Grains of Paradise

Gin Botanical: Grains of Paradise.

I have cooked with Grains of Paradise only a few times. The first time was when my son was learning about the Tudors, at school, and we ordered a load of odd spices like Long Pepper, Cubeb and Grains of Paradise from ebay. We made a few interesting pies and they’ve mostly loitered in the back of my spice cupboard ever since.

In preparation for today’s dram from the Botanical Ginvent Calendar, I threw some in tonight’s dinner. I also cooked salmon in gin, juniper, lime and black pepper, but that’s a different story.

In gin, the most well-known example that makes use of this botanical is Bombay Sapphire, but both Oxley and Monkey 47 (amongst others) include it in their recipes.

Grains of Paradise

Grains of Paradise

Grains of Paradise: Facts.

  • It’s thought that the presence of Grains of Paradise, in the natural diets of gorillas, has a cardio-protective effect. Apparently, gorillas in captivity are quite prone to heart conditions.
  • In Le Ménagier De Paris, a medieval guidebook published in France in 1393, on “a woman’s proper behaviour in marriage and running a household”, Grains of Paradise are recommended for improving the taste of wine that “tastes stale”.
  • The Roman natural philosopher, Pliny the Elder, referred to Grains of Paradise as “African Pepper”, but after Roman times, they faded into obscurity in Europe. However, in the 14th & 15th Centuries, in Europe, they became a popular substitute for black pepper.

Grains of Paradise: Nose.

Standing out from the base gin is a faint slightly-greenish pepperiness but not a lot else.

Grains of Paradise: Taste.

The addition of Grains of Paradise seems to enrich the gin, making all of the flavours a little more intense. The grains bring their own flavour too; a greenish-peppery taste with a warming, spicy, tingly mouth-feel. While the after-taste is fairly mild, it’s long-lasting, tingly and warming.


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