There are 60 distinct species of Angelica. The one most commonly used in gin-making is the commonly encountered garden angelica, wild celery, Holy Ghost and Norwegian angelica. Angelica root comes from the biennial plant, however, it is important to note that it is very similar in appearance to some poisonous species and therefore if you are out foraging, make sure that you know what you are picking!
Why is angelica root added to gin? It adds an earthy base note and sweetness to the gin, however it is also used as a fixative for the lighter, more volatile flavours. This means that it stabilises these volatile flavours and helps the different oils to blend together. It is normally the root of the plant which is used in gin, however some gins such as Beefeater use both the root and the seed.
Try something a little different in your gin - add candied angelica as a garnish.
Named after the Rainbow Goodess, 'Iris', this botanical is the root of the Iris, specifically the Iris Panida and Iris Germanica plants. The plants are harvested when they are 3-4 years old and then the roots are stored and dried for 2 years. This period of time allows the flavour to develop with the roots.
The orris root is used in gin making as a fixative, binding the aromas together. It has hugely floral flavours and sweet smelling aromas which add the flavour of violets into gin.
As well as being used in gin, orris root is used in perfumes, found in homeopathic dilutions and tea preparations and is the main ingredient in Ras el Hanout, the Moroccan spice.