What would happen if I added Cascade hops, which give a great burst of floral and citrus to beer, to a bottle of gin? I couldn’t resist finding out as soon as that thought has buried itself into my brain.
I put a bottle of gin in the fridge. I didn’t want a pungent, nasty booze soup and I figured that putting hops into the gin when it’s fridge temperature would slow everything down and give me some control. There must be some kind of science to doing this but I didn’t know it, so just hoped for the best as I poured around 500ml of gin into a teapot, saving some back in case I over-hopped it and could dilute it back down. Then I added the hops, counting out 5 pellets and adding them in. I left them for two hours, then four, then six. When I wasn’t getting much hop flavour I added 5 more pellets and left them overnight, giving them a shake in the morning. Then I added 5 more pellets and gave it another 24 hours...
15 pellets and a day and a half later it was ready. The aroma was gin plus Cascade. Perfect. Just imagine that background grapefruit pith kick of Cascade. I double strained it to get rid of as much hop trub as possible and my slightly green-tinged hopped gin was ready to drink.
I made a G&T and added a slice of grapefruit to enhance the hop flavour, though it didn’t need it – the Cascade shone through the middle adding an extra bitterness and more wonderful aromatics to the drink.
Now I want to buy a case of gin and take a load of sealable bags and raid a hop store to see what other varieties could work... I’m thinking Citra or Amarillo, especially flowers, would be great. And I want to try a beer made with all the gin botanicals. Anyone made that? Imagine a wit made with juniper, citrus peel, liquorice, orris, cassia, angelica root (whatever those last three are...), vanilla, caraway, fennel, coriander, cardamom and other delicate herbs and spices and that’s what I want to drink this summer.