Gin Botanical: Rosemary
I vandalise rosemary plants; if I walk past one, I can’t resist tearing a sprig off to smell. I’ve pulled-out a winter-coat at the end of summer before and found a dried rosemary sprig in the pocket. I have one in the weed-patch that masquerades as a herb-garden and it struggles along next to the dead mint (I know, I killed mint).
Rosemary is getting a lot of traction as a garnish or as an infusion in gin drinks and there are few gin that count it among their botanicals, including Gin Mare and Boodles.
- Rosemary has a historic association with memory and remembrance. It would be thrown into graves as a symbol of remembrance at funerals, and worn on lapels at ceremonies at war memorials. Rosemary is mentioned in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.”
- In the Middle Ages, rosemary was associated with weddings and love. It would be worn by the bride,groom and guests at wedding ceremonies. Newly-weds would also plant a cutting on their wedding day; if it grew and thrived, it was seem as a good omen for the marriage. Rosemary was also used to divine love; several sprigs would be planted and given the names of potential suitors – the one which grew fastest showed which potential partner would be best suited for a long and happy union.
- An extract of rosemary has been shown to prolong the shelf-life of Omega-3 oils, which are prone to oxidisation (going rancid).
As a botanical, rosemary brings a strong burning sensation in the nose and a mildly savoury, herbaceous undertone. There’s a slightly salty aroma too.
Rosemary seems to increase the sweetness, and oiliness, of the attack and the burning heat of the finish. The finish really lingers. There’s a slight aromatic, resinous, herbal note that loiters around the mid-palate.
Like many of the pungent herb botanicals, it seems that rosemary doesn’t add as much as to the nose or taste as one might expect.