Gin, lime, tonic, sprig of mint or green apple slice

‘Black Gin?’, you ask. Well considering that it comes from the land of the All Blacks, I’m not sure we should be at all surprised. But I’m sure if you ask Mark Neal and Daniel McLaughlin from New Zealand gin brand Scapegrace, they would tell you that their inspiration wasn’t rugby, as much as a blend of natural fruits. 

Developed to be poured black but turn a deep pink when tonic is added, Scapegrace Black obtains its unique colouring from a blend of natural fruit and vegetable extracts including the black Aronia berry, also known as a chokeberry, a sour fruit often used to flavour wine, syrups and jams.

Other botanicals include saffron, pineapple, butterfly pea and sweet potato. Scapegrace says each of the extracts was distilled at precise temperatures in a defined sequence in order to create the black gin.

The unique ingredients mean when tonic is added, the black gin actually changes to a bruised purple hue. The distillery describes the gin as having “full-bodied florality with menthol-like crispiness, balanced citrus freshness and a hint of spice with a candied sweet potato and pineapple finish.”

Neal says they “always knew Scapegrace Black was something incredibly special, but to sell out within a day was beyond our wildest expectations.”

Their new ebony liquor has flown off shelves, selling out a three-month supply on the first day on sale. Potential buyers find a message on the brand’s website that says “The response has been truly overwhelming, so we’re pretty chuffed. Never fear, we’re working hard to get new batches out there asap! Stand by.”And stand by we will. McLaughlin says the intention of Scapegrace “has always been about challenging the traditional DNA of the gin category and Scapegrace Black is a true representation of that.”

In 2018 the brand’s hugely popular Scapegrace Gold took out the award for the world’s best London Dry Gin Trophy at the International Wine & Spirits Competition. It was the first time in the competition’s 49-year history that a New Zealand brand brought home the accolade.