Gin brands have adopted a number of different strategies to stand out in a crowded market. Terrifyingly technicolour liquids catch the eye (and possibly assault the palate); funky flavour combinations that mask the spirit’s juniper base are dubbed ‘innovation’.
But Salcombe Gin has taken a different route to distinguish its newest release. The brand has collaborated with chef Michael Caines to launch Arabella, a gin that, according to Salcombe, reflects Caines’ culinary style of layering flavours.
Arabella promises a strong backbone of juniper, along with citrus, coriander and the less expected additions of almonds and green cardamom. However, the gin’s major point of difference is its marriage of the culinary world and the realm of drinks – a trend that more and more bars are taking advantage of to maximise creativity, efficiency and sustainability.
‘It was interesting to see how a renowned chef’s approach to balancing flavours and aromas compared to our approach when developing our gins,’ said Salcombe co-founder Angus Lugsdin.
‘For Michael it was about layering complex flavours whilst retaining balance and exercising restraint, so one flavour didn’t overly overpower another.
‘The initial batches were quite complex with multiple layers of flavour, but we pared it back a little to develop a sound base that had the right profile and then built on that, adding some botanicals to bring others to the fore.’
Arabella is the first in a line of gins that Salcombe has called the Voyager Series, which will see the brand working with chefs and winemakers to produce liquids that reflect their individual style.
For Salcombe, the collection is an opportunity to more closely examine the relationship between food and drink.
‘From our perspective, there is an increasing interest in pairing spirits with food in place of wine or beer,’ commented Lugsdin.
‘This helps develop the style of gin and the thought that goes into the recipe development and how best to bring the flavours and aromas of specific botanicals to the fore to pair with certain foods.
‘Some foods and ingredients work really well together, so it is interesting to try and replicate those marriages in a spirit and then pair the spirit with food, so that they complement each other.’