It has been quite a while since I wrote about the Windspiel Gin from the German Eifel region. The special feature of the company behind this product, the Windspiel Manufaktur GmbH, is the potato base, which is also reflected in the taste profile and mildness of the distillate. And while the Windspiel Gin has always convinced me until the present day, I now want to take a closer look at a bottle that takes a slightly different path. (provided test product)*
I am talking about the Windspiel “Kraut & Knolle” (which means something like “herb and tuber”). When I first read the name “Kraut & Knolle”, I thought of some kind of herbal spirit made without juniper. Admittedly, that wouldn’t have been very different from a gin (and if you consider most New Western Dry Gins, it might also have been hard to tell them apart). However, I was wrong, because the Windspiel Kraut & Knolle is basically an herbal digestif or a “premium herbal spirit” as the label tells us (translated from German). I can’t really say whether the term “herbal liqueur” is appropriate in the course of this product, despite research, because the term is at least not used by the manufacturer in the course of the product marketing or the bottle label. Legally, a liqueur must contain at least 100g of sugar per litre, so it is of course possible to stay below this threshold and deliberately avoid the term. In a colloquial sense, however, you can certainly speak of an herbal liqueur if you want to get an idea of what this product is.
The digestif is bottled with an ABV of 36% vol. and is made from a basis of potato booze, mixed with sugar and numerous herbs and spices. It is a mixture of regional and exotic herbs including chamomile, blossoms of mulleins, amber, cinnamon, cardamom, oranges, cherries, walnuts, nettles, spruce needles and meadow hay. Others fall under the secret of the recipe.
Aroma: There’s definitely a lot in here. A whole potpourri of spice and herbal notes is rising. Cloves, juniper, some anise, cinnamon, the full load of gingerbread or speculoos that is ubiquitous at this time of the year. In addition, there is a certain orange note, lemon peel, gentian and actually some cola.
Taste: On the palate, I first find the orange wrapped in a very pleasant, not overwhelming sweetness. Behind it comes the clove, the cinnamon, the juniper and the gentian. Over time the impression of gingerbread becomes more and more solid, liquorice and a delicate bitter note introduce the finish.
Finish: rather bitter and spicy with a fine sweetness and a long finish of orange peel.
The spicy and orange notes were the reason for me to try a cola-based highball. For this I have opted for the Red Bull Organics Cola as the basic product (I have written an article about the other three Red Bull Organics products here), as this cola already has very pronounced spice notes and fits in well with the drink. Together with some lemon juice and an Italian Punta e Mes you’ll get a spicy, fresh and multi-layered highball drink called “Kraut, Knolle & Cola”.
Recipe “Kraut, Knolle & Cola”:
4 cl Windspiel Kraut & Knolle
2 cl Punt e Mes
2.5 cl lemon juice
1 cl sugar syrup
1 Dash By the Dutch Ginger Bitters
1 Dash By the Dutch Classic Bitters
Red Bull Cola
Preparation: Stir all ingredients except Cola in a Highball glass on ice and finally float with Cola.
Garnish: a twig of southern wormwood and an orange zest
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online, for example at Conalco.
*The bottle for this review was provided to me by the Conalco Spirituosen UG. The fact that this product has been sent to me free of charge for editorial purposes does not – in any way – imply any influence on the content of this article or my rating. On the contrary, it is always an indispensable condition for me to be able to review without any external influence.