What is in My Gin (Gin Botanicals)

What is in My Gin ?  and Pink Gin Cocktail

Have you ever wondered how your favorite Gin gets its flavor?  Two very important components of this process are the various types of stills to choose from and the method Hendricks Stillused for adding flavor components. I will be following up with an article on the very different types of still used. For now, there are two basics methods to add flavor, one good the other not so good. Adding flavor compounds or essences to pure ethyl alcohol produces compounded gin. Cheap and not that great, compounded gins are not allowed to put “distilled gin “ on the label. That nasty lemon flavored gin from your youth was probably a compounded gin. No need to get into this any further

Redistilling neutral spirits with juniper and other botanical’s makes a true distilled Gin.  Every producer of gin has their own recipe, and therefore its own flavor profile. Botanicals are natural herbs, spices, peels, seeds or even rose petals. Each botanical brings different notes to the flavor profile.

Juniper legally is the only required botanical, Juniper adds some pine notes and lavender and a touch of heather.

Coriander is the second most commonly used ingredient and is used in a most of the premium gin brands. Spice pepper and some floral notes  predominate,depending on the source. Indian coriander has the most citric notes. Grains of Paradise also lends peppery and a chocolate note.

Angelica root lends a musty earthy note, but in a good way.  It balances the floral notes with its dry woody taste as well.  Orris root has violet and scented notes.  Cassia brings cinnamon tones to the mix. Anise is sometimes used for the slight licorice taste in some premium Gins.  Throw in nutmeg, fennel, vanilla and cloves as well.  The possible list of ingredients can be numbered in the hundreds.

Some producers use orange and citrus peels. Different peels are chosen to add different flavors. Citrus peels also work well with coriander.  Most of the producers try and keep their recipe as house secret, but if you know the basic profiles of the botanicals, you can figure out which botanicals are used.

Hendricks uses most of the botanicals as well as cucumber and rose. Bombay Sapphire as well as the common ingredients also uses Spanish lemon peel, and Cubeb Berries.These  berries have pine notes, which I taste as a background after taste. Tanqueray does not disclose their recipe other than listing, coriander and angelica. They are not quite so reluctant a let you know that Number ten has white grapefruit and chamomile. Plymouth Gin is not so shy in listing their mix of botanicals, they use fewer junipers and more sweet orange and lemon peels  ,which add more essential oils, along with the usual suspects of orrisroot and angelica. The citrus gives Plymouth its full-bodied fruity taste.  Aviation Gin as well as the regular stuff lists Indian Sarsaparilla as well which works well in some cocktails.

I think I need to mix a drink after all of this.


4 Drops of Angostura Bitters

2 Oz Gin

Swirl the bitters in a chilled Martin glass; add the gin, and a twist of lemon for garnish. Plymouth gin was the traditional brand for this cocktail but Hendricks works with the bitters as well. This drink was supposedly a favorite of the British Navy in the nineteenth century. There is the out form of this cocktail where the bitters are discarded after the swirl in the glass.

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Stag’s Hollow Winery at Water Street Cafe

I attended for the first time the other night one of the Water Street Cafe’s BC wine makers dinners. These are ongoing events at a so reasonably priced at $88 for five courses. With wine to match, hard to go wrong with that. The price is excellent for the quality of the food and service.

I was impressed by the excellent service and very relaxed feel of the dinner in one of their upstairs rooms. Unlike some other wine maker’s dinners, the courses were not just pulled from the regular menu, but Chef Alan Tse put together a five-course menu, from scratch to match the Stag’s Hollow wines. Match they did.  Winery owner Larry Gerelus was there to talk us through the wines. Larry is a very hands on in the fields kind of  winery owner and gave the reasons for planting and the wine making techniques for each wine.

The menu started with a “Saffron Mussel Broth” which was paired with Stag’s Hollow 2017 Albarino the wine with its acidity paired very well with the creamy broth. The Albarino has a nice amount of acidity and full mouth feel.  A great summer food wine or patio sipper.

The second course was “Duck Confit” Ravioli with juniper marinated duck confit, duck skin crackling, and house made ravioli. Presented very well. The juniper paired well with the florals on the wine. The wine pairing for this course was  a 2017 Dolcetto.  Medium  to full bodied, black fruit and earthy notes with some floral’s in the back ground. Stag’s Hollow are one of the few wineries I believe that bottle a Dolcetto in British Columbia. In a blind tasting  I would think that this was an Italian wine. Pizza  or red sauce’s wine for good pairings for this wine.

The third course “Stuffed Pepper” with fennel, sausage, rice, clams and shrimp. The wine pairing a 2015 Tempranillo  is full-bodied with red fruit.that is well-balanced with the acidity.  The fennel  the sausage and  the wine set each other off nicely.

The fourth course “Rib Eye”  with a shiitake and oyster mushroom medley. The wine pairing was a 2015 Renaissance Merlot, a great example of a British Columbia Merlot.  Full bodied lots of fruit and well-balanced integrated tannins, a perfect pairing for the rib eye and mushrooms.

The dessert course was truly inspired “Chocolate Cake” which was a lot more than the title suggests. Cheesecake stuffed fresh cherries, black forest cake, chocolate shavings and fresh berries. Stag’s Hollow Hart was served that is done as a port style wine. An  excellent pairing to end the evening off.

I will be definitely doing  more of these dinners if this one is an example of what they  can do.

Stag’s Hollow is a smaller British Columbia winery that was started in 1995  It produces 5000 to 7000 cases a year. A quote from their website Stag’s Hollow Winery .”It is important that we do as little winemaking as possible so that we don’t cover up the beautiful fruit we get to work with. This means that we only fine and filter when absolutely necessary and use little to no additives throughout the entire winemaking process. We want the purity of fruit to shine.”

The Water Street Cafe has been a Vancouver landmark since 1988. They have a very good selection of British Columbia wines by the glass and bottle and  selection of international wines. A great place to take out-of-town guest to try some of the great wines we have in British Columbia.

Posted in BC Wines and Wineries, Chocolate, food and wine pairing, Vancouver Resturants, wine tasting | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Wine News Articles For Today

An article on Bio wines

A blog post from the Grey Report on BC Wines

A write up on Canadian Wines from SouthChina Post

Decanter on how Elaborate wine descriptions improve taste

For Gin Day All about Gin What is in My Gin (Gin Botanicals)

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Le Vieux Pin The Equinoxe Series

34070 73rd and Black Sage Rd
Oliver, B.C. V0H 1T0

” Equinoxe: equal day, equal night. Equal old world, equal new world.”

The Equinoxe label  from Le Vieux Pin is a very limited production series, with total production ranging from one to three barrels in each vintage.  The winery uses two sorting tables, open top  oak fermentors and a small one ton basket press to produce these wines. The price point is indicative of the labor taken to craft them. They are, as the winery states, pricey.

Continue reading

Posted in barrels, BC Wines and Wineries, Cabernet Franc, canadian wines, Chardonnay, food and wine pairing, Le Vieux Pin, Le Viuex Pin, Merlot, oak, rhone wines, Syrah, VQA, wine tasting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards and Wines

Tinhorn Creek Vineyards
32830 Tinhorn Creek RD
Oliver BC V0H 1TQ

Tinhorn Creek

We are going to talk about of a couple of Tinhorn Creek wines and then Tinhorn’s environmental and sustainable efforts in both the vineyard and the winery. No matter how much effort you put into being green and sustainable, you still have to make good or great wines. So, first we are going to review a sampling of Tinhorn wines.

Chardonnay $17.99

We have probably drunk cases, maybe gallons of this wine sitting on decks in the Okanagan. We like this chard. A great summer sipper, it is what we look for in a Chardonnay. A lightly oaked, fruit forward wine.

Tech Stuff PH3.7, RS<2.0g/l, TA6.0, Acl 12.9% 15% new Oak 100% malolactic fermentation.

Cabernet Franc 2010 $19.99

 This is, for me, a great example of what British Columbia can do with Cabernet Franc. A varietally correct wine with dark fruit, tobacco, cedar and herb notes. A big Cab Franc with lots of tannins and a long finish. This wine has vintage variations making it interesting to try, year after year.

You know those days when you kick your shoes off, put your feet up and go ahhh. This is the bottle of wine to pair with that feeling.

Tech Stuff PH3.71, RS<2.0g/l, TA 6.0, Acl 13.9% , 2-3 year old American and French Oak barrels for 12 months.

Oldfield Series 2Bench Rose 2011 $22.99

If you are looking for a sweet Rose this is not it. This is a dry style rose with strawberry and some pepper and spice notes. We have tried to kill this wine with food pairings, to date with no success . Deep fried anchovies did not even faze it. Hot sauce and dim sum? A match. Peppered steak? Good with it. We can see why some restaurants are now serving this wine by the glass. Sorry, it is only sold at the winery, but if you join the wine club there is a discount. We bought a case late this spring and it is all gone.

Tech Stuff PH 3.42, RS <2.0g/l, TA 6.75G/l, Acl 12.9% 100% Cab Franc

The View From Tinhorn Creek

“The team at Tinhorn Creek Vineyards believe that as stewards of the land they must strive for a balance between agriculture and nature”

Tinhorn Creek was the very first Canadian winery to complete the Climate Smart Program and the first winery in Canada to be carbon neutral. The winery was also the first in the Okanagan to use bio diesel in all its tractors. Used barrels  are recycled.  The winery tanks are cleaned with a super efficient high-pressure system to reduce  water usage by 80%.

The bottles used are made from 50% reclaimed glass. All glass, cardboard and paper is recycled.

New Plantings with Drip Irrigation

To quote Andrew Moon, the goal is to manage the vineyards as naturally as possible. All grape residue from the wine making process is composted and used on the vineyards.

The winery plants vegetation in between rows to reduce erosion. No toxic baits  are used to control animal pests. All the vineyards have a buffer zone between the vines and sensitive areas .The winery is converting their overhead irrigation to drip in order to save water.

Prepping for new plantings and irrigation install

The winery also has taken a stewardship role. Tinhorn has been recognized by The Land Conservancy www.conservancy.bc.ca as a Conservation partner thanks, in part, to their Endangered Snake Protection Program. The winery has erected snake barrier fencing, which is about a foot high.  This keeps the snakes in their natural habitat which keeps them of roadways, thus drastically reducing their mortality rate.

The Snake Fence at Tinhorn Creek

Tinhorn staff, with much TLC, have replanted around 6000 native plants at the top of the vineyard to help with the Antelope Brush Habitat Restoration Program.

Tinhorn also supports the Boys and Girls Club of Canada with  2.5% of their annual income after taxes, exhibiting great corporate responsibility.

So, not only are these good wines to drink, but every time you do you are helping the environment as well. A quote from Tinhorn Creek: “We are stewards of the land and our relationships with them; people rely on us for their livelihoods and trust us to keep them safe; we must reduce our production of carbon and conserve the use of water, preserving the integrity of our watersheds”. Pretty much says it all.

Owners Sandra and Ken Oldfield with Bob and Barbera Shaunessy and Shaun Everest

Acreage 150 acres 100 Black Sage Bench, 50 Golden Mile

Year established 1993

Wine Maker Sandra Oldfield

Viticulturist Andrew Moon

Cases Produced 35,000

Tasting room  is open daily from 10am to 6pm from March 1st to December 31st and from 10am to 5pm January 2nd to February 28th.

Maps and Directions

Wine Club


by Frank Haddad

Posted in barrels, BC Wines and Wineries, Cabernet Franc, canadian wines, corks, food and wine pairing, oak, Rose, screw caps, Stelvin, Syrah, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment