Gin Botanical: Lemongrass
I’ve tried cooking with lemongrass a few times, with little success. It’s put to heavy use in Fentiman’s Tonic Water and, as a gin botanical, it makes an appearance in Bombay Sapphire East, Farmer’s Gin and Monkey 47.
- The oils in lemongrass are a potent insect repellent and lemongrass can be grown as a companion crop, to allow plants like tomato and broccoli to grow unmolested by pests.
- Lemongrass oils are also strongly antiseptic and anti-fungal, and is also hydrophobic and a lubricant; these properties see it used to preserve ancient palm-leaf manuscripts, in India.
- Medicinally, lemongrass is important in Ayurvedic medicine where an infusion of lemongrass is used to relieve coughs and nasal congestion. Given that my flu-like symptoms have evolved into full-blown raging flu and bronchitis overnight, this seems like serendipitous timing.
On the nose, lemongrass brings a light lemon scent with undertones of grapefruit.
In the mouth, the lemongrass botanical is surprisingly good. It offers the same light, airy lemon seen in the nose but with a dry hay-like quality; this surprised me, as, being “fresh lemongrass” I was expecting less hay and more green-grass. The finish has a dry astringency which remains fresh to the end. The grassy note does build, over successive sips, in the lingering finish.
On the way down, the first sip also burned like a child-born-outside-wedlock, but I suspect that was more to do with my incredibly raw throat than the presence of lemongrass as a botanical.