Escubac sits somewhere between gin, aquavit, and herbal liqueurs in terms of flavour and style. It’s inspired by an old Tudor recipe for an elixir called Royal Usquebaugh, which originated in England but was later adopted by the French, who renamed it escubac. The spirit became obsolete in the early 20th century and stayed that way until 2015 when Sweetdram Distillery revived it as a unique, delicious gin-alternative for the modern drinker.
For this Escubac – the only version to still exist today – they first macerate 14 botanicals, including caraway, nutmeg, citrus, and cardamom, in spirit for 72 hours before distilling that mixture slowly in a pot still. The clean, intensely aromatic spirit is then steeped with raisins and vanilla for a further 72 hours. Finally, Sweetdram colors it using arguably the most critical ingredient of the original recipes: saffron. Alchemists in the 16th century, who nicknamed the elixir ‘liquid gold’, believed it embodied the healing powers of the sun – and could even pass them on to the lucky drinker! Bottled at 34% abv.