September 9, 2019
The colour blue has had a long and fascinating history. While blue is one of the primary colours, and the top ‘favourite’ colour of people around the world, blue also has many meanings as a colour. It’s used to represent the sky and the sea—air and water, two of the basic elements of life. Blue is also calming, soothing and relaxing.
Blue, then, is an interesting choice for your gin. Epitaph Gin, made by Alberta’s Troubled Monk Brewery stands out on the shelf precisely because of its colour.
“It’s a plant called butterfly pea flower that makes it blue,” explains Charlie Bredo, co-founder of Troubled Monk. “It’s just this little purple flower. We have a lady that helps us develop products that uses it in her tea. It's really cool, so we thought we’d try it out. And when the pH of whatever it’s in changes, it turns color. So when you add tonic into your gin, it'll turn a violet or purple colour.”
It was important to Bredo that the gin not be simply fun in the bottle and mediocre in the glass.
“We didn’t want something that would just be gimmicky and colour changing,” recalls Bredo of their product development phase. “We wanted the gin to be great all on its own. We actually won a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits competition with this gin in 2019. So, it's good that we can say, "Hey, this gin looks really cool and it's awesome, but it also tastes amazing.”
Bredo says Epitaph Gin’s aroma pops with juniper, coriander and extra citrus notes from the fresh lemon zest that’s peeled by hand. Some delicate floral tones rise up and are followed by a bit of peppery earthiness. The taste is floral, citrus and juniper with more pepper, and earthy roots on the finish.
So is it a bit odd that a brewery known for their tasty, malty beers, is now expanding into gin? Not at all, says Bredo.
“We’re proud of our beer, but sometimes it’s fun to experiment with other beverages. While a lot of breweries will actually try making a vodka, we really wanted to do a gin because you can experiment so much more with the flavour profiles. With Epitaph Gin, we spent a lot of time perfecting the recipe. Once the gin is distilled, we soak the butterfly pea flower in it to give it its colour, so that colouring is 100% natural, and it doesn’t affect the taste at all.”
Blue is probably a great choice for this gin. Straight up, in a martini, it has a soothing effect in the glass. Mixed into tonic, the lavender hue stands out on the table. Use it in a French 75 cocktail with some lemon juice, simple syrup and a splash of bubbly, and it’s an attention-getting evening starter for your next dinner party.
Troubled Monk has been supplying beverages to Co-op Wine Spirits Beer for a couple of years, and that includes the brewery’s beers as well as hard ice tea.
“Co-op is just fantastic. We work really closely with them, and it's a great relationship. Co-op has been amazing at supporting local, they're local-minded. It's just a perfect fit between a Co-op and a craft beverage maker like us.”
Find Epitaph Gin at your local Calgary Co-op Wine Spirits Beer store.
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