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.
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.