What is a good gin alternative?
Following World Gin Day on Saturday 11 June, juniper lovers will be flocking to bars, shops and online to seek out new gins, or return to old favourites. Simultaneously though, there is a growing offshoot of gin drinkers looking for something a little different. For all those seeking alternatives, it’s time to check out botanical spirits. Botanical spirits are made in a similar way to gin, but without juniper as the lead botanical.
Those at the sharp end of online retail are seeing more and more gin drinkers moving in this direction. According to The Whisky Exchange “...this is a category set to go from strength-to-strength as both distillers and G&T fans branch out into ever more adventurous avenues.”
In terms of flavour and style, our botanical spirit, ESCUBAC, sits somewhere between gin, aquavit, and herbal liqueurs. It’s inspired by an old Tudor recipe we found for an elixir called Royal Usquebaugh, which originated in England but was later adopted by the French, who renamed it Escubac. The spirit became obsolete in the early 20th century and stayed that way until 2015 when we revived it as a unique and unmistakably modern gin-alternative. Bon Appetit Magazine captured it perfectly when they wrote:
“If you had to make a comparison, ESCUBAC is closest to gin. But really, it lives in its own damn house.”
Providing alternatives not only broadens the range of options for gin fans; it’s also a way to offer something new to drinkers who may not enjoy the traditional flavours and pairings of such a historical category. We’re certainly not looking to replace gin. We love to drink it too and would point you towards some great local producers like Electric Spirit Co, Lind & Lime and Porter’s. But we believe ESCUBAC is the ideal place to start for those looking for something new. Like many botanical spirits, it can be used with a simple tonic serve, as the base in classic gin cocktails or with an extensive range of sodas. Here are some of our favourites:
12.5 dry vermouth
Combine ingredients in a shaker, add ice and shake. Double strain into a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and samphire.
15ml Martini Rosso vermouth
2 x barspoon Noilly Prat dry vermouth
1 x barspoon Maraschino liqueur
Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass & top with good ice. Stir well & double strain into a coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.
Escubac Summer Cup
20ml Grapefruit juice
5ml Vermouth Blanc (Ideally Vergano or Cocchi Americano)
Fill the glass with the above ingredients and ice then top with rose lemonade. Garnish with a mint sprig, strawberries and a slice of cucumber.
Escubac & Tonic
Pour Escubac into a highball glass. Add ice and top with tonic. Garnish with a slice of lemon.
Escubac also pairs perfectly with a range of sodas from Bon Accord Soft Drinks. For a limited time, if you order a bottle of Escubac, we’ll add in two bottles of their fantastic Salted Pink Grapefruit soda for free so you can try one of our favourite combinations yourself.
For more information on botanical spirits, check out my earlier post on The Rise of Botanical Spirits.