For the Negroni Week 2019 I went for a simple and slightly smoky Negroni variation. While I could just have added a few dashes of Islay single malt to the standard Negroni recipe, I went a slightly different way. Instead, I just a special gin made by Heiko Hoos. His Lapsang Gin combines juniper with smoky flavours of Lapsang Souchong tea.
Heiko’s new gin, combines his relatively classic dry gin recipe with Chinese smoked tea. Similar to the other variations Heiko makes everything himself. He distils, advertises, markets and sells his products by himself. This way his gin and vermouth also is a little bit cheaper than others.
My first impression was that the Lapsang Gin was good, but not that complex. When first trying it, it was hard to find other flavours than juniper and smoked tea notes. Yet, when you give the gin a little more time you will notice a great complexity underneath the obvious layers. Suddenly the one-dimensional Lapsang Souchong note becomes a multiplex structure of different smoke aromas. With a little bit of imagination, you can even find a little bit of smoked ham umami flavours in the gin. So I guess the gin’s masterpiece is its unconventional taste profile.
Trial and error
At first, I tried to create a Negroni variation using a German amaro instead of Campari. However, that did not work, because the flavours just seemed to clash. Therefore, I went back to a more conventional recipe. Basically, I only replaced the sweet vermouth with Byrrh. The cherry notes of this quinquina nicely complements the smokiness of the gin.
3 cl Campari
3 cl Byrrh Grand Quinquina
1 oz Campari
1 oz Byrrh Grand Quinquina
Garnish: Lemon twist;
Song: Charlie Cunningham – Lessleg;
The relationship to the Negroni is still clearly recognizable in the “Lessleg”. However, the delicate smoke notes of the Lapsang Gin accompany the Campari and quinquina background. Somehow, the gin makes the Campari seem a little bit more bitter. In conclusion, the Hoos Lapsang Gin makes a great cocktail when you want something different than the usual Negroni.
*The fact that I received a product reviewed in this article for free, did not – in any way – influence the rating of said product.