Hendrick’s Gin is a relatively young British gin, having started in 1999.
However, even if Hendrick’s doesn’t have lots of years notched under its proverbial belt, the spirit has a lot of history. For example, the Bennet distillery used by William Grant And Sons (the company behind Hendrick’s) was made in 1860 in London. Plus, the gin takes its name after a Grant family gardener named Hendrick, who was 97 at the time the spirit was created.
The drink presents itself as “a gin made oddly,” as there is a heavy rose and cucumber flavor in it, along with juniper berries, coriander, orange, lemon, angelic root, orris root, cubeb berries. caraway seeds, chamomile, elderflower and yarrow.
The “gin made oddly” mantra also extends to the spirit’s glass container, as it is a homage to Queen Victoria-period (1837-1901) medicine jars that used dark-colored glass to store valuable liquids. The reason for the approach was those liquids could be damaged by sunlight, and suggests that the gin could also be used as a healing solution - a rationale promoted during the first decade after Queen Victoria’s reign (1901-1910).
Common Hendrick’s Gin Prices List
$27.99 - $32.99
$49.99 - $52.99
$54.99 - $57.99
Hendrick’s Gin Orbium
$55.99 - $58.99
The original Hendrick’s Gin carries a juniper berry foundation, with the aforementioned rose and cucumber infusion very much present in the nose and finish.
The classic Scottish gin roots, however, are quite dominant in the palate, but with a dint of yarrow and black pepper in the blend. This is a reflection of the background of Hendrick’s Gin master distiller Lesley Gracie, who brewed up various teas from botanical concoctions as a wee Scottish lass, and pushed those myriad plant-and-tree mixes into Hendrick’s. As such, the gin can be a good foundation for a gin over ice with tonic water (with a cucumber garnish instead of a lemon wedge), or the traditional gin-and-tonic.
Hendrick’s Gin Orbium is a limited version of the original, but it has strong indicators of quinine, wormwood and blue lotus blossom.
The result is that the rather bitter quinine and wormwood rudely wake up your tongue, but after some time the hints of mint, pepper, citrus, cucumber, rose petals and juniper arrive and greet you warmly. It works nicely with a club soda or tonic (or even consumed neat), but the initial bitterness thrust into your mouth is an acquired taste.
Given that quinine is used as a solution for malaria (and the gin’s tribute to a time when alcoholic drinks could be used in apothecaries), the potential for Hendrick’s Gin Orbium as a medicine cabinet resident may soon be a reality.
Hendrick’s Gin vs the competition
Tanqueray 10’s similarity with the original Hendrick’s lies in that there is a distinct tinge of flowers (jasmine in Tanqueray 10, rose in Hendrick’s) in the palate and finish.
But that is all the two spirits have in common.
Tanqueray 10’s clean, crisp balance in its blend makes it a preferred choice over Hendrick’s, especially when turning the gin as a primary building block for a martini. For a gin-and-tonic, though, they are neck-and-neck in terms of being the gin of choice - and going down to the maker’s personal choice.
Bathtub Gin is like Hendrick’s, in that their exterior presentations remind one of a Queen Victoria-era apothecary.
Bathtub Gin is packaged with brown paper, string and wax, and the bottle lettering has fonts that are dead ringers for late 1800s English medicine peddlers.
However, the cinnamon and cardamom in the gin can be overpowering for some palates. In contrast, Hendrick’s rose petals-and-cucumber infusion doesn’t try to compete with the juniper base mix in the initial tasting.
Even in its starter form, Plymouth English Gin manages to subdue the juniper base yet tries to make the mixed botanicals - including coriander, orange, lemon, green cardamom, angelica root and orris root - share center stage in the drinker’s mouth. As a result, the taste is more of the classic London dry gin.
Hendrick’s tries to do the same thing with its botanical blend, but the rose-and-cucumber starter taste could be a turnoff, for the gin taste purist looking for a predominantly juniper blast on the mouth.
What to mix with Hendrick’s Gin
This cocktail is a staple at celebrity chef José Andrés‘ Bazaar Meat restaurant in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
A fresh take on the gin-and-tonic blends popular in Andrés‘ native Spain, this version of gin + tonic shows a surprising compatibility with the establishment’s tartares, carpaccios and wood fire steaks. The juniper berries highlight further the juniper in the gin, matching Hendrick’s dominant rose petals-and-cucumber palate.
Jose’s Gin and Tonic
Pour gin into a glass containing one large ice cube.
Add one full bottle of Fever Tree tonic water.
Garnish with lime, lemon, juniper, lime leaves, and flower petals, if desired.