As the gin category continues to grow, floral botanicals offer distillers a broad array of new flavours to work with. And with pink gin continuing to flourish, floral botanicals are even more relevant.
These flavours are compatible with a broader trend towards lighter drinks, both in terms of flavour and ABV, offering delicate flavour profiles, and giving both consumers and bartenders the means to create light, elegant drinks. And certain flowers contribute not only flavour and aroma, but colour too.
While they offer a variety of flavour profiles individually, various floral flavours also pair well together, with producers combining elderflower and jasmine for example, or jasmine and rose.
Gin distillers have been increasingly making use of various flowers in their quest to create new and interesting new products. They are increasingly being used as the pink gin category continues to grow and distillers look for more ways to innovate within that category, such as in the case of The Old Curiosity Pink Elderflower & Jasmine Gin, as well as Bloom Jasmine & Rose Gin.
Elderflower has long been an on-trend flavour in drinks, driven in part by St-Germain elderflower liqueur, but found extensively throughout various drinks categories, in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic categories.
Elderflower is among the five key flavours used by Diageo for its global Johnnie Walker Highball Collection, alongside peach, lemon, green tea and ginger; it can also be found in a number of gins, mixers and more.
One flower that really delivers when it comes to flavouring is hibiscus, offering not only a distinctive, tangy flavour profile, with some acidity, but also bright, vibrant colour. As such it’s prevalent across several drinks categories, and increasingly so.
One growing sub-category of drinks that makes liberal use of hibiscus is Mexican-inspired beer, previously flagged as a prevailing trend in it own right by the IWSR, which often draw on traditional Mexican ague frescas, often made with this flower. Mural, a collaboration between Colorado’s New Belgium Brewing and Mexican craft brewery Primus Cervecería, is made with hibiscus, agave, watermelon and lime. Cerveza Amigos, meanwhile, from Mexico’s Monterey-based Cerveza Rrëy and America’s O’Fallon Brewery, includes brewed hibiscus tea.
Also making use of hibiscus is Luna Bay Booch Co Hard Kombucha, which includes a Hibiscus Lavender variant alongside Palo Santo Blueberry and Lemon Ginger. The range is naturally fermented to 6% ABV; this offering follows an additional trend of hard kombuchas previously flagged by the IWSR.
There are a number of other flowers that are increasingly used by gin distillers and other drinks producers to bring unusual, light and distinctive aromas and flavors to their products.
Jasmine Verte is one of three variants in the Muyu range of liqueurs, with headline ingredients including neroli, patchouli, yuzu and iris.
Another brand to prioritise jasmine, along with rose, is Bloom, which added a Jasmine & Rose Gin to its range last year (see below for more info). Indeed, rose is another flower that frequently finds itself in drinks brands, such as Woltz’s Rose Petal Vodka, which uses dried petals from the flower as well as pure grain vodka.
For the Sakura season in Japan, Suntory added a cherry blossom variant to its Ice Gin range, describing the result as a “balanced blend of cherry blossoms” with a “refreshing” taste. Asahi, meanwhile, introduced cherry blossoms into its low-malt clear beer range Clear Asahi for the season too.
When Global Brands added a pair of new flavours to its All Shook Up RTD range recently, it included a Violet Cosmo, a floral twist on the classic. Violet has appeared in the gin category too, notably in JJ Whitley’s Violet Gin, aimed at the pink gin market (see below).
Using flowers in drinks often requires a specific approach to how they’re used. For example, when producing its Pink Elderflower & Jasmine Gin, Old Curiosity processes its hand-harvested elderflower separately, creating a flower-water distillate before using rose petals and violets as an infusion to give the gin its colour.
- Floral components offer a new and interesting spectrum of flavors and aromas across a broad range of drinks categories, for consumers looking for something new.
- These flavors are being driven in popularity by a number of broader trends, such as the popularity of rosé, pink drinks in general, and a general move towards lighter flavors and drinks.
- For gin and similar categories, for example, floral elements provide a convenient way of tapping into the pink gin trend, either by providing complementary flavors, or directly providing the color to the drink.
- Floral components can require different processing to other botanicals, offering an opportunity to communicate these production methods.
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