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Hendrick’s turns to gin’s “botanical cousin” with absinthe launch

Published:  14 November, 2019

Hendrick’s is looking to bring the green fairy back into fashion.

Better known these days as the favourite tipple of goth rocker Marilyn Manson and hedonistic luminaries like Toulouse Lautrec, the spirit has proved too much for some modern drinkers, which starts at 45% abv and can go anywhere up to an eye-watering 74%.

But Hendrick’s, which is better known for its cucumber-infused gin, is hoping to change that with the launch of Hendrick’s Absinthe, an updated version of the historic spirit which brings the abv down to a sprightly 48% abv.

The “category busting move” comes via experimentation from Hendrick’s master distiller, Lesley Gracie, at Hendrick’s Gin Palace inside William Grant & Sons’ site in Girvan, Scotland.

While the new launch is “categorically not gin”, the brand said the two botanical spirits are “almost made for each other”.

“Absinthe has this incredibly rich history steeped in mystery and was for many years feared but it really shouldn’t be, it is such an amazing liquid,” Gracie said.

“Absinthe is really a cousin to gin, in that it is a botanically flavoured spirit, just with a different palette of botanicals to play with. It conjures up images of the strange and the surreal and so is perfectly at home in our playground at the Hendrick’s Gin Palace.”

The new launch takes traditional absinthe botanicals wormwood and star anise, and adds five new ones, including the rose and cucumber favoured by Hendrick’s.

Gracie said she has been playing with star anise “for years” and felt the time was right to use it with a Hendrick’s twist.

“I added the rose and cucumber we put into Hendrick’s gin – the rose adds a floral element and the cucumber a fresh dimension, which you don’t necessarily expect from an absinthe,” she said.

It’s being aimed at UK bartenders with no colour added to ensure mixability.

Ally Martin, global brand ambassador for Hendrick’s said: “The world has moved on a lot since the heyday of absinthe and it’s high time for this spirit to once again find its home in the heart of creativity, in some of the world’s best bars. We’ve reimagined absinthe as an incredibly complex, unique and interesting spirit. Not one to be feared for its strength but to be used as a core component of today’s array of contemporary, refreshing cocktails”.

The first batch will be a limited edition run of 4,000 bottles available exclusively to the UK on-trade.