"Escubac? What is that? If you had to make a comparison, Escubac is closest to gin. But really, it lives in its own damn house. The driving flavours and aromas are lemon and orange peel (not juice), warm spices (like cumin and coriander), vanilla, and tons of herbal, floral botanicals... I'd pop it right open, get out the tonic, and have everything you know about the G&T changed for the better." Bon Appétit
34% ABV. The motto is 'drink nice things', and the exciting first salvo from Sweetdram--a dynamic and innovative distilling collective based in Edinburgh--is one hell of a nice thing. First released in 2016, Escubac is a delicious, spicy and citrusy alternative to gin.
Escubac is a reinvention of an old style of spicy yellow liqueur that originated in Tudor England as 'usquebaugh' (a sort of ancestor of whisky). After being adopted by the French, and renamed Escubac, the drink eventually vanished into the ether. Or so we thought. Enter Daniel Fisher and Andrew MacLeod Smith.
To start, Sweetdram macerate 14 botanicals, including caraway, cardamom, cubeb, lemon and bitter orange and citrus, for 72 hours, then slowly distil them using a bespoke, teardrop-shaped copper still (built by Vendome Copper & Brass Works of Kentucky). Designed by the Sweetdram team, this still mimics the science of early French stills with the line arm corkscrewing upwards for maximum copper contact & reflux resulting in a super-light and aromatic spirit.
Following distillation, the spirit is then very lightly sweetened with golden raisins and a small amount of sugar (Escubac contains four times less sugar than the average liqueur), and tinted a light straw-yellow with strands of saffron.
As the gin sector continues to saturate, Escubac offers the discerning drinker and bartender something genuinely original and genuinely delicious to use. Aside from the addictive E&T, this modern spirit is delicious served on the rocks, while its citrusy, spicy personality and deceptive dryness brings enormous versatility. It can be handled like a gin or a vodka etc., be poured as a base spirit or it can be 'base split' with countless other spirits.
Escubac & Tonic (E&T): Fill a highball glass up with ice cubes. Pour in a 30ml measure of Escubac. Top off with tonic water to taste. Garnish with a wedge of lemon or a lemon twist.