Hendrick’s Quinetum – An Unusual Cordial

Hendrick’s Master Distiller Lesley Gracie created an unusual cordial to use in your gin cocktails
Hendrick's Master Distiller Lesley Gracie
Hendrick’s Master Distiller Lesley Gracie

We don’t think we need to introduce Hendrick’s to you. These cucumber-crazed pilgrims of the gin revival have already conquered the world with their famous black bottle and retro looks. Now they’re up to something new: Quinetum.

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Hendrick's Quinetum a new quinine cordial . #Hendrick's

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A cordial called Quinetum

A cordial is an ancient medicine containing alcohol, herbs and sometimes flecks of gold leaf, pearls and other jewellery. Probably invented by Italian alchemists during the Renaissance, the cordials were made to invigorate and revitalise the heart, body and spirit. Apparently a lot of revitalising and invigorating was needed in those times, because the stuff became so popular that everybody was starting to forget it was a medicine to begin with. So it actually became sort of a herbal liqueur as it were.

So this cordial is called Quinetum, because it contains – and you guessed correctly – quinine. Amongst other things like lavender, oranges, wormwood and holy thistle. According to the Nation’s tasting notes, it’s like chewing on a bittersweet flower. Quinine was used to battle malaria in the old colonies. They made a ‘tonicum‘ out of it, another word for herbal medicine, much like cordial, whence the word tonic. So this cordial is actually a tonicum containing quinine, whence Quinetum.

Cordial, medicine, tonicum or poison

Now, we are convinced that there must be an evil genius in the design and marketing section of Hendrick’s (who obviously has watched too many Monty Python movies). The bottle design, as a matter of fact, is an exact replica of a ‘poison flask’ found in a London antiques shop in 1940. Putting a medicine in a poison flask is very… unusual (and yet we have the macabre tendency to like it).


How to use it

You could use it to add more funk to your Hendrick’s gin. Actually when you add about 15ml of the stuff and top up with soda you get a G&T. It starts to become very interesting in other cocktails though. At the product presentation in the famous jazz cafe Archiduc (Brussels), I was presented the ‘Maigret’ cocktail. Maigret is a famous literary figure, a pipe smoking Belgian detective in fact.


5 cl Hendrick’s

1cl Quinetum

1/2cl grapefruit juice

1/2cl lime juice

a drop of Bruichladdich Octomore

We love the idea of using a medicine in a poison bottle to create a cocktail named after a detective. Also it is very yummy!

We suggested to make a Bijou variation with the Quinetum and Hendrick’s brand new brand ambassador, the fabulous Marco Mathieux, dragged us behind the bar to make it and we must confess in all modesty that the result is of course brilliant.

The famous Marco Mathieux and myself at L'Archiduc Brussels
The famous Marco Mathieux and myself at L’Archiduc Brussels

Bijou variation

5cl Hendrick’s

2cl red vermouth

1/2cl Quinetum

Stirr over ice for 30sec and strain in Coupe.

Or you can try it in a funky punch
Or you can try it in a funky punch

Hendrick’s Christmas Cake

Hendrick’s contacted famous stylist and fashion designer Harald Ligtvoet who in his spare time – together with his partner Wim Soete – is a passionate cake baker. Under the promising battle name of ‘Sweety Darling’ these guys conjure the most amazing cakes in their laboratory. Including this one:

Hendrick's Christmas Cake by Harald Ligtvoet
Hendrick’s Christmas Cake by Harald Ligtvoet

This beauty can be yours for the small sum of 150€ (remember it’s X-Mas). It’s available in the summum of sartorialism: Café Costume.

  • Café Costume Brussel: Rue Léon Lepage 24, 1000 Brussel
  • Café Costume Antwerpen: Emiel Banningstraat 11, 2000 Antwerpen
  • Café Costume Gent: Brabantdam 135, 9000 Gent
  • Café Costume Kortrijk: Leiestraat 20, 8500 Kortrijk

Place your order before the 18th of December at Café Costume and you can pick them up in the same place on the 24th or 31st after 11AM.

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