The Bitter Truth launches pink gin to take the category ‘back to basics’

Kate Malczewski

Kate Malczewski

02 October 2018

You’d be forgiven for thinking that pink gin is the (questionably) juniper-kissed cousin of fruit-flavoured vodka, but The Bitter Truth is bringing its take on rose-hued gin to the UK to convince you otherwise.

The German company Bitter Truth, known for its selection of cocktail bitters, has modelled its liquid after the first pink gins. These early renditions of the now-trendy spirit gained their colour from bitters rather than fruit.

‘Pink gin was a drink created by sailors of the British Navy and contained gin, water and bitters, which were originally designed as medicine,’ explained Bitter Truth co-founder Alexander Hauck.

Hauck and his business partner Stephan Berg have created a bitters recipe especially for their pink gin.

‘We still make our bitters the traditional way by macerating roots, herbs, seeds, barks and fruits in an alcohol base,’ said Hauck. ‘During maceration not only are all the rich flavours from the ingredients extracted, but also components which add sweetness and a certain texture to the bitters.

‘The original pink gin was more of a well-balanced, complex and pink-tinged Old Fashioned gin cocktail than a flavoured gin. It is not possible to achieve the same flavour profile by distilling the bitters ingredients with the gin botanicals.’

On the nose, The Bitter Truth’s pink gin is floral, as you might expect from something the colour of your grandmother’s garden. But it does have a distinctly different flavour from many of the other pink expressions on the market: a slight candied fruit quality – think sugared pineapple and cherries – gives way to spiciness, minty eucalyptus notes and piney juniper, with a powdery and drying mouthfeel.

‘Most modern pink gins don’t follow the classic recipe – gin and bitters,’ Hauck commented. ‘Even though they claim to be inspired by it I’ve never heard of or tasted a raspberry- or strawberry-flavoured pink gin from the 1800s.

‘I guess these fruit-flavoured gins are made to comply with a new group of – mainly young – customers, for whom they're more appealing than classic gins. It’s of course legitimate to come up with a new, modern interpretation of pink gin, but very often the fruit flavour is repressing the gin. And of course [producers of fruity pink gins] can’t refer to the beautiful origin story!’

Previously available only through Harvey Nichols, The Bitter Truth Pink Gin is now being distributed nationwide to the on-trade.

40% abv, RRP £37/70cl, Love Drinks

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