Tasting: Kammerling’s Ginseng Spirit at Callooh Callay

This week I popped over to the Jubjub bar at Callooh Callay for the launch of wonder bartender Alex Kammerling’s Ginseng Spirit -aptly titled ‘Kammerling’s’. After a few years in development, Alex has finally perfected the balance of botanicals in the spirit, but sadly its launch was delayed by Chinese authorities seizing what they believed to be 40kg of a mysterious white powder – but was in fact, his order of White Chinese Ginseng.

The first few batches of Kammerling’s were infused in alcohol for 72 hours with over sixty ingredients, (including a wide array of botanicals such as juniper, grapefruit peel, cinnamon, star anise, Manuka honey and a variety of ginsengs) at Alex’s flat in Highbury before being distilled in a London-based pot still – making it a true London spirit.  Kammerling’s stands between gin, Campari and Pimms both in terms of its ABV, (33%) as well as its potential uses in drinks – and I think it works especially well alongside strong citrus flavors.

For the launch, Alex created a small, yet varied menu of cocktails showcasing the spirit. I chose to start off by sampling the spirit with just a bit of ice before moving on to try The Grosvenor, made with Kammerling’s, fresh lemon juice, a touch of egg white and Marschino liqueur. Whilst Kammerling’s wasn’t designed to be sipped neatly, it was nonetheless quite pleasant on its own over ice and was as Alex described it – citrusy on the nose with quite a sweet, herbal taste ending with a slight bitterness.

Be sure to register on the Kammerling’s site for more info on where it will be sold. Alex is hoping to price it at under 20 pounds/bottle and hopefully it will be launched within the next four to five weeks, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled for it at Gerrys and The Drink Shop.

And if you can think of a better name for the TBC, (see menu: Kammerling’s, Punt e Mes and Ardberg Islay whisky) follow and tweet him @kammerlings and send a suggestion his way!

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