It was not quite a year ago that I wrote about two interesting gin bottlings from the LoneWolf range here on the blog. In addition to the Scottish answer to Italian Limoncello, the LoneWolf Cloudy Lemon Gin, I also presented the rather unusual LoneWolf Chilli & Lime Gin. Unusual it remains today, but thereby also exotic. (provided test product)*
Because the LoneWolf Guava & Red Banana is definitely an exotic according to the name – also and especially in terms of taste. Guava is a common ingredient in tiki recipes (I recently presented a drink with guava nectar here), but red banana is not. I also have a personal, not quite so praiseworthy, but rather funny story about red banana. This is now more than 20 years ago. At that time, I acquired “red bananas” together with a friend in a supermarket at a stand for exotic fruits and we took these to a relaxed evening. There, one after the other, we all tasted the red banana… and one after the other, ran to the bathroom to spit out the fruit immediately. We had obviously bought either rotten or dried fruit; in any case, it was not edible.
So now, many years later, a new approach to the red banana.
I have already explained the relevant background to the LoneWolf series itself in the article linked above, which is why today I want to directly taste the LoneWolf Guava & Red Banana, made on a beer spirit basis and with 42.6% vol. Oh yes, keyword botanicals: the special feature here are, unsurprisingly, just guava and red banana. So, here we go!
Aroma: Not too exotic on the nose at first – well, a seasoned lover of dry, classic London Dry with a lot of juniper and little lemon, I would perhaps advise a different gin. Even if this one definitely comes up with juniper, but there is also a good portion of lemon freshness and notes of lemon balm. With time, fruity notes come through, a little exoticism is indeed there – and then comes a fine, fully ripe banana, which I like well and comes along especially authentic (with banana in spirits, this is quite a critical issue).
Taste: Juniper, yes, lemon, it is again part of the game, but then also exotic fruit notes of guava and banana. This is joined by herbaceous and spicy notes of coriander and citrus zest, flavor-wise it remains relatively dry, which I like.
Finish: banana, herbs, medium-long
This drink kind of screams “tiki” – even if gin isn’t necessarily the first ingredient of the genre. I decided to go with the insanely good “Tropical Twilight Gloom” from Shelby Allison & Erin Hayes at Lost Lake in Chicago, which I learned about through Matt Pietrek’s monumental work “Minimalist Tiki.” The special ingredient in this drink is Pok Pok Som, a drinkable pineapple vinegar that requires a visit to an Asian supermarket. Other than that, you need mint, ripe pineapple, lime, falernum (I went with the Amber Falernum here, which goes quite well), some aquavit – and just gin. The LoneWolf Guava & Red Banana fits in so well that I think it makes the drink even better.
Recipe “Tropical Twilight Gloom” (by Shelby Allison & Erin Hayes, Lost Lake, Chicago):
4 cl LoneWolf Guava & Red Banana Gin
2.25 cl Aquavit
8 rolled mint leaves
4 pieces of ripe, juicy pineapple
2.25 cl lime juice
2.25 cl Falernum
0.75 cl Pok Pok Som (drinkable pineapple vinegar from the Asian market)
Preparation: Add mint leaves, pineapple and Pok Pok Som to the glass and muddle vigorously with your muddler. Then add the remaining ingredients together with crushed ice into the glass and swizzle vigorously with a swizzle stick, adding some more crushed ice on top if necessary.
Glass: Tiki-Mug, Pearl Diver or Collins
Garnish: In the original, a pineapple wheel, a pineapple leaf, an orchid, mint and a swizzle stick (due to wilted leaves and a not so photogenic pineapple specimen I kind of minimalistically deviated with a dried lime wheel and some mint)
Buying sources: At specialized retailers or online. Pok Pok Som can be found in Asian markets.
*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.