A gin that tastes the sun
When opening the Maison Livernois, in May I knew we would have to be ready for a great terrace season. So I built our first Gin with just that in mind. I knew our terrace would be filled with tourists spending their day walking the city under the sun. The beauty of creating a spirit for a specific occasion or moment allows you to imagine a drink and create from there. I imagined a tall glass full of ice with lemon slices and cold sparkling water.
This sight brought me back to the south of France, on a hot afternoon. So I went for lemon and thyme. I wanted something basic, refreshing with a peppery kick. The thing about this drink is if I was going to have lots of fresh lemon in it, I needed to lay low on the lemon in the gin and create a spirit that would balance well in the glass. So I went for limes but not any kind. I used dried whole limes and kafir limes. The dried ones are actually toasted and the inside is toasted, which gives it deeper notes. I crushed them and put them at the bottom of the botanical basket. Along with it went the kafir zest, this Asian lime smells ten times like a regular lime but is less acidic. To start working on the citrus balance I put a little bit of dried lemon zest to the bottom as well. And then I went on with the peppery notes like dried ginger roots and sansho pepper (pepper with citrus notes), they both bring the whole profile together, in my mind there would be something missing without them.
When you build your gin basket you want to work with layers cause flavors don’t react the same when the still is boiling and ethanol vapors are blown through the column. Some need high heat and some medium heat so you want the botanicals in need of some high heat and humidity to be at the bottom of the basket and the rest on top. I used Lavender because Lavender is always associated with Parisian Macarons so it has a sweet, patisserie flavor. Bringing us to the top of the basket I mixed together Thyme, lavender, and cardamom to create the top notes of the gin. Cardamom freshens the blend.
People often ask me how I create my blends and the answer is quite simple. I work Gin the same way I would create a perfume. I was fortunate enough to undertake a perfumery training in 2017 in Grasse (South of France), the world capital of perfumes with Gallimard, one of the oldest perfumery in the world (1747). It was a one on one training with a “nose” or perfume creator. To build a perfume you first create the deep notes (the ones that stay for the day on your skin, heavy notes), then the heart notes (the ones that balance the perfume, that blend everything together) and finally the top notes (lighter notes, the ones you smell for the first hour then disappear). That’s how I see Gin and that’s how I create them.