'Queer Eye's' Karamo Brown on Winterizing Gin

Kamaro Brown - Hendrick's -Publicity- H 2018
Courtesy of Hendrick's

The confidence expert/TV star created a series of videos for Hendrick’s, along with the gin brand’s ambassador Mattias Horseman.

Spirits and spirits-induced confidence can be dangerous bedfellows. Still, the folks at Hendrick’s Gin found the pairing alluring enough to call in Queer Eye’s Kamaro Brown, the confidence expert, to mix up a collaboration born of mutual respect.

The content? A video series, filmed over delectable cocktails, of course, with Hendrick’s Gin ambassador Mattias Horseman in which the pair talk confidence, style and how to entertain at home. “Mattias blew me away with his knowledge, spirit and open approach to life,” says Brown, who discovered eventually they had a lot in common. “His experience as a bartender gave him a lot of insights into how to talk to people and help them find confidence, which is one of my main passions.” The videos are being posted on Instagram and YouTube from now until the end of the year.

With the help of Horseman, Brown delves into some background on the spirit he’s always enjoyed but admittedly didn’t know tons about. “The more I learned about how it was made and how to enjoy it, the more I loved it,” he says. “I learned that gin is different from other spirits because the distillers can get very creative and add different botanicals to make the perfect consistent flavor.”

In fact, when they were playing with cocktails, Brown says the entire room filled with a gorgeous floral scent. “Hendrick’s in particular has a delicious flavor that’s enhanced with these beautiful essences of cucumber and rose — it’s inspired by an English garden, but it’s actually made in Scotland, which not many people realize.”

This revelation has inspired Brown’s next holiday: to see the new distillery dubbed The Gin Palace. “Matthias told me what haggis and bangers and mash are — I had no idea!” says Brown. It’s the whole package, from the instantly recognizable black apothecary-style bottle to the unusual flavor, that appeals to the TV star. 

When bringing a bottle of Hendrick’s Gin as a hostess gift, Brown recommends pairing it with a chic cocktail shaker, “so she can practice her shaking skills — your host will become an at-home bartender in no time, like me!” It’s also not a bad idea to bring the other basics: quality tonic water and cucumber, instead of lime. Says Brown, “Guests love the surprising twist, and the cucumber brings out its beautiful flavors.”

Brown admits that gin and tonics are his go-to cocktail in the spring and summertime, but in the course of his blitz education on Hendrick’s, he discovered it’s actually season-less, epitomized by the always-in-style martini.  “A hot gin punch with citrus and cloves complements the botanicals beautifully,” says the TV personality. He also advises adding cranberries to a classic G&T for seasonality around the holidays, or trying the effervescent libation below, a riff on the classic vodka-based French 75, for a holiday party. Says Brown, “It’s super easy, festive and fun, plus you get to practice your bartender shake and pop a bottle of bubbly.”

Hendrick’s Gin Cucumber 75
as made by Mattias Horseman, Hendrick’s Gin ambassador

2 parts Hendrick’s Gin
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 part simple syrup
3 wheels English cucumber
Dry sparkling wine

Method: In a mixing glass, muddle Hendrick’s Gin, lemon, simple syrup and cucumbers. Add ice, shake well and strain into a champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine.