Gin drinkers have a wealth of botanical flavor profiles on the market to choose from, but one bottle inspires mixologists to get creative with cocktails and play on the floral side of the spectrum: Hendrick’s Gin. Marketing itself as “a gin made oddly,” Hendrick’s launched in southwestern Scotland in 1999 and rapidly became a household name stateside.
Today, the brand needs no introduction. But if you think you know everything about Hendrick’s, think again. Here are 11 things you might not know about this curious brand.
It Takes Two Different Stills To Give Hendrick’s Its Unique Flavor.
Hendrick’s uses two stills to make its gin. The Bennet is a traditional copper pot variety that can be found at many distilleries. The second is a rare Carterhead still from 1948 (only a handful remain today), which uses a copper basket to hold botanicals during distillation. Combining the two techniques gives the brand its smooth, subtle distinction.
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Hendrick’s Is Younger Than It Looks.
The Bennet Still used to make Hendrick’s Gin was made in 1860 in London — 139 years before Hendrick’s started. The brand’s unique apothecary bottles and use of Victorian-era themes in its marketing efforts bely the firm’s youth.
Its Distillery Is Built For a Queen.
As a leader in gin innovation, it is fitting that Hendrick’s is made in a distillery aptly named Hendrick’s Gin Palace, built in the style of a Victorian Palm House. The grounds are surrounded by lush gardens and greenhouses containing botanicals from around the world.
Hendrick’s Is Produced Liter By Loving Liter.
Committed to small batch, high-quality gin, Hendrick’s master distiller Lesley Gracie, makes only 500 liters at a time to control production. She supervises the distillation of every single drop produced to ensure each bottle passes her strict standards.
Its Distiller Had A Flavorful Youth.
Gracie, as the story goes, has been interested in botanical flavors since the age of four. As a youngster, she brewed up teas from various plants and twigs and served the concoctions to her family.
It Took 11 Years To Perfect Hendrick’s Secret Recipe.
Charles Gordon, who owned the Hendrick’s stills, brought Gracie on to craft the brand’s oh-so-secret recipe in 1988. It wasn’t until 1999 that the cucumber and rose infusion clicked and Hendrick’s Gin was born. Gracie is one of only four people to know the exact formula.
For Hendrick’s, 13 Is a Lucky Number.
Hendrick’s unique flavor comes from its use of 13 ingredients: Bulgarian roses, cucumbers, and 11 botanicals, including juniper, coriander, orange, lemon, angelic, orris root, cubeb berries, caraway seeds, chamomile, elderflower, and yarrow.
Hendrick’s May Be British, But It’s Not a London Dry
The process of infusing the cucumber and rose oils post-distillation defines the product as a distilled gin. To be labeled London Dry, all botanical ingredients must be distilled together.
It Has Surprising Ties to Scotch Whisky.
William Grant & Sons makes Hendrick’s, but is perhaps more famous for Scotch and Irish whisky brands Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Monkey Shoulder, Drambuie, and Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey.
Hendrick’s Was Named By The Oldest Woman In Scotland.
Gracie created the recipe, but it was the oldest member of the William Grant family, Janet Sheed Roberts, who named the gin after an expert family gardener, Hendrick. Roberts was 110 when she died in 2012, which made her the oldest woman in Scotland at the time.
Look For Hendrick’s Limited Edition Releases.
Selections from the company’s “Cabinet of Curiosities” are available from time-to-time in limited quantities. Lunar gin, with flowery notes and hints of warm baking spices is the brand’s most recent release. Also found on shelves are Midsummer Solstice, based on bridal flower bouquets, as well as a zesty, bitter twist on the original recipe, Orbium, highlighting quinine, wormwood, and lotus blossom.