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Kanaracuni Cocktail Club – The Perilous Botanical Quest

Hendrick’s Gin recently embarked upon a real journey to find a botanical element that they could add to their traditional Hendrick’s Gin that would bring out its flavors and take the tried and true spirit to a new level. Lesley Gracie (Master Distiller), David Piper (Global Brand Ambassador), Charles Brewer-Carias (an old school explorer), Francisco Delascio (botanist), and a local Indian chief and guides ventured to Venezuela’s jungle to the Kanaracuni River to find the elusive flavor (to set up the  Guyana’s first cocktail bar).

Each day, the team took a different direction from base camp to search and brought back samples of the plants they found. Each evening, Lesley distilled the plants using the small copper still they took along. The adventurers found an element that played perfectly with Hendrick’s flavor notes on the seventh day of searching, the Scorpion Tail, a plant native to the Venezuelan jungle. They were able to transport 8 liters of the Scorpion Tail distillate back to Scotland (though customs was understandably a bitch) to create 350 liters of Hendrick’s Kanaracuni. Since only 350 liters were made, it won’t be available for sale. The entire journey was purely for the art of making an exquisite spirit.

Local bartenders were invited to the Dallas Zoo’s Flamingo Room to taste the Hendrick’s Kanaracuni and test some recipes. We started with a toasted cinnamon and pineapple cocktail and appetizers, some dried and seasoned crickets and mealworms (I kid you not). The group was treated to a video about the trip and then were given the chance to try the spirit. It has the usual herbal flavor of Hendrick’s with a certain bite that mellows into a spicy heat thanks to the Scorpion Tail.

The night wore on an delicious bites and a traditional martini was served which featured the Hendrick’s Kanaracuni (omg it was amazing). We met some animals native to the area they explored and were even treated to a blow dart competition where we were able to shoot the Global Brand Ambassador with paint balls. I, unfortunately, was a little too good at it and hit him square on the protective eyewear he was wearing. (Half and inch lower and I’d have been taken off the Hendrick’s media list!!!)

I personally am delighted to see a liquor company out there pursuing the art of distilling instead of the money behind it. I’d like to see more distillers follow suit!

Check out more about the Hendrick’s Perilous Botanical Quest at www.hendricksgin.com/perilousbotanicalquest.