If you’ve spent any time dining al fresco in the past couple of years, you may have noticed the increase in rosé consumption—and it’s not just limited to spring and summer. Regardless of the temperature, it seems anywhere you look you’ll find glasses (or even cans) of pink wine being consumed. But if you think the trend is on its way out, think again. Glasses are certain to remain pink for a bit longer. And it’s not only winemakers that are tickled pink by this phenomenon, it’s distillers too.
While flavored vodkas and gins have been around for some time, typically these spirits have remained clear. Distillers, particularly smaller craft brands, have been happy to experiment in this department. Lucky us! Of course, one can create a pink spirit by simply adding food coloring to the product prior to bottling, but the better brands are using real ingredients. These pink spirits are often made by macerating either a fruit—like pink grapefruit or raspberries—into the distillates, or by using other natural ingredients such as hibiscus or rhubarb.
Additionally, some brands are even using actual roses to add a floral note to their pink spirits. Just when you think rosé wine has reached its maximum capacity, distillers are using a bit of the pink wine itself to their final products for an added flourish.
One thing to note is that these pink spirits aren’t sweet. In fact, most of them are quite dry. Some are more fruit forward of course, but these are not liqueurs. Use as you would other spirits in its category. A word of advice: best to use ingredients which don’t muddy the color of these pink spirits. Keep it simple. Gimlets, Sours or Martinis are good places to start. Or even better would be highball drinks using sparkling wine, club soda or tonic. In fact, Fever Tree Aromatic Tonic is naturally pink due to the angostura bark used in its creation so it’s a cinch to keep you thinking pink!
ROSES NOT ROSÉS
Glendalough takes its Wild Gin and rebalances the ingredients to produce this Rose Gin. Extra fruit, flowers and spices are used, as well as fresh rose petals from three types of roses: wild roses from the Wicklow Mountains, large fragrant Heritage roses, and the ancient and revered Damask roses.
Based in the Scottish capitol, Edinburgh Gin makes a variety of gins and liqueurs inspired by the city and its surroundings. Valentine’s Gin uses botanicals including chamomile, lemon balm, lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, hibiscus and rose petals, among others. First released in 2015, this pink spirit is released annually in limited amounts just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Released in February 2019, The History of Lovers Rose Gin is made from a base of 100% apple brandy at Copper & Kings Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. Botanicals include rose hips, rose water, various citrus peels, pink peppercorns and jasmine and lavender petals (among others). To achieve the natural pink hue, the distilled gin is quickly macerated with rose hips, hibiscus petals and strawberry juice concentrate.
This expression, first released in 2015 from Eden Hill Brewery & Distillery, is made with a mix of both traditional gin botanicals—including juniper berries, coriander and angelica—along with more exotic botanicals, including rose petal, hibiscus, elderberry, goji berry, raspberry leaf and rhubarb root.
FRUIT (OR VEGETABLE) FORWARD
Warner Edwards Victoria’s Rhubarb Gin is made using a type of rhubarb originally grown in the kitchen garden of Buckingham Palace during Queen Victoria’s reign. The rhubarb used in this gin is grown at the Crown Estate and is pressed to extract its juice. This is then blended with Warner Edwards Harrington Dry Gin.
Created by Master Distiller Desmond Payne, PINK uses the standard Beefeater London Dry Gin as a base with natural strawberry flavor added post-distillation. This was introduced first to twelve countries in March 2018, including the UK and Spain. Beefeater PINK arrived in the US in October 2018.
Malfy Gin Rosa is made with the peel of sun-ripened Sicilian pink grapefruit grown in citrus groves in the Mediterranean. The peels are infused with juniper in an Italian grain spirit for 36 hours. Five other botanicals—lemon peel, grapefruit peel, angelica root, orris root and coriander—are used in its production. Additionally, a rabarbaro (rhubarb) distillate is added post distillation giving the gin a pale pink color. Serve this gin with tonic, lemonade or Prosecco.
Owner Stephen Marsh was trying to create a gin he could drink with dinner, as beer and wine no longer agreed with him. Launched in 2013, Pinkster Gin was one of the first brands to release a pink-colored gin. The color of this pink spirit is derived by macerating fresh raspberries, from just outside Cambridge, along with two other ingredients into a finished gin—made to their standard with five botanicals at G & J Distillers.
ROSÉ WINE INFLUENCED
Roman Roth, winemaker at Wölffer Estate in the Hamptons, created this “Pink” Gin by using the estate’s own rosé wine as the base. It is distilled with six botanicals including cardamom, coriander, fresh mint and juniper—the latter two ingredients also grown on the estate. The pink hue is obtained by adding red grape skin extract to the distillate prior to bottling.
Created by head distiller Caley Shoemaker, Hangar 1 Rosé uses real California rosé wine to flavor the brand’s classic vodka made from Midwest grains and wine grapes. Best enjoyed as a spritz or in sangria.
SVEDKA Rosé is a flavored vodka made with 5% rosé wine. Available beginning February 2019, this is the first flavor from the brand to be sold in a clear glass color to showcase the pink color.
Try in a Little Pink Martini.
– 2 oz SVEDKA Rosé
– 1 oz rosé wine
– ½ oz peach schnapps
– 2 dashes orange bitters
Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until well-chilled. Strain into a martini glass or coupé. Garnish with an edible rose petal.
Now for something completely different. Código 1530 Rosa starts with the tequila brand’s blanco. The tequila then ages for one month in an un-charred Cabernet French white oak barrels from California’s Napa Valley. The spirit is naturally flavored and colored.