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October 18, 2018

Gin and tonic without the tonic: Quinine gin Orbium launched by Hendrick’s

By Priya Kantaria

Orbium, the latest release from Hendrick’s, is a quinine gin that promises the taste of a classic gin and tonic without the tonic.

The company showcased Orbium at Harvey Nichols’ Knightsbridge store, which Hendrick’s called a “world of Tini surprises and big delights”. The night was set up on an “Alice in Wonderland scale”, with miniature martinis, canapés and a miniature grand piano.

A side salon introduced guests to “the parallel universe of Orbium”, the darker side of the Hendrick’s experience.

Same popular Hendrick’s distillation

Hendrick’s described the idea behind its latest spirit: “Orbium contains the same distillates as Hendrick’s Gin, however, the same remarkable mind that broke conventions by infusing gin with essences of cucumber and rose has now taken gin in an altogether new direction by infusing flavours that are traditionally associated with classic gin libations; quinine found in tonic (Gin & Tonic) and wormwood found in Vermouth (Martini Cocktail).”

Quinine gin: ingredient adds bite

The quinine is the most distinctive flavour in Orbium, with a particularly bitter taste and aftertaste. The bitter flavour is often associated with a classic gin and tonic because quinine is a classic ingredient in tonic water and Indian tonic water in particular, where it was originally added to protect against malaria.

Tonic water now often has other flavours too, such citrus or elderflower.

Quinine in Orbium means the popular flavour of a G&T can be found without the watering down of soda.

Wormwood found in Vermouth

Vermouth is added to gin to make a martini cocktail, served dirty with olive brine, or “with a twist” of lemon peel.

The cocktail can be dry, perfect or wet, where a dry martini does not mean more dry vermouth, it means less vermouth and a wet martini has more dry vermouth. The classic martini is made up of equal parts gin and vermouth and is quite wet, while a perfect martini is made with equal parts dry and sweet vermouth.

Hendrick’s served up Orbium with semi-sweet vermouth rosso, giving it a red glow and a spicy, sweet taste, like a Negroni but without the Campari.

The “same iconic apothecary style bottle” in blue

The blue lotus blossom in Orbium is described by Hendrick’s as balancing the overall flavour. It also matches the dark blue of the bottle, though the gin itself is colourless.

The Hendrick’s gin distillery

The distillers of Hendrick’s gin, William Grant & Sons are independent and family-owned, headquartered in the UK and founded by William Grant in 1887. The fifth generation of his family run the spirits company now and they also distil single malt whisky Glenfiddich, spiced rum Sailor Jerry, and others.

Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge now stocks Orbium and other premium brands like Sakurao. The luxury retailer recently sold all its stock of Sakurao to a single customer.

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