Caraway is a plant native to western Asia, Europe and northern Africa. The plant stems grow one and a half – to two feet high, and flower in June. The fruits of the flower – commonly, and incorrectly, referred to as seeds – are said to ease gas, but they’re most commonly used as flavouring in food, sweets and spirits.
The cultivation of caraway is more restricted than it’s wild growth would attest – it grows in Canada and the United States, for example, though neither country grows it as a field of garden crop. In fact, cultivation comes from almost exclusively from Europe and North Africa.
Caraway has its place in history – its use is believed to have begun with the ancient Arabs and it has its name in the works of Shakespeare. In old times, caraway was though to hold the gift of retention – the theft of any object which contained it would hold the thief in custody in the invaded house. Similarly, as an ingredient it is part of many a love potion, thought to prevent lovers from becoming fickle.
Caraway has a peppery, menthol taste on the tongue and adds a real freshness to gin. After the initial minty hint has diminished, the flavour gives way to a taste not unlike sunflower seeds.
Gins where Caraway is noticeable to taste:
Hendrick’s Gin has caraway however, you’ll have to have a nose like a blood hound to discern it in there. In, The Bitter Truth Pink Gin it’s a little more prominent. While not Caraway per se, Monkey 47’s Distiller’s Cut 2015 has a huge dose of Spignel, which shares many similar properties.
…In liqueur form. Kummel is a popular, sweet German caraway liqeur and if you’re into caraway – or at least curious – it’s worth trying. Add a slug to a gin like The Bitter Truth Pink Gin and top up with soda.
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