Spring Begets Gin

We’re looking to finally start production within the next week or two, after drawn out approvals from various authorities, and one of the flavors we’ll be making in our first batch is our first seasonal release, Heliotropic floral citrus bitters, our spring 2014 flavor.

It’s finally spring here in Vancouver and those initial few weeks of spring, whenever I’m in the mood for a cocktail, has me reaching for the gin first. After a rainy Pacific northwest winter filled with whisk(e)y, amaro and other deeper, richer flavors, gin always seems that much more refreshing and inspiring when the blossoms begin. Luckily, our Heliotropic bitters pair wonderfully with gin so I set about making a few recipes based around these ingredients and some other spring flavors to celebrate this nature’s reawakening.


First up is The Forbidden Fruit, the initial name given to grapefruit in 1750. It’s an extremely bright and refreshing cocktail, with citrus and floral notes, a hint of sweetness and a touch of fizz and is great for an afternoon in the sun. It uses Bombay Sapphire gin, dry vermouth, apricot liqueur, grapefruit juice, DRY Lavender Soda and a rhubarb/grapefruit shrub I developed, the recipe which follows. Oh, and of course, our Heliotropic floral citrus bitters. 


The Forbidden Fruit

1.5 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin

0.75 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth

1 oz rhubarb/grapefruit shrub*

0.25 oz apricot liqueur 

0.25 oz grapefruit juice

1 dropper Apothecary Bitters Heliotropic floral citrus bitters

3 oz DRY Lavender soda

grapefruit corkscrew, for garnish


– Add gin, vermouth, shrub, apricot liqueur, grapefruit juice and Heliotropic to a mixing glass with ice.

– Stir well and then strain into a chilled wine or champagne glass. 

– Place the grapefruit corkscrew in the glass with one end hooked over the edge.


*Rhubarb/Grapefruit Shrub Recipe

1 lb rhubarb, chopped 

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

1/4 cup grapefruit juice

1/4 cup champagne vinegar

2 grapefruits, zest only


–  Add zest and sugar to a bowl and muddle well. Then add the rhubarb and muddle further. Allow to sit for at least 15 minutes.

– Add the sugar, grapefruit zest and rhubarb mixture to a saucepan and add the grapefruit juice and vinegar.

– Bring to a boil over med-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to med-low and cook for 5-6 minutes. 

– Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, stirring to extract the juices. 

– Allow to cool. Bottle and refrigerate.



Next up is the Meadowlark, a martini of sorts that gets muddled with rosemary and wysteria blossoms for a very fragrant, yet spirit forward spring drink. The floral and fragrant notes from the Hendrick’s are perfect here as they blend with the fragrant, grassy and bright notes of the Imbue Bittersweet vermouth and the citrus of the Cointreau. The Heliotropic bitters really help accent the floral and citrus notes and bring complexity while the rosemary and wysteria blossoms make this cocktail very fragrant and add a botanical freshness to the drink that render it complex and long yet very quaff able.



2 oz Hendrick’s Gin

1 oz Imbue Bittersweet Vermouth

0.5 oz Cointreau

1 dropper Apothecary Bitters Heliotropic floral citrus bitters

5-6 Wysteria blossoms (or other fragrant and edible flower blossoms)

2 sprigs of rosemary


– Add the wysteria blossoms, 1 sprig of rosemary and the Cointreau to a mixing glass. Muddle thoroughly. 

– Add the Hendrick’s gin, Imbue Bittersweet vermouth and the Heliotropic bitters to the mixing glass. 

– Fill the mixing glass with ice and stir until chilled.

– Strain into a chilled coupe glass. Clap the remaining rosemary sprig and place across the glass.



That’s it for now and I’ll hold off posting further cocktails until we’ve got some bitters on the market so I don’t keep taunting you with cocktail recipes that you’ve yet to get bitters for. In this case though, I was just too inspired by the spring aromas and hopefully it’ll keep you excited for the bitters to come!


Cole Benoit, co-founder and head bitters maker.