Gin Botanical: Nutmeg
Nutmeg is a distinctly pungent spice that I cook with quite often; it goes in well in cheese sauces and flavours ham when I boil one up.
- One of the constituents of nutmeg, Myristicin, is a toxin which can cause hallucinations, nausia, vomiting, tachycardia and a whole host of other unleasant symptoms. Fatal poisonings are exceptionally rare in humans and nutmeg is considered safe in culinary quantities. However, Myristicin is particulary toxic to dogs, so don’t feed your dog eggnog!
- Nutmeg has a bloody past, with the Dutch and English fighting to control the island of Banda, the only known source of nutmeg. The dutch slaughtered and enslaved the inhabitants of Banda to secure production, and kept nutmeg prices artificially high by burning whole warehouses of the stuff.
- During Elizabethan times, as with many aromatic plant materials, nutmeg was thought to ward-off the plague.
On the nose, there is little to detect. The aroma might be a little sweeter than the base gin but I might be imagining that.
Nutmeg seems to be more of an effect than a flavour; it seems to round-out the base gin, blunting the harsher notes and harmonising the other botanicals. The after-taste seems to be drier, too. As well as this effect, there seems to be an extra dimension of peppery woodiness that is more evident in the mid-palate and after-taste.
As with cinnamon, I am a little underwhelmed by nutmeg; for such a strong, pungent spice, very little is carried across to the resulting gin; I was expecting more.