred Belhaven salmon with pickled cucumber treacle emlusion and kitchen garden horseradish.
Two limited edition gins were also tasted that Hamish and Stephen, the master distiller had experimented with: a Mallow and Geranium (46% ABV) paired with a Sicilian pistachio macaroon with Almafi lemon (Kerry’s favourite on both counts) and Damask Rose, paired with Phantassie beetroot and sour cherry pavlova.
With their floral notes, Kerry loved all of these gins (although not everyone will) and even kidded herself they might have some healing properties!
These are small batch gins, therefore demanding a slightly higher price point but Kerry thinks you will find it worth it for something that bit different and special.
The Old Curiosity Gins will be launching in the next few weeks and will be sold through specialist off-licences such as Vino and will also be available in select cocktail bars in Scotland.
Kerry’s looking forward to creating some magic herself and will be experimenting making some desserts with some of the sample bottles she went away with. Watch this space.