While working in a gin distillery in the UK our Chief Botanical Officer Frederik fell in love with the use of botanicals in distilling and the fascinating world of cocktails. The juniper berry might be the hero of gin but there is so much more to this flavour-packed berry than gin…
The history of juniper and booze
The juniper berry made its earliest appearance 250 million years ago. This puts them on the earth at a time when most of the land masses were grouped together in a single continent called Pangaea—and explains why a single species, Juniperus communis, can be native to Europe, Asia, and North America. In the 13thcentury it was already advised to boil juniper berries in wine or rainwater to treat stomach pain. That’s not gin, but anything that combines juniper and alcohol is a step in the right direction. *
Although gin is widespread and well known, the precursor was distilled by the Dutch and is called genever. We didn’t distil it for medicinal use though; during The Eighty Years’ War we learned the British soldiers to enjoy a little genever on the battlefield to give strength to the troops; a ritual called “Dutch courage”.
Foraging juniper berries
To harvest juniper berries one has to be patient: the berries—which are actually cones whose scales are so fleshy that they resemble the skin of a fruit—take two to three years to mature. After those three years harvesting them is time consuming as a single plant holds berries in different stages of ripeness.
The aroma & flavour of juniper
One of our favourite books, The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit, describes juniper as having “the flavours of a country estate”, which is spot on. The aroma of juniper is warming, resinous and clean.
The hard dried berries have to be crushed to release their full flavour but once crushes a little goes a long way. Piny, resinous, perfumy and pungent; with its natural sharpness the juniper berry cuts through the strong taste of game and rich fattiness. This, combined with its special warmth, makes the juniper berry the perfect botanical for our refreshing Winter I.P.A. on cold winter days.
Lowlander Winter I.P.A.
A crisp White I.P.A. with hoppy notes and a resinous citrus kick.
Our new Winter I.P.A. is a 5% ABV sessionable concoction with a grassy citrus kick complemented by the resinous conifer notes of fresh green spruce tips and Juniper berries, while still balancing out the bitterness, making this one an easy sipper.
During the height of the so-called Little Ice Age, the bitterly harsh winters caused canals and rivers to freeze. Amid bone-chilling temperatures people turned from wine to beer as grains were greater survivors of cold than grapes.
In tribute to going against the grape, we go against the grain by crafting a White IPA rather than the typical dark beers common in the winter months.
We dare you to go against the grain too, gifting the initials of your loved ones in bottles of refreshing Winter IPA instead of chocolate letters.
Sign up to our newsletter to find out first where to buy your Winter IPA letters, or what to serve with it for Christmas dinner!
If you’re interested in knowing more about Lowlander’s Botanical Infusions don’t hesitate to get in touch
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