Short & snappy tasting notes to accompany your daily gin in the 2021 Australian Gin Advent Calendar. Tap one of the buttons below to reveal that day's secrets.
Originating in Holland sometime in the 16th century, an old drink called Genever found its way to England where it was quickly lapped up and became one of the biggest spirit success stories in history. Then known as gin, it changed the way people drank. In fact it became so popular that it made alcoholics out of otherwise restrained folks. Such was its popularity that the English government tried several times to ban the spirit altogether. The famous drawing of ‘Gin Lane’ by William Hogarth in 1751 depicts a scene of poverty in stark contrast to its twin work titled ‘Beer Street’ in which noble citizens enjoy the finer things in life while drinking beer.
How It's Made
Gin is typically made starting with a strong neutral spirit, one that is usually distilled multiple times for purity. The spirit is then distilled again in the presence of various 'botanicals' which impart new flavours into the spirit. This can be done by steeping the botanicals directly in the belly of the spirit still or by placing the botanicals in a basket which hangs in the neck of the still where flavours are extracted by the rising alcohol vapours during distillation.
For economic and logistical reasons, most gin distilleries purchase bulk neutral spirit instead of making it themselves. Whilst this is a perfectly legitimate way of making gin with some strong arguments in favour of this approach, it has caused some purists to call out the practice as 'lazy'. Not everyone does this though. Some of the gins we'll be showcasing in this calendar are fermented and distilled in-house from raw materials such as grape juice. You can be the judge of which method you prefer.
Interestingly, the main legal requirement to be able to call a spirit a gin is that the main botanical influence must be from juniper, but there is no regulation about how much juniper is needed. That's lead to a spectrum of gin profiles from classic dry gins through to heavily flavoured and colourful gins which could easily be mistaken as something else in a blind taste.
The quintessential gin botanical, juniper is a small evergreen shrub that grows in almost all regions of the world. It’s a tough plant that not only grows in well fertilised gardens but also survives in places most other plants avoid, like rocky outcrops, sandy soils and high altitudes. Over 50 species of juniper exist, but by far the most commonly encountered species is the ‘Common Juniper’ (surprise!). Their ‘berries’ are actually seeds surrounded by flesh with a distinct ‘piney’ taste. If you take a couple of juniper berries and crush them with your fingers, you’ll realise just how much the flavour of gin is linked to juniper.
Gin in Australia
Over the past few years, Australia has seen an explosion in craft gin production. For a few years now, we’ve been a little edgy about the state of the market. With over 500 different Aussie gins on the market now, could we soon be reaching ‘peak gin’? We can barely even keep up. Time will tell, but for now things are still rosy. The abundance of unique Australian botanicals continues to be a major drawcard for creative distillers. Be it davidson’s plum, anise myrtle or lilly pilly, there’s no shortage of unique local ingredients to put in a botanical basket and the diversity of Aussie gin is all the better for it.
This Advent Calendar
This advent calendar, now in its fifth year, works just like a regular advent calendar, except that instead of chocolates and nativity scenes, this one is chock full of premium Australian gin. Behind every flap is 30ml of the good stuff. Rip it out of its slot then come back to this page and tap on the corresponding day to reveal some interesting facts about the liquid you’re sipping and the distillery that made it.
This year was certainly a weird one. Many of us were kept away from friends and family for months on end. As such, for the cover of this year's Gin Advent Calendar we decided to collaborate with Sydney based graphic artist Jess Harwood to illustrate what we think connectedness looks like... in a tipsy native animal kind of way.
Sandy Gray Distillery, TAS
Sandy Gray Distillery, technically known as Sandy Gray Whisky Company, is based on the Cradle Coast in north-west Tasmania. While it may seem the primary focus here is making whisky, there’s a little more than meets the eye. Alexander James (Sandy) Gray was a Scottish lad who fought in World War 2 then studied medicine. He found work sparse in Scotland, so the whole family emigrated to Tasmania. The distillery is a tribute to Sandy who passed away in 2001. His favourite drinks were whisky and gin.
Winter Gin is a limited edition seasonal release. Yes, we know it's not winter, but we all pretty much grew up singing snow themed carols, so why not?
To make this festive concoction, distillers Bob and Neil macerate dried fruits, leatherwood honey, vanilla bean, allspice and cayenne in a specially designed gin base featuring juniper, orange, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Reminiscent of drinking an alcoholic plum pudding, the inspiration for this creation came from two separate Christmas pudding recipes from the 1800's from Bob and Neil's great-grandmothers, both of whom hailed from Aberdeen in Scotland.
Try it neat, on ice with a splash of soda, or in a hot toddy.
36 Short Spirits, SA
Founded by brothers Jon and Con in memory of their late father Pando, this South Australian distillery was proud to be the first to introduce a commercial ‘Rakia’ to Australia, a fruit brandy popular in eastern Europe. They’ve since introduced a couple of gins to their range as well. The name ‘36 Short’ comes about in reference to Pando’s suit size.
Their Original Gin is distilled from grape spirit in a copper pot still, following a family recipe handed down from Pando himself. The distillery uses a grape spirit base made from high quality South Australian Shiraz wine from the McLaren Vale region. To make the base spirit, the 'heads' and 'tails' of the distillate are cut ruthlessly (these have a taste akin to cleaning chemicals and soggy cardboard respectively), leaving only the smoothest spirit for further distillation with a range of botanicals.
Davidson Plum Gin
Wolf Lane Distillery, QLD
Wolf Lane Distillery is based out of Cairns in Far North QLD and is the latest wolf-related addition to the Aussie booze scene (along with Patient Wolf Distillery, Wolf of the Willows Brewery and Three Wolves cocktail bar, just to name a few). It was founded in 2018 by three mates who, perhaps not so coincidentally, also founded the Three Wolves cocktail bar opposite the distillery.
Their range of gins and liqueurs are made in an 8 plate column still known affectionately as Column Farrell. Trusty ol' Column Farrell is chiefly responsible for making the distillery's base spirit as well as the second distillations for each gin.
Davidson's Plum Gin is Wolf Lane's local interpretation of a traditional sloe gin. Instead of sloes, which grow in temperate climates, the team have used Davidson's Plums. These are a local Australian plum that grows in rainforests and has a sour taste not dissimilar to sloes. These plums are steeped in a base gin for three months before bottling.
Purists will be happy to see this gin bottled at a legal gin strength of 37.5% ABV.
High Country Gin
Backwoods Distilling, VIC
In the northeast of Victoria there's a small town called Yackandandah where husband and wife distillers Leigh and Bree have been diligently crafting their own whisky (and now gin) for over four years. For most of that time, they ran it all out of a garage on their country block (legally of course). Their still, nicknamed Stillvester, would bubble away in one corner while two mash tuns were frothing away in the opposite corner. The rest of the space was mostly used as storage for casks. Off the back of some very positive reviews of their early releases, they made the decision to expand into a commercial lot in the middle of town with a lot more usable space and complete with a tasting room.
Leigh and Bree have taken a very structured approach to creating High Country Gin. Instead of a 'one-shot' distillation method, they separate the botanicals into two lots: traditional and Australian. The traditional botanicals are macerated in the still (for a big bold gin flavour), while the Australian botanicals are put in a basket to vapour infuse during distillation (for a lighter touch). This creates a gin which is unmistakably gin-like yet gives off distinctly Australian aromas.
Juniper, coriander, cardamom, angelica root, orris root
Pepperberry, strawberry gum, peppermint gum, wattleseed, lemon myrtle
Barrel Aged Gin
Manly Spirits, NSW
Based in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and inspired by the coastal influence of their surroundings, Manly Spirits Co was founded in 2017 and has since grown to become a well recognised brand throughout Australia. In keeping with the laid back Manly vibe, it’s also the only distillery which we know of that runs yoga classes next to all the shiny distillery gear.
While the Australian market is their predominant focus, Manly Spirits also started exporting recently - you can find their wares in some of the best bottle shops in the UK. To keep up with demand, the distillery runs four copper pot stills in various sizes ranging from 50L (for experimental runs) to 600L (for gin and vodka) and 1500L (for whisky).
This rather unique Barrel Aged Gin is made by ageing their base gin in their very own oak casks once used to make their (newly released) Coastal Stone series of whiskies. However, the really interesting point of difference with other barrel aged gins is that there's also a lick of Coastal Stone whisky splashed into each batch of this gin for good measure. That's actually something you can taste and in our opinion it's what makes this gin the perfect 'whisky lover's gin'.
Six Shillings Gin
Old Kempton Distillery, TAS
Old Kempton stands as one of the most influential Tasmanian distilleries. Previously known as Redlands Distillery, many Aussie distillers have passed through its doors to go to its signature 'distillery school' where every step of the whisky making process is taught to young grasshoppers. The distillery is based in an old inn where travellers on the road between Hobart and Launceston could stop for a night and tie up their horses in the stables next door. There are three copper pot stills in use, ranging from 600L to 2000L in size.
Seeking to create the perfect 'summer style' cocktail gin, the team at Old Kempton uses locally sourced summer fruits such as kiwis, lemons, limes and mangos as botanicals for their luxurious Six Shillings gin. All the fruit is selected, dried and distilled in their 600L copper pot still with neutral cane spirit. To ensure maximum flavour transfer into the gin, they distil the spirit with the botanicals twice.
Old Kempton recommends serving Six Shillings over ice or in a Gin Mojito.
Ninch Dry Gin
That Spirited Lot Distillers, VIC
Tucked away in a small coastal warehouse close to the Mornington Peninsula is a distillery run by two brothers and their sister-in-law. After separate careers in IT, Wine and Fashion, That Spirited Lot Distillers is the product of a lifelong dream to work together. Although their core product range centres around gin, they also make an excellent range of tonics and syrups to complement the gin and serve as delicious drinks in their own right.
Ninch Dry Gin was the distillery's first release and is still their core product. Nope, it's got nothing to do with grinches or winches. 'The Ninch' is local slang for 'The Mornington Peninsula'. To make it, botanicals such as juniper, coriander seed, angelica, orris root and ruby grapefruit are distilled in the 'single shot' method in a copper pot still. Although the distillery also has a column still which they use for fast and efficient distillation, they've chosen to use the pot still to capture more of the flavourful oils that help to make this gin so tasty.
Best served with a dry tonic or in a French 75 (add lemon juice, sugar syrup and champagne).
Wild Citrus Gin
5Nines Distilling, SA
Founded in 2016 by two guys who got tired of corporate life, 5Nines Distilling started in a humble suburban garage. Retrofitted with 3 phase power and plenty of barrel racks, the pair then decided to build a copper still themselves rather than buying one in order to get the right configuration for a light, mellow spirit. Not that they knew how to weld though... that was learnt on the job! The name '5Nines' refers to the point of perfection that the distillery strives towards: 99.999%.
Wild Citrus Gin is designed to be a real celebration of citrus. While most gins will have one type of citrus in their botanical makeup (lemon peel is a popular one), this one has three and they're sourced fresh. South Australian grown mandarins, limes and oranges are peeled by hand and combined with juniper, coriander seed, star anise, cloves and a handful of other exotic spices to charge the still. The result is a gin that's got a perfumed aroma of citrus as well as a tangy and oily taste of citrus.
Serve this one with a dry tonic and garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Baker's Dozen Gin
Hang 10 Distillery, NSW
When boredom of a corporate life meets a belief that food waste is getting out of hand, you get Hang 10 Distillery. Founders Deon and Marine are keen surfers who wanted to create unique spirits out of foodstuff that would otherwise be tossed in the bin. In collaboration with the team at Mobius Distilling who provide the equipment and physical space, Hang 10 has developed a nice little method for turning old sourdough bread into a base spirit.
Baker's Dozen Gin is made from a mix of old sourdough and malted barley. A handful of bakeries have partnered up with the distillery to send their old bread their way for it to be fermented and distilled. To convert this base bread spirit into a gin, it's then re-distilled in the presence of 13 botanicals. Why 13? Well that's a baker's dozen!
This is a pretty 'meaty' gin with a savoury flavour profile that tends to work best paired with soda water rather than tonic.
Fonzie Abbott, QLD
When you have a passion for flavour, you can be unstoppable in your pursuits. So when the team behind Fonzie Abbott started roasting fine coffee for Brisbane locals in 2011, it was probably only a matter of time before they opened a brewery in 2018 and then a distillery in 2019. A case of ‘jack of all trades, master of none’? Not in this case. If their gin is any guide, their wares are high quality and damn tasty!
Wishbone Gin is a double distilled gin that features botanicals like orange, grapefruit and kaffir lime, as well as the usual suspects juniper, coriander seed, cassia bark and cardamom. The gin is left unfiltered to preserve flavour, which means you may also see a few remnants of the steamed botanicals when pouring.
Bonus points go to this gin for its unique retail packaging which wouldn't look out of place in a dusty garage.
Meadowbank Pink Gin
Lawrenny Estate Distilling, TAS
Located on a large acreage of pristine land in central Tasmania, Lawrenny Estate Distilling comes complete with its own water source by way of the River Derwent which drains out of Lake St Clair. Head distiller Joe Dinsmoor is probably the youngest distiller in Australia, yet also probably one of the most experienced. He started working in Lark Distillery at the age of 16 before becoming not only the first employee but the Head Distiller at Archie Rose in 2014. After several years there, the founders of Lawrenny managed to lure him back to the Tasmanian way of life to begin crafting what is quickly becoming an impressive array of gins, whiskies and other spirits.
Meadowbank Pink Gin starts its life as a ‘regular’ gin distilled with juniper, blood orange, coriander leaf and lemon thyme. It’s then infused with raspberries, strawberries and hibiscus which impart a delicate rose tint. Finally, it's cut back with water from the River Derwent before bottling.
Threefold Distilling, SA
Threefold Distilling was, perhaps by no surprise, founded by three people. The trio are not newbies to the booze scene though, consisting of Luke Fleming (general manager at Paloma Bar and Pantry), Aidan Shaw (manager at 2KW Bar) and Steven Roennfeldt (owner of Steve The Bartender). Inspired over a shared gin & tonic, the trio spent 12 months experimenting before settling on a recipe for their Aromatic Gin. They’re based in the central Adelaide venue Ferg Stepney, also home to a winery and brewery.
Mediterranean Gin is Threefold's second gin. Designed to evoke laidback Italian coastal vibes, this is a deliberately savoury gin featuring green olives, capers, thyme and basil as some of the botanicals. This is one gin we found did not work well with tonic. Instead, dust off your dry vermouth and take this in a dirty martini instead.
Original Larrikin Gin
Kilderkin Distillery, VIC
Kilderkin Distillery was founded in 2016 by a beer brewer and a distilling enthusiast and is the first distillery in the former gold-mining town of Ballarat since the 1930’s. Scott, the brewer, also founded Red Duck Brewery, and it’s on this site that Kilderkin Distillery now resides. The distillery makes its spirits with two Knapp-Lewer copper pot stills in the same style as those at other prominent Aussie distilleries such as Archie Rose. In case you’re wondering, the name Kilderkin stems from the same word used to describe a quarter-size barrel.
Kilderkin's Original Larrikin Gin is made with native lemon myrtle and allspice along with traditional gin botanicals such as juniper and coriander. From the outset, the team wanted to create an all Australian gin. Other than the juniper which is imported and the coriander which is not native (although they exclusively purchase Australian grown coriander), the remaining botanicals are all native. The team found working with Australian botanicals quite a challenge as much less is known about them and getting the balance right was a challenge.
This gin works well in a G&T. We recommend a lighter flavoured tonic. Garnish can be either savoury such as a sprig of rosemary, or citrus such as a slice of ruby grapefruit.
Giniversity Botanical Gin
Margaret River Distillery, WA
Margaret River distillery is the sister distillery to Great Southern Distillery, makers of the Limeburners series of whiskies. Founder Cameron Syme, started with one site in Albany in 2005 and has since expanded into three. The distillery operates a well known workshop known as Giniversity, where attendees can make a few bespoke blends of their own, drawing from over 40 botanicals that provide a mind boggling range of possible flavour outcomes.
Giniversity Botanical Gin is the distillery’s bold attempt at producing a quintessentially Australian tasting gin. It’s made by first distilling each botanicals individually in grape spirit inside a column still, then blending all the distillates afterwards. This is in contrast to the ‘one shot’ method used at a lot of distilleries, and enables finer control over the botanical balance. As you might expect, it features quite a few native herbs – sandalwood, boronia, lemon myrtle and eucalyptus – as well as trusty old juniper.
Applewood Distillery, SA
Applewood is the distilling branch of an exciting operation in the Adelaide Hills, driven by the dynamic-duo founders of wine label Unico Zelo and perfume label Nømad. Brendan and Laura realised early in their winemaking studies that gin, liqueur, perfume and wine all share the same focus on botanicals and aromatics. We remember first working with Applewood in 2015. Since then, they've experienced a meteoric rise into popularity, unleashing dozens (maybe hundreds) of gins, a small range of liqueurs and a few whiskies in the process.
Applewood spent years experimenting with various combinations of botanicals before settling on this gin - a citrusy, floral arrangement. To make it, a grape based spirit is re-distilled in the presence of botanicals including juniper, coriander seed, angelica root, ginger root, lemon myrtle (a native shrub), Earl Grey tea, lavender, vanilla, cardamom, macadamia, lemon and orange peel. The addition of lemon myrtle is a common one throughout Australian gins, but vanilla, macadamia and Early Grey tea are more unusual.
Adams Distillery, TAS
Adam Saunders and Adam Pinkard are the two Adams who have built this rather gigantic distillery from the ground up at Glen Ireh Estate in Tasmania. Pinkard was a paramedic with a whisky dream. Saunders was a builder with experience with construction at Boags Brewery. The two together were a perfect match.
Although the distillery was originally built to make whisky, in 2017 (one year after they started making whisky) the Adams decided to branch out into gin. This Turbo Gin is an overproof, 'navy strength' gin featuring a 21 botanical recipe. With strong robust flavours and a subtle spicy lingering finish, it's perfect served in a dry martini with a couple of oily olives.
Glen Gowrie Distillery, NSW
Master Distiller, David, and his wife Susie both come from a scientific background. Naturally, after years of studying fermentation, they decided on opening a winery then in 2007 started a distillery. At the time they were one of only a handful of distilleries in Australia. Then known as Red Dirt Distillery, it was the first distillery in Australia to make a vodka out of potatoes, in part spurred by a glut of potato production in the area. Nowadays, the distillery is known as Glen Gowrie Distillery and has moved to the New England region of NSW.
Originally known as Snoddy's Gin and recently renamed to Highlands Gin, this labour of love is made from scratch using potatoes. After peeling, washing and chopping locally harvested potatoes, they are then cooked and fermented for six to eight weeks to make 'potato wine'. The wine is then distilled to a spirit at 80% ABV and infused with juniper, coriander, ginger, orange, bay leaf and clove. Finally, the infusion is distilled again to produce this rather refreshing gin.
Peppermint Gum Gin
Autonomy Distillers, VIC
Founded and run by an ex-environmental scientist, Autonomy Distillery is a new kid on the block with a ton of drive to do things a little differently. As you’d expect, sustainability sits at the core of their beliefs. Based in Melbourne, the distillery sources empty bottles from a network of bars, cleans them up and re-uses them to house their products. That’s just the start. In the near future this team has a plan to make ethanol from agricultural waste products. It’s going to take a bit of tinkering but in the meantime, have a sip for a greener future.
To make this limited edition Peppermint Gum Gin, Autonomy Distillers starts with left-over orange peels from a local juice factory - one which processes tonnes of fruit everyday but throws out all the peel. These peels are combined with the usual botanical suspects, along with lemon myrtle, pepperberry and peppermint gum, a specific type of gum tree that grows up to 30 meters high with leaves that have a pleasant scent of menthol.
Peppermint Gum Gin is designed to be a fragrant and refreshing gin evocative of the Australian bush. Works well as a sipping gin or with soda and muddled raspberries.
Brookie's Slow Gin
Cape Byron Distillery, NSW
Cape Byron Distillery was founded by Eddie Brook and former master distiller of Bruichladdich Distillery, Jim McEwan. The distillery resides on the Brook family’s very own 96 acre macadamia farm and native rainforest, which they’ve helped regenerate over many decades of careful conservation work. As a result, the distillery has remarkable access to a whole host of native plants which have taken up residence – these include the Davidson's Plum, riberries, native ginger and aniseed myrtle.
Instead of traditional English sloe gin, it’s the native Davidson’s Plum that becomes a hero ingredient in this ‘slow gin’. In fact, this indigenous plum is not only native to Australia, it’s native to the subtropical region of Byron Bay – exactly where the distillery is located. To make this gin, the distillery infuses Davidson’s Plums in their signature Brookie’s Dry Gin and lets time weave its magic.
You might like to try this in in a 'Slow Sangria': Combine 30ml Slow Gin, 60ml pinot noir wine, 15ml fresh grapefruit juice and 10ml honey in a balloon glass with plenty of ice. Garnish with several sliced strawberries and a sprig of fresh mint.
Classic Dry Gin
Loch Distillery, VIC
Loch Distillery is situated in a solid red brick building which used to be the former Union Bank built in 1902. As the gateway to the lush green Wilson’s Promontory, they're in a prime location for visitors if you're ever passing through. Co-founder Craig honed his craft with Bill Lark of Lark Distillery in Tasmania before setting up here in 2014. In terms of whisky, they’ve created what appears to be a world first - three different single malts from three different ales, all made on the same premises. They also make some banging gins.
Each of Loch Distillery's gins is made in their hand-beaten copper alembic still which is located in the middle of the cellar door. As a result, production can only happen when their cellar door is closed. Keen to stick to a traditional London Dry recipe as much as possible, the distillery uses 12 traditional botanicals in this Classic Dry Gin. Each botanical is ground by hand in a mortar and pestle then infused in a base spirit (for a varying length of time depending on the botanical) before being 'one-shot' distilled.
As a high quality, no fuss, traditional gin, this one is an excellent candidate for a G&T.
Mt & Sea Gin
Headlands Distilling, NSW
The first distillery in Wollongong, Headlands Distillery was founded by four mates in 2015. The founders met in school and university, going on to become an investment analyst, an engineer, an R&D research consultant and a postdoctoral research fellow… at least until they put their heads together and decided to open a distillery. From the outset, their goal was to operate a ‘grain to glass’ model where they source all ingredients directly from farmers then ferment and distil all of their base alcohol from scratch. Sustainability is also high on the agenda – the distillery is powered using 100% renewable energy and they operate a bottle refill program to cut down on glass waste.
Mt & Sea Gin starts off as grain grown by a friend of the founders in the Riverina region of NSW. This grain is harvested and brought to the distillery where it’s fermented and distilled into a base spirit using a recipe that took three years to perfect. It’s then distilled again in the presence of botanicals including juniper, rainforest limes, coastal wattleseed and macadamia.
Aqua Vitae Modern Gin
7K Distillery, TAS
7K Distillery was founded by a lad who grew up in the country with an insatiable interest in making things. While doing an apprenticeship, Tyler began to dream about creating his own distillery - from scratch. So in 2016 that's exactly what he did. The initial building for the distillery was cut from two used shipping containers and a 1100L copper pot still was built from the ground up. Designing and building the still from scratch meant that it would perfectly fit the confined size of the shipping containers and gave Tyler more of a personal connection with the still itself. The distillery has since outgrown its initial creative shell but the upside is the new location (finally) has enough room for a cellar door!
One of the distillery's core beliefs is to use local Tasmanian and Aussie ingredients as much as possible. This Aqua Vitae Modern Tasmanian Gin blends imperial mandarins, strawberry gum and lemon myrtle with wild fennel (harvested by the distillery themselves) and juniper. It's a light floral gin perfect for a G&T on a summer's day.
Constable Proudfoot Gin
Little Lon Distilling, VIC
As the only distillery in Melbourne CBD, you’d be forgiven for thinking it to be housed in a drab corporate office with swivel chairs and a still hidden away in the underground carpark. In reality, Little Lon is housed in a heritage-listed brick cottage, one of the last to survive in the thick of a bustling metropolis. Just over a hundred years ago, the cottage and the area around it were known to be a den for illicit prostitutes and breweries. Today, the old bedroom now houses a large copper still and the storeroom is filled to the brim with fermentation tanks.
Constable Proudfoot is a juniper heavy traditional gin in the London Dry style. Named after a fierce cop who upheld the law in 1890s inner-Melbourne, the distillery isn't sure he would have approved of having a gin named after him. Well, they did it anyway. The base spirit for this gin is made from Australian malted barley which is fermented and distilled on-site. If space constraints weren't already a challenge enough, fermentation conditions fluctuate wildly as the tanks are housed in a room virtually open to the elements.
With its juniper-forward characteristics, Constable Proudfoot Gin is a great candidate for a martini.
Bass & Flinders Distillery, VIC
Situated on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, a destination for premium local produce, Bass & Flinders Distillery is the brainchild of two locals who noticed a prevalence of small wineries in the region but no distilleries. Established in 2009, at the distillery’s core is a 300 litre copper Alembic style still which doubles as the distillery’s logo. All their gins are made from scratch - local wine is distilled into grape spirit and subsequently re-distilled with botanicals. A time consuming but worthwhile affair!
Cerise Gin is Bass & Flinders' flagship pink gin. Made completely naturally, there are no artificial colours, flavours, added sugar nor sweeteners. Its blushing tones are thanks to a short infusion of locally grown cherries and raspberries. Botanicals used during distillation include juniper, coriander, hibiscus rosella and oranges.
The distillery recommends Cerise Gin be served in a prosecco spritz and we can attest that it is rather delicious this way. In a G&T it works well with elderflower tonic.
Christmas Pudding Gin
Fossey's Distillery, VIC
Fossey’s Distillery is based in the middle of the Sunraysia region of Victoria, one of the most productive fruit growing areas in Australia. In fact, the region produces around 98% of the nation’s dried vine fruit and 25% of all its citrus. What better reason than that to be opening a gin-focused distillery right in the heart of it all? Fossey’s has done just that, with its founder Steve keen to use the distillery to drive greater awareness of the region’s produce as a whole. According to Steve, “we have lots of wineries and great produce, yet we don’t really market our produce that well”.
If great quality fruit wasn't enough, then think about what it can be turned into. Locally grown and dried fruits are packed into plum puddings using a recipe passed down for generations through the Fossey's family. These puddings are then infused in the distillery's signature gin, itself made by replacing most of the traditional gin botanicals with Australian grown lemon myrtle, pepperberry, lavender and cassia (and as you’d expect, bucket loads of locally grown Bergamot oranges and tangelos feature in the botanical basket as well). Once richly infused, the gin is ready for Christmas!
Enjoy this one neat or warmed up and garnished with a cinnamon quill.
Oh, and Merry Christmas from the White Possum team. We're thrilled you came on the journey with us this year. Hopefully you found some delicious gins along the way! Support local and hopefully see you again in 2022.