Published on April 5th, 2013 | by Neil Spencer1
An Unusual Poison: Hendrick’s Gins’ New Quinetum
Hendick’s Gin is an alcohol unlike any other. It was created by Quaker City Mercantile as a work for hire for William Grant & Sons in 1998, and it’s hard to imagine a time where people went on picnics without the option of being able to make a Gin & Tonic. Just writing this sentence is causing my mouth to salivate. I sit here, daydreaming of a time where I’m out at a park on a warm summer day, the sun on my face, a light breeze through the trees, a hard salami & mustard sandwich in hand; and I’m mixing a Gin & Tonic for the lovely woman sharing the blanket with me.
According to Quaker City, the identity and tone-of-voice that they created years ago for the brand continues to permeate every aspect of their culture, and gives everything they do a peculiar sense of timelessness. Fun-fact: the designer who designed the first label – and subsequent materials – still designs for the brand today. That is dedication to a vision.
With their vision for the brand in mind, they knew they had to move past the imitators, and make sure the leading mixologists in the world know they are still dedicated to creating the finest spirits this planet has ever seen. “After much intensive research and development, they’re thrilled to present Quinetum, a highly exclusive quinine cordial from Steven Grasse, creator of the iconic Hendrick’s Gin.”
You’re probably asking yourself exactly what Quinetum is? It’s a unique and complex blend comprised of Cinchona Succiruba Bark, from which Quinine is derived, and a range of botanicals (4% ABV ethanol). Quinetum is a complexly flavored cordial, bittersweet with a slightly syrupy mouthfeel and notes of floral lime and orange zest with rose pedal and lavender. (Just in case you aren’t familiar, Quinine used as a malaria treatment medication, and can be found in minute amounts in tonic water.) It’s is designed to be a fiddling tool for meticulous bartender’s. It can be used as a cocktail ingredient or lengthened with soda water and combined with Hendrick’s in place of tonic.
The curious history of quinine is brought to life in its packaging, “channeling the ethos of Thomas Whiffen, a renowned maker of poisons who established The Quinine Works of Battersea, London and whose likeness graces the Quinetum bottle. He was the first person to synthesize quinine in the 1800′s, which at the time was a lifesaving drug against malaria.”
The small, custom-mold glass bottle was inspired by a 1940’s-era poison bottle discovered in a London antique shop. The Quinetum bottle was designed to echo the canonical Hendrick’s Gin aesthetic, with distinctively clean, painstakingly designed packaging and a Stelvin screwcap.”