Botanicals and novel botanicals - Ginposium 2014

John McCarthy

Adnams, winner of the 2013 IWSC Gin Trophy

John has been Adnams’s head distiller since the company opened the Copper House Distillery in 2010. John’s recipes have led to many awards for all his spirits, including the coveted IWSC Gin Trophy (sponsored by the Gin Guild).

The Adnams spirits are based on locally grown, East Anglian malted cereals, with which they brew a “distillery wash” – a 7% abv beer, un-hopped – using their unique two strain brewing yeast, that has been in use for over 70 years.

What is a botanical?
• A substance obtained from a plant and used typically in medicinal or cosmetic products.(OED)
• If you can smell it, you can distil it!

Botanical families
• Fruity
• Floral
• Herbal
• Spicy
• Woody


“GRAS” is an acronym for the phrase Generally Recognised ASafe. Under sections 201(s) and 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), any substance that is intentionally added to food is a food additive, that is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognised, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use, or unless the use of the substance is otherwise excepted from the definition of a food additive.

  • Under sections 201(s) and 409 of the Act, and FDA’s implementing regulations in 21 CFR 170.3 and 21 CFR 170.30, the use of a food substance may be GRAS either through scientific procedures or, for a substance used in food before 1958, through experience based on common use in food Under 21 CFR 170.30(b), general recognition of safety through scientific procedures requires the same quantity and quality of scientific evidence as is required to obtain approval of the substance as a food additive. General recognition of safety through scientific procedures is based upon the application of generally available and accepted scientific data, information, or methods, which ordinarily are published, as well as the application of scientific principles, and may be corroborated by the application of unpublished scientific data, information, or methods.
  • Under 21 CFR 170.30(c) and 170.3(f), general recognition of safety through experience based on common use in foods requires a substantial history of consumption for food use by a significant number of consumers.

Base spirit
• Must be distilled to 96%
• Grain
• Grape
• Fruit
• Vegetable

• Some gins are based around a theme –
• A few examples are:

Gins with different botanical families