HomeLifestyleScare Your Tonic With A Naturally Black Gin For Halloween

Scare Your Tonic With A Naturally Black Gin For Halloween

Looking to make a trick cocktail to celebrate Halloween? Or perhaps one to treat yourself?

Look no further for your holiday scares and sweets than Scapegrace Black, a naturally black gin from New Zealand that’s just now become available in the United States. 

“It has never been part of the brand ethos to follow what other distillers were doing,” says Mark Neal, who co-founded Scapegrace with his brother-in-law, Daniel McLaughlin in 2014. “We decided that if we were going to make a flavored gin, we were going to do it our own way.”

The two, along with their master distiller, Anthony Lawry, experimented with different combinations of botanicals and distilling techniques to craft a dry gin that’s naturally black. “The temperatures must be absolutely precise, and the sequences have to be very specifically defined,” Lawry says. 

Regular Scapegrace Classic dry gin requires 13 different botanicals sources from around the globe, including: orange peel lemon peel from Spain, coriander seeds from Great Britain, nutmeg from Grenada, juniper berries, licorice root and orris root from Italy, cardamom from Guatemala, cloves from Comoros Islands, Angelica root from Poland, cinnamon from Sri Lanka, cassia bark from China and dried tangerine from Morocco. 

Five additional botanicals are added to create the color and depth for the black gin, including: butterfly pea flower and aronia from Asia, saffron from Europe, sweet kumera from New Zealand, and pineapple from Australia. These five ingredients had to be steeped at exactly the right temperatures with precise timing in the distillation process to create the noir color. 

“We decided that if we were going to make a flavored gin, we were going to do it our own way,” Neal says. “By experimenting with different botanicals, we discovered we could make a naturally black liquid with very particular botanicals and distinct flavors. It took us about a year to bring this liquid to life.” 

The gin, which is naturally a midnight hue, transforms into a lovely violet color when citrus or tonic water is added. 

“Scapegrace’s color change from black to purple occurs naturally thanks to that butterfly pea flower in our botanical lineup,” Lawry says. “The petals of this flower contain a pigment called anthocyanin, which causes the color to shift when introduced to acidity like citrus.”

The citrus or the tonic water introduces the reaction. “If you were to place lemon juice in a glass of butterfly pea flower tea, it would morph from deep blue to purple, finally to electric pink,” Lawry says. “In our case, it goes from jet black to lavender.” 

“This unique spirit is the perfect crowd pleaser mixed with your favorite premium tonic or soda, or as a twist on your favorite classical cocktail,” Neal says.

This spirited transformation in color creates a sort of mixology show, which also lends itself to the holiday, especially if you want to put on a show of mixing your cocktails. “The unexpected nature of Scapegrace Black lends itself to cocktail creativity, especially when people are in the Halloween spirit,” Neal says.

Scapegrace Black retails for $39.99, and it joins the Scapegrace Classic and Scapegrace Gold gins on shelves.

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