Article by Allie, Liquor Department Associate
Sometimes the most valuable inspiration comes from the places closest to our hearts. One could certainly say that Lesley Gracie does this for a living as both the Master Distiller for Hendrick’s Gin and an avid gardener.
As someone who began her career in chemistry working “on the development of pain relief drugs… to help treat people with severe arthritis,” Gracie shifted gears in 1988 towards spirits (Gin Cooperative, 2019). Eventually, that path led her to working alongside David Stewart, a master blender for William Grant & Sons who wanted to create a gin that both included a British identity and conjured imagery of a day in the garden.
Those familiar with Hendrick’s Gin, first released in 2003, know all about its reputation as “a gin made oddly” particularly because of its inclusion of cucumbers and roses as distinctly British notes (Hines, 2017). In fact, nearly all of the botanicals used in Hendrick’s can turn up in someone’s garden, with citrusy zings of lemon and orange added to add some middling, fruity fun. Gracie’s original recipe took off both in the UK as well as stateside not only for its flavor profile, but also due to the dark, short bottle reminiscent of those found in old apothecary shops, according to Vinepair.
After years of smashing success and several recipe variations of Hendrick’s Gin, Gracie traveled from Scotland to Venezuela to study local plants and herbs for potential distillation. Her return saw the birth of the limited edition Kanaracuni made with Scorpion’s Tail, and later the Amazonia expression. As with all of her gins, these blends were still crafted in small batches of 500 liters or less at a time in order to, in Gracie’s own words to Gin Cooperative in 2020, “ensure every drop is true to the original recipe I created over 20 years ago.”
It became clear from the beginning that Gracie’s passion for flavors became both her specialty and her trademark at Hendrick’s. When not distilling, she tends the distillery’s hothouse gardens and experiments with new botanicals. The brand-new Lunar, released just in time for the Lunar New Year of 2021, was designed based on both the oscillating nature of moon cycles and the night-blooming varieties of flora in Gracie’s garden, though the list of botanicals used in its production has not yet been verified.
One reviewer, Christopher Null of Drinkhacker, has this to say about Lunar:
“The nose is actually quite floral, full up with notes of roses, buttercups, and honeysuckle… the palate finds a better sense of balance… [with] secondary elements of cut grass, some lemon peel, and eventually a light touch of juniper… The finish is again heavily floral.”
Whether wandering your own gardens beneath the crescent moon or merely wishing for a sip of a mysteriously curious spirit, pour the Lunar’s carefully crafted gin straight into a glass or blend with simple mixers such as tonic, ginger beer or mild fruit juice.
You can find the Hendrick’s Lunar at Superior Liquor Market’s Feature Space, or in our gin section found in aisle 16C for $46.99. Quantities of this product are limited, so grab one while you can!
Sources and Further Reading:
- A History of Hendrick’s. (2021, January 31). Retrieved from https://thegincooperative.com/a-history-of-hendricks/
- Hendrick’s Gin. (2021, April 01). Retrieved from https://thegincooperative.com/gin-maker/hendricks-gin/
- Hendrick’s Lunar Gin. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hendricksgin.com/lunar/
- Hines, W. N. (2017, November 05). 10 Things You Should Know About Hendrick’s Gin. Retrieved from https://vinepair.com/articles/10-things-know-hendricks/
- Meet the Master Distiller of Hendrick’s Gin Who Revolutionized Your Cocktails. (2019, June 04). Retrieved from https://nexttribe.com/hendricks-gin/
- Null, C. (2021, February 27). Review: Hendrick’s Lunar Gin. Retrieved from https://www.drinkhacker.com/2021/03/10/review-hendricks-lunar-gin/
- Women of Gin – Lesley Gracie, Hendrick’s Gin. (2021, January 31). Retrieved from https://thegincooperative.com/women-of-gin-lesley-gracie-hendricks-gin/