Klaus truly is an old hand within the german bar community. Owner of Munich’s Goldene Bar, he is also known as author and jury member at different occasions. Not to forget to mention. He’s quite nice as well. Today he will tell us about his herb of preferance, revealing his personal experiences with it and explaning what he likes so much about it and how he uses it the best way. Have fun reading!
Being asked about my favourite herbs, it did not take me long to answer. Camomile. Definitely. One of the few herbs that I have known of since I was a child. A classic camomile tea was great back then and still is one of my favourites. But non only on a personal but as well on a professional level, camomile has often positively affected my work. It’s special flavour gives a light sweet flavour to each recipe.
Camomile roots from south-eastern Europe and the Near East. Since it is known to be a very undemanding plant, it today almost grows all around the world. The commodities instead come from Mexico, Argentina, Egypt, Bulgaria, Hungary, Spain, Czech Republic and Germany as well. The best and highest concentration of the precious ethereal oil Bisabolol can be found best in Central-European flower heads. This blue oil is released by the distillation process of the camomile blossoms and tints the distillate with a blue color.
Already the Romans used camomile tea because of it’s calming and muscles-relaxing character as nightcap. The wound-healing, expectorant and easing features have been dominating folk medicine ever since. These effects shall not be denied hereby, yet they bring on – after a long and daily use – kind of the opposite results, a reverse effect (dizziness, nervous unrest, trachoma).
It was in a tea labotory in Leon, Spain, when we, back then, proved camomile not to be (hardly to be) water-soluble. 70% of it’s ethereal oils cannot be dissolved by water. A water-alcohol-mixture gave the best result at 50% solubility. So why not bringing in some Tanqueray at 47,3% then? Besides, this combination of a powerful-neat gin with camomile has shown to be perfectly harmonizing. The maceration I used right at the start, did not really satisfy me completely since they were all varying a lot and became quite bitter after not using them for some time. That’s why I decided to go for a percolation with Cold-Dripping. So now, just like a Cold-Dripped Coffee, the result became constant, highly aromatic and a little sweeter.
This newly crafted camomile-gin now substitutes almost perfectly the tea-bag for my cocktail called ‚gintelligence no.2’. Quite effective, especially at peak hour. The orginal plan was to put a mixture of gin and elderflower-liquor into a silver tea-pot, filling it up with some boiling tonic water just to infuse it with a bag of camomile tea by the way.
When it comes down to classics, such like the Bee’s Knee’s gin can perfectly be substituted by camomile-gin. The light, velvety touch I was already speaking of.
For the garnish I like to use the huge flower heads of some roman camomile, that – if in good shape – still carry all the leaves. Buying camomile bags, one should especially have in mind that pharmacy quality is best. Camomile from the grocery store contains a lot of camomile-herb that does not have the most of ethereal oils compared to the highly aromatic camomile-flowers.
Formula of Camomile:
50ml Tanqueray No. Ten
one bottle of Golden Monaco Tonic Water 0,23l
1 bag of camomile-tea
Fill up the teacup and the teaput with some hot water and put aside. Warm up the tonic just until it starts to boil (can be easily done with steam nozzle of an espresso machine or in a pan. Strain the water out of the teacup and start adding gin, elderflower-liquor and the bag. Then fill it up with the hot tonic water. Let the pot stand for some minutes and lose it’s cap. That’s important for the alcohol cannot vaporize. Serve in fine teacups or little silver cups.
If you are interested in some more cocktail-inspirations by Klaus, we can highly recommend it’s book called ‚Cocktails: Die Kunst Perfekte Drinks zu mixen’. Experience, about 180 pages, twists on classics, cocktail-knowledge, interesting recipes all written down in a very decent and pleasant way. You can find it here: Cocktails: Die Kunst, perfekte Drinks zu mixen