‘Pink gin’ originated as Plymouth gin with a dash (or two) of Angostura bitters.
It came about in the 1800s to cure seasickness by the Royal Navy. Sailors then added bitters to the low-quality gin to make it taste better, yielding its alluring pink color which is now garnering attention in the States centuries later.
These days, pink gins gain their blush hue from one of two add-ins: artificial coloring or all-natural fruit. Applying false colorings – might bring “pink” to the drink – but also alters the once clean gin with extra sugary ingredients. Utilizing fresh reddish fruits, such as strawberries and rhubarb makes for a pleasant palate, creates an appealing tone, and ultimately lifts the quality to luxury within the pink gin category.
Sometimes pinkness comes completely from sweet strawberries adding a soft attractive hue without overpowering other natural botanicals. Ideally, firm strawberries are dropped in the standard distillation process, then further strawberries are steeped in the distillate (post-distillation) to produce a faint rosé wine tint. In addition to seed-studded strawberries (and mandatory juniper berries), hand-forged botanicals like lavender, lemon verbena, orange blossom, and pink peppercorns unite to round out the palatable flavor profile.
Rhubarb is technically a vegetable but is legally a fruit in America. And unlike other fruits, rhubarb’s color is not an indication of ripeness or sweetness. Led by the “rosé-all-day” phenomenon, reddish rhubarb deepens many sophisticated pink gin offerings. The robust addition accentuates the shell-pink color and complements any mouth-watering citrus flavor with its tart smack. Either a fizzy Spritz or flushed Martini variation can easily elevate perfumy, pink gins.
Fragrant rose water is formed by vaporizing rose petals – a method used for thousands of years, mainly in the Middle Ages (originating in what is now Iran) and implemented in certain gin distilleries worldwide. While pungent notes of spices and berries peek through purified gin, rose water delivers subtle scent with a rosy touch. Usually during distillation, rose hips are added to soften herbal ingredients (especially obligatory juniper), then the liquid encounters a gentle infusion of rose water. Lastly, it embodies pink- and plushness in an upright bottle, before poured and appreciated.
- 1 1/2 oz. Salcombe Gin ‘Rosé Sainte Marie’
- 1/4 oz. rosé vermouth
- splash of elderflower liqueur
- splash of grapefruit juice
- Orange peel
Preparation: Chill a martini glass with ice and set aside. In a mixing glass, add gin, rosé vermouth, elderflower liqueur, grapefruit juice and ice, and stir for 30 seconds. Empty the ice from the martini glass. Double strain the cocktail into the glass. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.
- 1 oz. Salcombe Gin ‘Rosé Sainte Marie’
- 1 oz. rosè vermouth
- 1 oz. Londinio Aperitivo
- Lemon peel
Preparation: In a mixing glass, add plenty of ice. Add Rosé Sainte Marie, verrmouth and aperitivo. Stir gently. Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon peel on the side of the glass.