Mandarin is a species of citrus fruit that is closely related to oranges and lemons. The fruit is native to China and Southeast Asia and is now widely cultivated around the world. The peel of the mandarin fruit is used as a botanical in gin distillation to impart a distinct citrus flavour to the spirit.
When used as a botanical in gin distillation, mandarin peel will impart a bright and fresh citrus flavour to the distilled spirit. The key flavour molecules in mandarin peel include limonene, which imparts a strong lemon-like flavour and aroma, and γ-terpinene, which contributes a more subtle orange-like flavour and aroma. Other flavour molecules such as α-pinene and β-pinene also contribute to the overall citrus flavour of the distilled spirit, while p-cymene adds a hint of spice.
Mandarin is known for its bright and refreshing citrus flavour, which is primarily derived from the high levels of limonene in its essential oils. When used as a botanical in gin distillation, mandarin can add a bright, fresh, and fruity note to the gin. The sweetness and acidity of mandarin also gives a gin a well-balanced taste.
When it comes to pairing mandarin with other botanicals in gin, cardamom can be a great choice. Cardamom has a distinct, warm, and spicy flavour that pairs well with the bright and refreshing notes of mandarin. The combination of these two botanicals can create a gin with a unique and complex flavour profile that is both sweet and spicy.
Another great pairing for mandarin in gin is juniper. Juniper is the traditional botanical in gin and provides a strong, piney, and slightly bitter flavour. The combination of juniper and mandarin can create a gin that is both fresh and aromatic, with a perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness.
Coriander, angelica root and orange peel are also great botanicals that can complement the mandarin in gin. Coriander adds a subtle earthiness and a spicy, lemony flavour that can balance the sweetness of mandarin. Angelica root adds a unique, musky, and slightly sweet taste that can complement the bright and fruity notes of mandarin. Orange peel adds a bitter citrus flavour that can balance the sweetness and acidity of mandarin.
In addition to these botanicals, other ingredients like cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger can be used to add a warm and spicy flavour to the gin. The combination of mandarin and these ingredients can create a gin with a unique and complex flavour profile that is perfect for sipping on a cold winter evening.
Overall, mandarin can be a great addition to gin as a botanical, and when paired with other botanicals like cardamom, juniper, coriander, angelica root, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmeg or ginger, can create a gin with a unique and complex flavour profile that is both refreshing and warming.
In terms of history, mandarin cultivation in China can be traced back to the 12th century. The fruit was brought to Europe in the 18th century, and it is now widely grown in many countries with a warm climate. Mandarin is often considered as the sweetest and most delicate of the citrus family and is consumed as fresh fruit, in jams and jellies, and in cand. The peel of the fruit is also used as a flavouring in cooking and baking.