Copper and Kings distilling world's oldest gin recipe - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Copper and Kings distilling world's oldest gin recipe

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- In the heart of Butchertown, Copper and Kings American Brandy is a beacon of modern distilling with its colorful shipping containers that stand out.

But look past the shiny new equipment and into the bottle and you'll see, smell and taste old school recipes. Their latest endeavor is taking on the world's oldest gin recipe, which dates back to 1495.

The owner of Copper and Kings came across the ancient recipe, which was developed by a wealthy, merchant from Germany and vaguely documented in the book "The Curious Bartender's Gin Palace." The description was then handed off to head distiller Brandon O'Daniel.

"I'd really never made anything like this," he said. O'Daniel didn't have much to go off, just a few sentences jotted down in the 15th century. "It was one paragraph and it was designed for a very, very small copper pot," O'Daniel said.

So O'Daniel broke out a 50 gallon pot still to start tweaking the recipe, which includes wine thinned with medieval hamburg beer, as well as other savory spices. 

"Some of it was like two handfuls of sage and 12 whole nutmegs," he said.

O'Daniel spent weeks sourcing the ingredients for the fruit based gin and figuring out how to use his state of the art equipment usually used for brandy to distill old-fashioned gin.

"We're really kind of going back to the roots of distillation. It's something that excites us, something we like to mess with," said O'Daniel.

He settled on a hybrid of his traditional style and what they did then, landing on a blast from the past for modern day drinkers. 

"This gin is a snap shot of history and kind of what we think they were drinking at the time," O'Daniel said.

Copper and Kings made just 77 cases of the Guelders gin and developed some new ways to use the old spirit. As far as what's next for the new-age distillery, innovation often involves going back in time.

"Anytime we get the opportunity to run across something old that nobody's done before we're for sure going to jump on it," said O'Daniel.

If you're wondering what do you make with this 15th century gin, recipes can be found here.

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