Distilling Herbs & Spices

Distilling botanicals for cocktails, liqueurs and bitters

Botanical herbs have been used in distilling for centuries, contributing to the flavours, aromas and therapeutic properties of various spirits and liqueurs. The most well-known use for distilling herbs is arguably juniper berries in gin distilling, as the botanical is used to give gin its layered, distinctive flavour profile along with coriander, angelica root and orris root.

Botanical herbs for distilling — like juniper berries, anise and cardamom pods — can be added to enhance the flavour of drinks, or used to brew and distil alcoholic beverages. Mimea sells a range of botanicals for distilled spirits, like absinthe, vermouth, bitters and gin, all of which are eligible for free delivery on orders over £25.

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What are the uses of Distilling herbs?

Some common examples of botanicals used in the distilling industry include:

  • Angelica Root: Common in gin for its earthy flavour
  • Cardamom: Adds a spicy, aromatic note
  • Coriander Seeds: Provides a citrusy flavour to spirits like gin
  • Anise: Imparts a liquorice-like taste, essential in absinthe and some liqueurs

For absinthe, distilling herbs and spices like wormwood, anise and fennel are used to contribute to the unique taste, as well as the famed green colour. Vermouth, on the other hand, is a fortified wine flavoured with a variety of botanical herbs — including wormwood, chamomile and cloves. Vermouth can be either dry or sweet, depending on the botanicals and production methods used.

Common herbs in bitters (highly concentrated infusions of botanicals) include gentian root, cardamom and cinnamon — which are used to flavour cocktails. Meanwhile, lavender and lemongrass are aromatic botanicals commonly used in spirit distilling, while chamomile, known for its calming properties, is sometimes used in herbal liqueurs and bitters for a soothing effect.

Elderflower is used to add flavour during the distilling process, and Hibiscus imparts a vibrant red colour and a tart flavour, often used in artisanal gins and liqueurs.

The use of botanical herbs in distilling is a blend of art and science, combining traditional knowledge with modern techniques to create spirits with unique flavours, aromas and properties. Whether for flavouring, aroma, therapeutic benefits, colour or preservation — botanicals play a crucial role in the craft of distillation.

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Why Choose Mimea?

Mimea is a 140-year-old botanicals business that specialises in providing top-notch herbs and spices from across the globe. We offer outstanding customer service and are small business-friendly. We also offer quick, reliable shipping and, where possible, environmentally-friendly packaging for our products.

Mimea has the advantage of a huge catalogue of distilling herbs and spices, with bulk buy options available to meet all your distilling needs.

If you require allergy information, take a look at our allergen policy or contact us directly if you require more help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gin is a fairly neutral-flavoured spirit, so it’s often distilled with botanicals to add flavours. The most common use of botanicals in gin is juniper berries. Some of the most well-known brands of gin use a mixture of botanicals like juniper berries, angelica seeds, bergamot, ginger, cardamom, and lemon peel to impart distinctive aromatic and flavour profiles.

Adding the botanicals (herbs, fruits etc) to the distillate happens during the manufacturers’ distilling process. The gin is steeped in the botanicals in order to absorb their characteristics, including the pine-like quality of juniper berries, spiciness of coriander seeds and muskiness of angelica root.Each producer will have their own recipes and methods to get it right for them, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to the process of distilling botanicals.

The most common botanicals found in green absinthe are grand wormwood, green anise, and fennel. Many other herbs can be used, too, like star anise, angelica root, peppermint and coriander — but this differs amongst different producers and manufacturers of absinthe. Lemon balm, calamus, sandalwood, artemisia pontica, hyssop are also commonly used to give absinthe it’s distinct flavour profile, colour and reputation for causing hallucinogenic effects.Another important botanical ingredient in absinthe is calamus root, which contributes a sweet aroma, but is also known to add to the specific buzz of absinthe. Traditional absinthes obtain their green colour from the chlorophyll of the fresh herbs during maceration, which is simply when the plant materials are soaked in water, oil, or alcohol for a longer time.