When is a gin not a gin? Try this one, a non-alcoholic offering from Damrak. We tried Damrak’s standard, Amsterdam-based gin in 2018 and enjoyed its citrus-heavy palate. Damrak Virgin is distilled from 10 (different) botanicals, including Valencia and Curacao orange peels, juniper, ginger, lavender, cinnamon, and lemon peel — before the alcohol is stripped out.
The nose is lively, fairly bursting with sweet, candied orange citrus. Ginger is vibrantly present as well, and the lavender can be picked up over time. Sipped straight, the absence of alcohol unfortunately leaves this gin flat, and it comes across mainly as water that had orange, lemon, and ginger steeped in it. Adding some Fever Tree tonic, however, really jazzed things up as the quinine and bubbles added life to the virgin cocktail.
OK, I’m sold. Damrak Virgin isn’t great on its own, but it makes a really enjoyable non-alcoholic gin and tonic. The bold botanicals that sit oddly without alcohol sparkle with a mixer. Bravo, Damrak!