The fact that Scapegrace black gin changes colour with the addition of acid isn’t even the best thing about this New Zealand gin.
But it is incredible, nonetheless.
For the record, the level of acid you use changes the colour of the gin from black through to purple then red.
What’s even more incredible is the fact that it is black and it actually tastes good. That’s no mean feat in the world of gin.
The brand hails from the Southern Island of New Zealand. It’s grown somewhat of a cult status over the ditch and had started to build a solid following in Australia even before the company made black gin.
Scapegrace means “a mischievous or wayward person, especially a young person or child; a rascal”. The gin company was originally called Rogue Society, but the owners discovered someone already owned the name when they attempted to trademark it. So they found a word that means rogue but has an element of mystery.
Co-founder Mark Neal said the company was swamped with requests for flavoured gins a few years ago when raspberry and shiraz flavoured gins won popularity.
But the concept didn’t fit with Scapegrace’s ethos. Instead, they decided to do something that has never been done before – create a black gin.
And that’s much harder than it sounds.
How Scapegrace created black gin
Strangely, black is the absence of colour. To make gin black, you need to combine just about every natural colour possible and hope you hit the hole in the middle.
Scapegrace black combines Aronia Bery (red) with saffron (orange), pineapple (yellow), butterfly pea (blue) and kumara or NZ sweet potatoes (purple). To make the gin black in colour, the combination must be just right.
“When we’re creating this it was such a really confusing product because what you’re trying to do is two things, you’re trying to create something that has a taste profile but also has a colour spectrum,” Neal said.
At one point they decided to dial back the Aronia Berry flavour.
But doing so made the gin turn green.
It took 12 months of painstaking research (and taste testing) to come up with the perfect flavour and colour combination.
The result is a gin that is spectacularly complex.
Scapegrace black gin is earthy but at the same time tropical sweet with a hint of spice. It has an almost menthol crispness.
Personally, I think it’s best drunk with a Meditteranean tonic and a slice of apple. But Box Bar recently added Scapegrace Black to its at-home cocktail boxes and it adds Soda Water, Indian Tonic or spicy ginger beer and those flavour combinations are outstanding.
No matter how you drink it, Scapegrace black is a gin that will wow you not just with its colour changing ability, but with its original colour and flavour.
Always drink responsibly.