2022 Let’s Get Blitzen: Cocktail Advent Calendar – Day 23 – Nutcracker Martini. The Botanist Islay Dry Gin steals the show in this martini that approaches a 50/50 balance of gin and fortified wines – making it more approachable for those who usually shy away from stiff drinks.
In this case, I’ve opted to use a combination of amontillado sherry and Lillet Blanc to pair with the rich array of botanicals found in The Botanist Islay Dry Gin.
This post is sponsored by The Botanist Islay Dry Gin.
There are six different styles of sherry: fino, manzanilla, amontillado, oloroso, palo cortado, and cream or Pedro Ximenez. I’ve listed them here in order from driest to sweetest. Depending on the style and the winemaker, sherry can have a nutty or briny flavour which makes it very interesting for applications in mixology. The Nutcracker Martini uses amontillado sherry which delivers oxidized notes of nuttiness, sautéed mushrooms and an umami richness.
I find the earthy notes of the amontillado sherry and the semi-sweet floral notes of Lillet Blanc, make for great bedfellows with the minty botanicals that shine through in this unique gin.
The Botanist is a true expression of craft distilling. Located on Islay, one of the southernmost of the Inner Hebridean Islands located off the west coast of Scotland, a well-known home to some of the world’s best Scotch distilleries, The Botanist gets its distinct flavour from the fruits of the land.
It takes in-house forager, James Donaldson, seven months each year to personally pick the ingredients for The Botanist, leaf by leaf, flower by flower, when each plant is in its prime. He then fills a cotton bag with enough of the carefully prepared botanicals for one batch of gin at a time, and painstakingly prepares them for distilling in his drying room.
Once the hand-foraged botanicals are ready, they are handed over to Bruichladdich’s Head Distiller Adam Hannett who applies the same principles of care in his work with The Botanist as he does with their renowned Bruichladdich whisky. The 22 botanicals in The Botanist have tremendous potency and their flavour is coaxed gently using a unique simmer distillation method. This is a much slower method of distillation that allows the flavours and mouthfeel to develop at their own pace.
Before you stir The Botanist into this cocktail, I’d encourage you to experience it on its own. Give yourself some time and allow it to open up, discovering the complexity of the spirit. As it reveals itself to you, you’ll likely pick up a lot of the minty aspects to it – coming from the apple mint, spearmint, and water mint in the botanical blend. On the palate, you’ll start to get some of the spiciness coming through, some of the cinnamon, some of the woodiness from the juniper.
This martini is best enjoyed while sporting some beautiful baubles like these I’m wearing here generously provided by HOWARD. Rush in TODAY if you’re based in Ottawa and in need of a last-minute gift for someone special – the flexible yellow gold ring I’m sporting in these images is sure to delight any jewellery lover on your list.
Be sure to tune into my Instagram stories tonight at 5 pm Eastern for a step-by-step tutorial on how to prepare this elegant cocktail.
The Botanist Islay Dry Gin steals the show in this martini that approaches a 50/50 balance of gin and fortified wines – making it more approachable for those who usually shy away from stiff drinks.