Juniper / Juniperus communis / (Croatia) ORGANIC
Juniper is a woody shrub in the coniferous evergreen or cypress family that is native to North America, Europe and Asia. Although the fruit of this plant are commonly called berries, they are actually small cones that take nearly two years to mature and change color from green to purplish-black. Juniper is the one key ingredient common to all gins and is responsible for gin’s distinctive flavor and aroma. Even the word “gin” originates from an Anglicized version of the Dutch word for juniper—genever.
Coriander / Coraindrum sativum / (Egypt) ORGANIC
Coriander is native to Europe and Asia, but can be grown all over the world. The seeds are gathered in late summer. The plant, also known as cilantro, is intensely aromatic. It grows up to 20 inches high and has small upper leaves used for flavoring food. It also grows white and pink flowers that produce seeds.
Angelica Root / Archangelica officinalis / (Oregon) ORGANIC
Ironically, this herb is said to “cause a disgust for spirituous liquors,” and was once touted as a remedy for alcoholism. Behind juniper and coriander, angelica is the third most common ingredient found in gin. Angelica is a hardy biennial sometimes perennial originating in Europe and is a member of the Apiaceae family, also known as Umbelliferae—or the carrot family, which includes anise, celery, cumin, fennel, dill and other plants characterized by feathery leaves, fluted stems and clusters of flowers that emerge from globular umbels. The roots are harvested in autumn.
Orange Peel / Citrus aurantium / (Spain)
Bitter orange peel comes from the Seville orange, a citrus tree native to southeastern Asia. The name “Seville” refers to the fact that the tree was cultivated in Seville, Spain in the 12th century, though this tree was cultivated much earlier throughout the Middle East and South Sea Islands. It was the only variety of orange available in Europe for 500 years. The Spanish introduced it to Florida in the 18th century.
Lemon Peel / Citrus limonum / (USA) ORGANIC
Likely native to the Indian subcontinent, in prehistory the plant was spread through cultivation into the Orient. Use was recorded in Greece by 300 BC. By 20 BC cultivators were noted in Italy. Evidence of the use of lemon has been discovered in the ruins of Pompeii. Seeds were brought to the Caribbean and Florida by the Spanish before 1500 AD. It was being cultivated in California by 1750, and in Florida by 1870.
Cassia Bark / Cinnamomum cassia / (Indonesia)
Chinesse cinnamon originates in China, but is widely cultivated elsewhere in southern and eastern Asia. An evergreen tree of the Lauraceae, or Laurel family, it grows to 10–15m tall with a spread of 6–10m. Cinnamon has grayish or light brown, papery bark. In several European languages, the word for cinnamon comes from the Latin word cannella, a diminutive of canna, or “tube,” from the way it curls up as it dries.
Cardamom / Elettaria cardamomum / (Guatemala)
Cardamom is an ancient spice native to the East originating in the forests of the western ghats in southern India, where it grows wild. Today it also grows in Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Indo China and Tanzania. A large perennial of the ginger family, called Elattari or Ilach in its native India, yields the seeds known as cardamom.
Grains of Paradise / Aframomum melegueta / (West Africa)
A. melegueta is an herbaceous perennial plant native to swampy habitats along the West African coast and is part of the ginger plant family. Its trumpet-shaped, purple flowers develop into 5 to 7 cm long pods containing numerous small, reddish-brown seeds—Grains of Paradise. About one-eighth of an inch in diameter, the seeds from this plant are approximately the same size as cardamom, which is also in the ginger family. The seeds lend peppery and citrusy notes and an underlying complexity, which helps bind other flavors in the gin.
Orris root / Iris x germanica / (Morocco) ORGANIC
Commonly called iris, flag iris, pale iris, bearded iris, fleur-de-lis, garden iris, or German iris. Orris referis the root of the flowering plant which grows to three feet tall, with bluish-green, narrow, flat, sword shaped leaves and large, deep blue, or purplish-blue flowers that bloom in spring. Like the plant’s flowers, the rhizome is very floral and intensely aromatic.
Cubeb Berry / Piper cubeba / (Malaysia) ORGANIC
Also known as Cubeb, Tailed Pepper, and False Pepper. The cubeb plant originally comes from Indonesia, but is now grown in many parts of Asia. The cubeb plant is a perennial that grows tall—up to 20 feet high. It grows well in the shade and is often found near coffee bushes where it can be protected from the sun. The leaves are oval shaped and green in color. The fruit is brown and round and grows from the small flowers of the plant. Its spicy, peppery flavor makes it a popular additive to Asian food and gin.