Lemongrass, less catchily known as cymbopogon ciratus, is the stalky, fresh taste of so much Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, famed for its fresh, lemony taste. There are two types of the plant in existence: West Indian, with long, spear-shaped leaves, and East Indian. Both are used interchangeably, though it is the former that has spread its way amongst the tropics.
Lemongrass has an incredibly distinctive taste, but it’s one you’d struggle to describe without sounding like a bit of an imbecile. What does lemon grass taste like? Grassy lemon, actually…
The leaves – more specifically, their oils – have a historic use in medicine; it’s been used to treat everything from high blood pressure, to convulsions, to rheumatism, fever and even fatigue. If you happen to have some of the oil lying around the house, dab it onto your skin next time you get a headache and it’ll help ease the burden.
The popularity of lemongrass as a gin botanical gas leaped in the past couple of years, with gins from across the world making great use of the huge aroma it offers. When distilled, it delivers a bright green, citrus nose with a zingy, ever so slightly candied feel. It’s vaguely medicinal, but brings a huge, crunching freshness to a gin. The smell translates, too; it’s so bright and overwhelming that it coats the tongue entirely, bringing a perfume like waxiness and the taste of fresh cut grass.
Gins in which lemongrass is evident to taste:
Bangkok made Iron Balls Gin makes great use of the botanical, as does Isfjord Arctic Gin. Asian inspired gins in particular love a bit of lemongrass, like Bobby’s Schiedam Dry Gin and Adnams Rising Sun. There’s Tanqueray 10, Edinburgh, Bass and Flinders…
Great examples where it’s a little more evident to detect on its own can be found in St. Giles Gin and Le Tribute, in which the botanical paints a particularly vivid picture.
…chopped into fine strands and drizzled over the top of an elaborate G&T.
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