When Hendrick’s was first released in 1999, it was a revolutionary product. It’s hard to forget all those steampunk-y Hendrick’s Gin commercials and their declarations of how odd, curious, and unusual it was. And it was! Instead of the piney bite of a traditional gin, they toned down the juniper and infused it with refreshing cucumber and rose. It was delicious and easy to enjoy, and turned loads of folks on to gin, or at the very least turned them into Hendrick’s drinkers.
Twenty years later, the new Limited Release Hendrick’s Orbium Gin has made its way from Scotland to the US. If the original was meant to add non-gin drinkers to the fold, Orbium seems to have been created for gin connoisseurs.
The base is classic Hendrick’s, full of bright lemon zest, a touch of black pepper, and that signature cucumber. In a brilliant turn, Master Distiller Lesley Gracie seems to have drawn inspiration from two of the most beloved Hendrick’s cocktail recipes – the Martini and the Hendrick’s and Tonic.
The vermouth required to make a Martini famously contains wormwood, and all tonic waters include quinine. By infusing extracts of quinine and wormwood right into the Hendrick's Orbium Gin, the same flavors that come together in cocktail form are layered right into the bottle.
This more complex and sophisticated version of Hendrick’s includes a slight bitterness from the quinine and light earthy notes from the wormwood. And just as the original softened gin’s strong piney flavors with cucumber and rose, Orbium uses the bright and floral flavors of blue lotus blossom to keep everything well balanced.
What gin cocktail recipes should you make with Orbium Gin? Start by mixing up a twist on each of the cocktail inspirations. Instead of a dry vermouth Martini, make your Martini with 2 1/2 oz of Hendrick’s Orbium Gin and a 1/2 oz of a blanc vermouth. In contrast to a more pungent dry vermouth, blancs tend to have a mild herbiness, yummy stone fruit notes, and some sweetness. The newly resurrected Comoz is very lightly sweet and is one of our favorites right now. Garnish this one up with a lemon twist.
Then try a Hendrick’s & Tonic, or rather Hendrick’s & Soda. Since the gin already has the main tonic ingredient, replace it with your favorite sparkling water, garnish with a cucumber slice, and away you go. It’s still super refreshing, with a nice light bitterness, and as a bonus you’ve eliminated all the sugar from the tonic water!
Orbium is a Limited Release, so act quick if you’d like to add a bottle to your home bar. The initial run was only 4,000 bottles, we’re trying to find out if they’ve made more – we do know it was only sold to bars and restaurants at first so they might be trying to keep tabs on a smallish supply.
There’s one other question we get pretty often. Is Hendrick’s gluten free? The spirit used to make Hendrick’s is a neutral base, distilled from wheat. If you prefer to avoid spirits made from gluten containing ingredients, gin producers are also distilling from grape, corn, and sugarcane.