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.

Lemongrass: Facts



  • 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.

Lemongrass: Nose

On the nose, lemongrass brings a light lemon scent with undertones of grapefruit.

Lemongrass: Taste

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.


One thought on “Lemongrass

  • December 23, 2014 at 4:24 am

    My favorite Gin with lemongrass is “Butler’s Lemongrass & Cardamon Gin”, it might be a little difficult to find (Master of Malt are good suppliers for this) but, it is interesting not just for the lemongrass flavor but the production methodology. The Gin is not redistilled with the botanicals like most, instead the botanicals are just put into the base spirit and left to infuse cold – two reasons to give this one a try if you get the opportunity.
    Regards, David Schofield


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