It’s been a long time since I wrote about a gin here on the blog whose botanicals included hops. And until today, hops are not really a common ingredient in the production of a gin, although I have quite positive memories of my first experience of this kind. Today again, I have a gin in front of me that states already unmistakable on the bottle itself: I am a hop gin! A German hop gin which is made with Bitburger Siegelhopfen to be precise.
(provided test product)*
When you hear the term Bitburger Siegelhopfen (Seal hops) at least in Germany it’s clear what most people will probably think of first. The term is a household name due to advertising and decades of notable market share for the Bitburger Brewery. However, Gin 8, the name of the gin we are talking about here today, is not released by the Bitburger Brewery, but by Andreas Dick from Holsthum, a hop farmer and beer sommelier. But let’s first look at the place of origin of Gin 8.
Hof Dick in Holsthum near Bitburg is a farm specializing in hop cultivation. In the parcel “Auf der Acht” (“on the eight”), the hop varieties Cascade and Solero are grown, which beer lovers will undoubtedly be familiar with. In addition to these two hop varieties, the producer also uses juniper, lemongrass, lavender and 10 other botanicals, which are not mentioned by name, for the juniper spirit named in reference to that parcel. In addition, the gin is brought to drinking strength (in this case 43% vol.) with Eifler spring water. However, the Gin 8 is distilled in the neighboring Eifel distillery Zender. From there, it also finds its final way into the really beautifully shaped bottle made of cloudy-dark, hop-toned glass.
Aroma: Gin 8 clearly shows a strong and rather herbaceous profile. The juniper is clearly present and is framed by very nice, fresh-spicy hop notes: the hops are actually programmatic here. Fresh, fruity citrus tones also show up, but these clearly give way to the more tart and juniper-tinged side. The overall picture seems very round and really nicely balanced.
Taste: The impression is also confirmed on the palate. Spicy, crisp juniper harmonizes quite wonderfully with bitter-tart hop notes, associations of licorice that almost have hints of salmiak are also present and I like them extremely well. Moreover, on the palate, very nice citrus notes are then added over time, lavender is also present.
Finish: surprisingly long and spicy
Yes, I really like this gin! It is strong in character and definitely not a filigree-floral lightweight that wants to hide. Accordingly, it is definitely also not a shy player in a drink, which is what I wanted to express in today’s cocktail. The hop notes of Gin 8 combine nicely here with fresh mint, fresh apple juice and an herbal foundation of Chartreuse Elixir Vegetal. The drink goes by the name “Hops Die Last,” which is not only a silly play on words, but of course a bit of a nod to the flavor.
Recipe “Hops Die Last”:
5.5 cl Gin 8
3 cl lemon juice
2 cl apple juice (fresh from the juicer)
2 cl sugar syrup
2 dashes Chartreuse Elixir de Vegetal
4 leaves of mint
Preparation: Shake all ingredients vigorously with ice, then double strain into a glass filled with fresh ice cubes.
Garnish: fresh mint
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online
*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.