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Essential Journal

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A Turncoats Thoughts On: Flavoured Gin

Turncoat Gin’s head distiller-turned-rebel gives his two cents on the finer details of flavoured gin

‘Got any flavoured gin?’ It’s an oft-repeated question, one that’s likely met with a fair bit of eye-rolling and tongue-biting by your local bartender. That’s fair. After all, flavoured gin was seen as a little gimmicky for the longest time; a novel but ultimately overpowering affair with enough sugar in it to rot a tooth or two. But there is a charm and a nuance to a gin that embraces new flavours beyond the botanical.

We like to think of our humble collection of gins as a celebration of that charm and nuance. Our Cascade Gin is a big, bold blend of pine, citrus, and floral notes. Our Dragon Tears Gin is a full bodied but naturally sweet jasmine infusion. Our latest gin, Our Man in Sicily, is a light, lemon-forward affair fit for the warmer months.

But here’s the thing: We don’t flavour our gins. Not to sound too pretentious, but it’s a point well worth making. So I’ll say it again: We don’t flavour our gins. We simply distil them with a range of botanicals. That’s what creates our flavours.

How does that differ from the mainstream, you ask? Well, what most large-scale distilleries do – and this is by no means a criticism (who knows, maybe we’ll do it one day) – is mass produce a base gin. They make stockpiles of the stuff, and then add their new range of flavours after-the-fact.

That’s not how we do things. Each of our gins is totally bespoke. Tailor-made. They wouldn’t work any other way. Take Our man in Sicily, for example. Lemons are pretty difficult to deal with at the forefront of a gin: You either overdo it and wind up with a limoncello, or else risk drowning the subtle lemon notes in juniper. Bottom line? We have to tweak the botanicals in each expression to tease out the desired notes. No shoehorning of flavours, no mass batching of base spirits, just good, old small-batch distillation.

Why do we do it this way? Well, for one thing, we’re tiny: We simply don’t have the space for all that base gin. But to be honest, that’s exactly how we like it. It keeps our eyes on the finer details and it lets us maintain that charm and nuance we care so much about.

It’s a funny thing, talking about yourself. Sometimes, showing pride in your own product means inadvertently judging someone else’s. Again, that’s not how we do things. It’s not about being pretentious. It’s not about pontificating or lecturing. And it’s certainly not about criticising others. After all, small-batch or big-box, local or international, flavoured or infused, we all share the same space on the shelf.