Whilst being aware of Lemon Aspen for quite a long time, in the lead-up to a hot Australian summer was when we finally decided to craft a limited edition gin from it. In the wild, they're as bright and aromatic a botanical as can be, and that was the character we set about amplifying in the distillery.
The ethereal citrus nature of lemon aspen was hard to capture with too many botanicals, so rather than complicate things over a London dry base, we opted for a far more minimalist approach, starting with a base of simply just juniper on neutral spirit - a perfect jumping-off point. Then the goal was to turn the citrus notes right up, and that was achieved by one of our favourite citruses: Yuzu.
While it was not distilled with the core of the final gin, as Yuzu well out of season, we always have a stock of pure Yuzu spirit stored in the distillery (for products like Navy Gin and Unico Yuzu). While not how we generally work with our ingredients, our Yuzu spirit is still remarkably aromatic, and highlights the citrus elements in all gins we dose it with, whilst not overpowering with its sheer Yuzu-ness. With a little lick of spice from native pepperberry (distilled with the Lemon Aspen), the resultant spirit was as balanced as we could get it.
So with the task of crafting a cocktail, there was only one direction to travel: Citrus Forward, and that came on 3 fronts. Lemon juice, a cocktail staple; Mandarin, a little left of centre but a beloved fruit in the Australian summer; and Yuzushu, a Japanese delicacy of Yuzu steeped in sake or shochu for an extended period of time, before being back sweetened a touch. These three citrus powerhouses combined with Lemon Aspen gin, with a little bit of sugar, basil, pepper and soda crafted the Orchard. One sip of this will have you aching for warmer days - a massive hit with the applewood team.