There’s an interesting link between beer and gin. A number of brewers I know are just as fascinated by the juniper stuff, as they are by the stuff they make themselves. I think in part it’s because whilst both follow a basic recipe, there’s a point at which science meets creativity, where ideas and flavours come together into something delicious.
And even the processes themselves are subject to tweaking and changing. Long slow distillation will affect the flavour, as much as the water you add in afterwards – much the same as cold brewing a beer, or using a different yeast will have an effect on the finished flavour. Both are (as many other things) a beautiful combination of science and artistry. Probably why I like them so much.
So maybe it’s no surprise that after the popularity of their Sleeping Lemons beer, Wild Beer decided that these flavours would make a rather good gin. As a big fan of citrus flavours, it had to go on my shopping list.
I may have also waffled about buying it so much that Mr GFB heard and pre-empted my brthday by buying me a bottle too. So now I have two bottles.
Good job it’s bloody delicious really then isn’t it?
The gin, and the beer are based around preserved lemons. Those deliciously salty, sour, sharp lemons (primarily from Morocco) that are often added to tagines, tabbouleh and salad dishes. And their name, L’hamd Marakad, literally means ‘sleeping lemons’ – so naming both the beer and the gin was easy.
In a collaboration with Psychopomp Microdistillery in Bristol, it uses a British wheat base spirit and an intriguing botanical base that uses juniper, coriander, angelica, liquorice, lemongrass, lemon verbena, lemon zest, preserved lemons and caper berries. After distillation, it is then finished with a brine solution to give it a salty zesty kick.
When I opened the bottle, the scent of lemon immediately hit the air. I’ve long been a fan of Malfy Gin, simply because it’s layers and layers of lemons. Whereas Malfy is lemon meringue pie and sherbet lemons, this more savoury, salty gin is a different beast altogether.
It’s a little bit more grown up.
On the nose, it’s punchy citrus! As you’d expect under all that lemon, the juniper definitely takes a back seat, this is citrus heaven. Sherbet, sharpness, coriander, hints of herbals.
And on the palate lemons, lemon sherbet, sharp, salty, the lemon verbena comes through with it’s distinct green sherbet notes, the coriander with it’s round soft lemon.
When it came to the G&T we had a play around. Whilst the recommendation for the garnish is a slice of lemon, it’s just delicious with ginger too, and pink peppercorns.
I suspect it would also work with green olives, a mix of citrus and even chilli. There are so many layers to the lemon that it can stand up to a multitude of flavours, I may even try some rosemary in it later, and I think it’s just crying out to be made into a Tom Collins.
I’ve already used it as a base for a very light risotto dish, with summer vegetables – switching out the white wine for a smaller shot of gin. It works really well.
Overall, my personal gin collection – my favourites shelf – is actually pretty limited. I have a lot of gins I love, but there are a few that I do not share unless I really, really love you.
I’ve had to make a bit more room.