Before we get into the detail of how best to drink Wild Spirit’s Mandarin Gin, a little background on the making of this gin.
Like many distillers we’ve worked with over the years, James keeps us up to date with new gins and experiments that he’s working on. Considering it was only a handful of months ago that we’d locked in the Bloody Merry gin, we weren’t expecting a new release quite so soon!
That said, having been passed a bottle hand written by James a little while back, we sat down with it recently for a tasting. This gin was good and with a few tweaks we thought it could be a super, fresh, mandarin forward gin.
James invited us to be part of the development of the gin to bring it to a point we’d be happy to share it with our Gin Lane members.
We were incredibly intrigued by the mandarin, recognising this could be an overpowering flavour if it not handled delicately. The base gin recipe that James was using had plenty of juniper and warm spice, which we still wanted to feature in the gin.
By using a mandarin maceration to blend in this flavour to the gin, we had control over how ‘forward’ the mandarin flavour was in comparison to the other botanicals. Our first experiments probably had too much of the mandarin, with further experimentation giving too little. As with many good things, we landed somewhere in the middle.
The first thing you’ll notice when tasting the mandarin gin, is the colour. This is derived from the mandarin maceration, as this is a post distillation addition. It helps to close your eyes when tasting the gin for the first time, allowing you to focus on the flavour rather than the flavour you expect from the colour.
On the nose, the mandarin is certainly there as a fresh citrus addition. This is blended with the juniper and liquorice notes giving an interesting complexity.
As you sip the gin you’ll find the mandarin playing a part again, with a gentle, sweet citrus. This is balanced by warm cinnamon spice, juniper, cardamom and liquorice.
The gin has a lovely creamy mouthfeel and a long spicy, citrus finish. Mandarin gin is a super autumn gin, balancing warmth and spice with citrus to carry you through the change in seasons.
While it was tempting in the development stage to lean further into that mandarin flavour…we wanted this to be more than a flavoured gin. We wanted the mandarin to be the hero, but not at the expense of either the juniper, or the spice botanicals. Standing around the tasting table at Wild Spirits Distilling, you could see everyone’s body language immediately signal this was right blend.
We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed having a hand in creating this with James and the Wild Spirits Distilling Co. team.
Should you be mixing up an autumn g&t, our recommendation is to hold off a garnish and let the mandarin do the work here. Adding mandarin as a garnish would overdo the flavour that we worked hard to balance, Any other citrus won’t sit well in our opinion.
If warm spice is your thing, then you can certainly garnish with a stick of cinnamon, which will complement the flavours very well.
Mandarin Negroni (feel free to use traditional negroni elements)
45ml Mandarin gin
30ml Adelaide Hills Berry Berry Amaro (substitute for Campari/bitter aperitif)
30ml Adelaide Hills Applejack Ross Vermouth (substitute for red vermouth)
Add the ingredients together in a cocktail shaker. Shake well with cracked ice. Strain into a glass over cubed ice. Garnish with unpeeled mandarin slice.