Kammerling’s Ginseng Spirit Running Late but Worth the Wait

We like the medicinal-looking bottle

Arrival of Alex Kammerling’s new lovely liquid delayed by over-zealous Chinese customs officers.

Callooh Callay’s JubJub bar was to supposed to see the launch of Alex Kammerling’s Ginseng Spirit this week, but production of the first major batch has been delayed by around 4 weeks.

Chinese customs officials looked with suspicion at the 40kg of white powder leaving their borders for England, and held the shipment until they could confirm that it was indeed powdered ginseng and not something more sinister.

However the tasting and unveiling went ahead as planned, and a crowd of bartenders and drinks bloggers were able to get their lips around the spirit and try it in several cocktails made by the man himself.

Alex described his 33% ABV Ginseng Spirit as sitting somewhere between gin and Campari, and being “fresh and citrusy on the nose with light floral/anise and juniper notes, with a sweet, rich and spiced herbal palate, finally ending with a long, honeyed bitterness”.

We would certainly agree with this. While definitely still a bitter, the tartness is more restrained than in something like Campari or Fernet Branca, which lets the botanicals come through nicely and will be more accessible to a consumer trying it for the first time.

Many of the 45 botanicals are secret, however Alex told us that the key ingredients are:

  • Red Korean Ginseng
  • White Panax Ginseng from China
  • Siberian Ginseng and American Ginseng
  • Grapefruit peels
  • Juniper
  • Echinacea
  • Goji Berries
  • Star anise
  • Wormwood
  • Gentian
  • Manuka honey

Suggested serves:

  • Over ice with a twist of lemon peel (for a lighter Negroni)
  • Bitter lemon/Ting/limonata/old fashioned lemonade

Alex predicts that the first batch of Ginseng Spirit will be finished in 4-5 weeks and will available from drinkshop.com and Gerry’s of Old Compton Street.

We look forward to seeing bartenders experimenting with it and some interesting cocktail names based on ginseng’s alleged ‘performance enhancing properties’.

You can follow Alex on Twitter: @kammerlings