Light reading to accompany each daily gin in your 2023 Gin Advent Calendar. Tap on any button 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 decade, Australia has seen an explosion in craft gin production. 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.
For a few years now, we’ve been a little edgy about the state of the market. With many hundreds of different Aussie gins on the market produced by a couple hundred distilleries around the country, many of them very small operations, could we soon be reaching ‘peak gin’? There are some players that have the funding to dominate the market, but will that result in the smaller players being squeezed out or will gin drinkers increasingly buy 'hyper-local'? We've seen a few distilleries shut the doors in 2023, but for the most part the industry looks to still be growing rapidly.
This Advent Calendar
This advent calendar, now in its seventh 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 we teamed up with Negin Maddock, an illustrator and printmaker based in Sydney, to showcase some of her linocut print artworks. Linocut is a form of printmaking referred to as relief printing. Starting with an illustration which is transferred to a lino block, the image is slowly and carefully carved into the block. Ink is then applied to the block using a roller called a brayer. The block is then pressed onto paper to transfer the image.
Check out Negin's other epic artwork here: negindesigns.com
A note about the notes
Where we have included tasting notes, these have mostly been drawn from the distillers themselves so that you can see what they make of their own creations (and whether you agree!). We've added our own comments here and there.
Bone Dry Gin
Archie Rose Distilling, NSW
For most people who have followed the Australian spirits scene, Archie Rose is a household name. Founded in 2013, this 'no expenses spared' distillery has been pumping out award winning drops ever since. Combined with marketing finesse, their success has seen Archie Rose products stocked in virtually every decent bar in Australia. The distillery now employs over 100 people and operates two sites - the original one in Rosebery and a new one in Botany which opened in 2020.
Archie Rose describes their Bone Dry Gin as their best gin yet. It's made with juniper, coriander seed, lemon scented gum, finger lime, lime, river mint, Dorrigo pepperleaf and orris root. The juniper is both hot distilled (the regular way) and cold distilled (using a vacuum to lower the boiling temperature) in order to capture some of the more delicate flavours from the juniper. The coriander seed they use is sourced from a single farm in South Australia.
A precise, focused and intense nose with a bounty of juniper aromas; fresh christmas tree, spearmint, eucalyptus and fresh lime peel. On the palate, expect a massive arrival with swathes of citrus, pine and mint cascading across the palate with intensity and expression.
The distillers recommend trying this in a G&T with Strangelove No. 8 tonic or in a Martini so dry it contains no added vermouth (a Churchillian Martini).
Karu Distillery, NSW
Based at the foothills of the Blue Mountains, Karu Distillery is a compact operation with the two founders, Nick and Ally, managing every aspect of the business. Having started the business in their twenties, these two are some of the youngest distillers in Australia and creators of some of the nation’s most awarded gins. Nevertheless, their journey hasn’t been without obstacles. With one main road in and out of the property frequently inundated, supplies are frequently cut off at crucial times. The 2019 bushfires that tore through much of the area also came within meters of completely wiping out the distillery. Despite this, armed with two stills and a keen eye for design, Karu trudges on with exciting new product releases on the cards.
Lightning Gin is a navy strength behemoth weighing in at just under 58% ABV. Built on a botanical base of juniper, mandarin, lemon myrtle, ruby grapefruit and geranium (many of which are either grown on-site or foraged locally), this powerful gin was awarded a Double Gold at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2019.
Try this one in a 'Striking Gin & Juice' cocktail. Line the inside of a tall glass with thin orange slices then fill with ice. Add 30ml Lightning Gin and half fill with tropical juice. Top up the other half with mandarin soda.
Two Pencils Gin
Granddad Jack's Distillery, QLD
Founded in 2018 by father and son team David and Luke, Granddad Jack's Distillery is a living tribute to Granddad Jack himself (David's granddad and Luke's great granddad). The distillery now has two locations; the Gold Coast original and a second in Brisbane. Their direct to consumer model means each location features a tasting hall and event space, with the majority of their sales being made this way.
In the midst of the war years, Granddad Jack acquired his trotting license and indulged in his passion for racing. With dreams of victory on the track, he invested in a racehorse he named 'Sack Cloth.' Alas, despite his high hopes, the horse failed to make any significant mark in the world of racing and never did much good on the track. But Granddad Jack's love for the races had been sparked at a young age. As a mere lad, he would craftily purchase big pencils, halve them, sharpen each piece to perfection, and sell them at the Timaru racecourse for a penny each. This savvy business venture enabled him to double his money and perhaps even paved the way for him to purchase his race horse in the first place!
With its smooth and balanced flavour profile, Two Pencils Gin pays homage to Granddad Jack's dedication and entrepreneurial sprit. By using only juniper and no other botanicals in the botanical basket, the distillers must precisely time and balance the flavour extraction from the still. A clean and fresh gin that celebrates the London Dry style. Enjoy this gin with tonic and a slice of cucumber.
Blood Orange & Gin
Canberra Distillery, ACT
Canberra Distillery is an urban operation run by distiller Tim who previously worked at Redlands Estate (now known as Old Kempton Distillery), a respected Tasmanian whisky distillery. A former economist, Tim initially found a hobby in distilling gin and vodka outside office hours, but soon decided to transform his hobby into a full time distillery in 2015. Incidentally, Tim also now works as the chief economist at the Housing Industry Association. Is there anything this guy can't do?
Canberra Distillery ferments its base spirit from raw grains. Using this base spirit, they make a range of final products including gins, liqueurs, vodkas and more recently, whisky.
Blood Orange & Gin is a blend of gin and freshly juiced seasonal blood oranges. The gin is made in the classic London Dry style, featuring a floral nose and a balanced flavour, the result of over 40 trial batches which Tim laboriously worked through over more than three years. The blood oranges are sourced from small local growers when they're just ripe.
Try this one in an 'Orange Twist Martini'. Drizzle some dry vermouth over a block of ice. Keep the ice and drink the splash of vermouth left behind. Now pour 30ml Blood Orange & Gin over the ice and add a quick dash of bitters. Stir for a while then garnish with an orange twist.
Cedar Fox Gin
Cedar Fox Distilling, VIC
Like the cunning fox, today's gin was a little hidden and took a little extra effort to find ;)
Cedar Fox Distilling formally started to exist from 2017 but it emerged through co-founder Craig's journey into the brewing and distilling worlds. After a decade of home brewing, Craig began his career as a brewer at White Rabbit Brewery in 2010 before doing a stint at Starward Distillery. It was in 2015 when Craig started to play around with various gin formulations and consider launching his own distillery with partner Ran.
Cedar Fox Gin is distilled using a wheat grain spirit base with juniper, coriander seed, Meyer lemon, Lebanese cucumber, Sichuan peppercorn, rosemary and lemon verbena.
Tasmanian Pink Gin
Spring Bay Distillery, TAS
Established in 2015, Spring Bay Distillery is the realisation of a dream for owners Cam and Suzy Brett. By the time they received their manufacturer’s licence in 2015 Spring Bay was only the 12th licensed distillery in Tasmania. Now there are over a hundred!
Located 500 metres from the sea, Spring Bay Distillery has a unique terroir claim to its spirits. Most afternoons, sea mist drifts up the valley and falls on the roof of the distillery, later collected when the rain falls. This sea salt imparts a unique profile to the water which is both soft and sweet, and it's this water that's used to cut back all their spirits to bottling strength.
Tasmanian Pink Gin is made using ten botanicals including three harvested locally - native bush pepper, lemons grown on-site and Tasmanian wattleseed. The botanicals are steeped for 24 to 48 hours before additional juniper and liquorice root are placed in the neck of the copper pot still to be vapour infused to give a traditional juniper-forward flavour and a sweet liquorice finish. Fresh Tasmanian raspberries are then infused in this base gin to impart a fruity tang and a pink hue.
Bear Dry Gin
White Possum, VIC
Yep it's a gin we made ourselves! You might know of us as a maker of tasting flights (and advent calendars, obviously), but we started making spirits in-house from 2018. The initial inspiration for doing this came from a waste problem. Back when we started putting together tasting flights, most distilleries sent us their products in glass bottles as the volumes were small and it was economical for them. We started to accumulate pallets of empty glass bottles, hoping for a better use for them (this was at the time when many municipalities in Australia were sending collected recycling straight to landfill). Making our own spirits and bottling them in upcycled old bottles seemed like a good idea, so that's exactly what we did.
Bear Dry Gin is designed to be a casual pouring, no-frills gin. We make it using two botanicals - juniper and coriander seed. These are infused then distilled in a copper pot still, then bottled at 48% abv. This higher-than-usual strength means it's versatile. Enjoy it in a G&T or in a stiff Martini.
Bear Dry Gin is actually not a product normally available to the public. It's a gin which we supply exclusively to bars and restaurants for on-premise service. This is the first time we've showcased it to you all!
18th Amendment Australian Dry Gin
Imbue Distillery, VIC
Founded by partners Mel and Mick, then joined later by two friends Luke and Nikki, the four strong team have over 60 years combined experience in Melbourne’s food industry from retail to wholesale, bakeries, catering & hatted restaurants. Imbue Distillery is a Melbourne based operation unafraid to experiment with new flavours and flavour combinations.
Geelong’s well-regarded Prohibition-style cocktail bar, The 18th Amendment, worked with Imbue Distillery to create a small range of their own gins offered to patrons. The range currently includes this Australian Dry Gin and a sweeter Old Tom Gin.
Australian Dry Gin is made using locally sourced Australian botanicals, including mountain pepperberry and strawberry gum. Flavour wise, expect bold and citrusy notes, with a peppery twist and a classic juniper zing.
Blind Tiger Organic Gin
St Agnes Distillery, SA
In Australian spirit land, St Agnes sits in a category all on its own. They’ve seen the boom times and they’ve seen the busts. They know taste is fickle, but they also know that quality will ultimately prevail.
Carl Angove, son of Dr William Angove, founder of Angove Family Winemakers, built what today stands as the St Agnes Distillery in Renmark way back in 1911. At that time, the main purpose of the distillery was to produce grape spirit for the fortification of port and sherry-style wines. But Carl saw an opportunity to produce a quality brandy distinct from the cheap medicinal stuff most South Australians were swilling back then. St Agnes is now Australia’s oldest family-owned continuously operating distillery.
Blind Tiger Organic Gin is one of the few certified organic gins on the market. Made from juniper berries (which provide a fresh spring forest flavour), cassia (for spice), coriander (for earthiness), angelica root (for a musky character), citrus peel (extracted from lemon, bitter orange and sweet orange), summer savory (for a slightly minty taste) and licorice root (to provide a rich mouthfeel), this gin celebrates the London Dry style. Best enjoyed ice-cold with tonic.
Furneaux Distillery, TAS
Furneaux Distillery is the only distillery on Flinders Island, an island off the coast of Tasmania. In other words, it's an island off an island off an island, and every bit as remarkable and remote as say the distilleries on the Orkney Islands of Scotland.
Co-founder Damien visited the Knapp Lewer still factory in Derwent Park while they were manufacturing Furneaux's 1600L and 700L copper pot whisky stills. During that visit, Damien saw another smaller still, half covered by a sheet. It contained a pot, linked to a copper column, linked to a carterhead basket, linked to a condenser. With the turn of a valve, any section could be connected or disconnected, thus offering the flexibility of creating any style of spirit using the different distillation configurations. After some persuasion he was able to buy the still and it became the first of the stills on Flinders Island. This still, aptley named Frankenstein (or “Frank”), gave Furneaux the opportunity to start playing with
Untamed Gin began its life as a London Dry style, but as the distillers learned more about the edible natives of Flinders Island, they were keen to utilise more of the ingredients readily available and less imported ingredients. They found a source of grapefruit, a tree that was planted from seeds brought across some 40 years ago. For an anise note they started using wild fennel growing on the hill. Kunzea is added for a zesty, menthol note, and native rosemary (Coastal Daisybush) is added for a uniquely Flinders Island flavour.
Barrel Aged Gin
Hobsons Distillery, VIC
Hobsons Distillery is located in inner-west Melbourne, coincidentally a five minute walk from our own warehouse. Established in 2020, this distillery crams in an impressive array of equipment into a small space. In a warehouse no larger than a hundred square meters or so, they've installed fermenters, copper pot stills, storage vats, some barrel racking and even a small test lab. The distillery's founder, Mark, has extensive experience as a scientist working in some of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies.
This Barrel Aged Gin is a limited edition gin made using Hobson's Dry Gin that's been aged in an American Oak cask that previously held whisky. Each batch of Barrel Aged Gin is aged in a different cask and the maturation time varies from several weeks to several months depending on how active the cask is. Barrel Aged Gin can be enjoyed neat, on ice or used in a ginger based cocktail.
Ruby Grapefruit 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”.
Ruby Grapefruit Gin is a celebration of a Sunraysia grown citrus, the grapefruit. This gin is a limited edition seasonal batch which, at the time of writing, was sold out at the distillery. Making it was tedious - each grapefruit was carefully peeled, cut and removed of its pith then infused.
Expect a bitter-sweet symphony of flavour. Enjoy this gin with tonic, ginger ale or soda (for the purists).
Oaked & Smoked
Flowstate Brewers & Distillers, VIC
Flowstate Brewers and Distillers is family owned operation founded by two brothers with eclectic backgrounds in the building, brewing and horticulture industries. Located in Torquay, Victoria on the Surf Coast, the fruity, woody and slightly smoky space is a working distillery during the week and an event space and bar on weekends. A 300L hybrid copper still named “Bobby” does the hard work. One percent of their sales are donated to environmental causes.
Oaked & Smoked Gin is the third limited release that Flowstate have put together and probably their most experimental one so far. With the aim of creating a sipping gin for the cooler months, this drop was first aged in a heavily charred American oak cask for four months. Afterwards, the distillers set alight some maple wood, blew the smoke through blocks of ice resulting in a smoky 'nectar', then blended this nectar back into the aged gin to take down the ABV until bottling strength.
A striking gin with traditional nuance, sticky vanilla and a kiss of smoke, reminiscent of a woody campfire. A real whisky lover's gin.
3608 Navy Strength
Nagambie Distillery, VIC
Situated on the waterfront of Lake Nagambie, on a site that was once home to the town's police camp, Nagambie Brewery & Distillery combines beer and spirits production with a fully fledged kitchen, bar and probably enough seats for the whole town. The focus here is on sourcing ingredients as locally and sustainably as possible, including harvesting their water from the nearby Goulburn River.
3608 Navy Strength Gin is a tribute to the original connoisseurs of this spirit, specifically those seeking a more robust flavor profile. The distillation incorporates ruby grapefruit and various spices along with juniper, coriander and lemon peel. The distillate is cut to 57% ABV, resulting in a big bold spicy and citrus-forward gin.
The distillers recommend serving with tonic and garnishing with star anise and a slice of ruby red grapefruit. You can also try this with a grapefruit soda (Capi Grapefruit Soda works well).
Davidson Plum Gin
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. 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 of gins, a small range of liqueurs and a few whiskies in the process. The distillery is now B Corp certified with a laser-like focus on sustainability through powering their site using solar, reducing glass waste in their bar and donations to local community projects.
Davidson Plum Gin is one of a series of limited edition mono-botanical experimental gins that Applewood has been championing for several years. This gin is distilled with Davidson plums, strawberry gum, wild basil and sumac, then blended with a touch of Davidson plum wine, itself made by fermenting Davidson plums.
Expect a bright, zingy gin with a lot of character. Pairs well with a light tonic and a slice of cucumber, or shaken in a Clover Club or Pegu Club.
Incidentally, we snared a few bottles of Davidson Plum gin for sale. If you're keen on topping up with a full bottle at a special price, check it out here >
Victoria Garden 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.
Victoria Garden Gin is quite a special drop. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first gin to be made in Australia using all-Australian botanicals, including even the juniper itself (incidentally, Kangaroo Island Spirits also released a gin featuring Australian juniper shortly after). Each botanical has been harvested from somewhere in Victoria, creating a true Victorian gin.
Best savoured neat or with soda to fully appreciate this milestone in Aussie gin making!
Navy Strength Gin
Puss & Mew Distillery, VIC
Puss & Mew was founded in suburban Melbourne by a teacher and insurance broker just as the last COVID restrictions in Victoria were being lifted. The husband and wife team spent two years sampling and experimenting with different gin botanicals before deciding that opening a craft gin distillery was their destiny.
The distillery gets its name from an old tomcat in a window or door, which in the UK back in the 18th century would have been a clear hint that someone was illegally making and selling gin inside. If you had wanted to purchase some gin, you'd simply knock on the tomcat or ask it a question then place your receptacle under a small spout which would magically appear to fill it.
Puss & Mew's Navy Strength Gin is a highly awarded gin that's hard to walk past if you're serious about your gin. This little number is bottled at an eye-wateringly high 58% ABV but actually delivers that hit in a sweet and forgiving way. It's made with some traditional botanicals (juniper, coriander, angelica root, orris root, orange, lemon, cardamom) along with some Aussie ones (strawberry gum, lemon myrtle) and exotic spices (grains of paradise, vanilla).
Expect a punchy hit of fragrant aromas from the citrus and the subtle sweetness of premium vanilla. On the palate, the strong peppery pine taste of juniper combines with the citrus flavours and finishes with a super warmth from the spice combination.
If you're after a very stiff drink, make a Negroni with it using 30ml Navy Strength Gin, 30ml Campari and 30ml sweet vermouth. For a fragrant Aussie substitute for the Campari, try Autonomy's Amaro.
Triple Distilled Gin
Five Eleven Distilling, SA
Five Eleven Distilling is the sister company to Six Twelve Brewing, both based in North-East Adelaide. The original Six Twelve name was inspired by the head brewer who is seven foot tall (ie. six foot, twelve inches). That's a lot of brewer. The distillery is family owned by ex-farmers and a new kid on the block, having been established in late 2022. The distiller is, however, six foot four. Hmm...
Triple Distilled Gin is Five Eleven's house gin, crafted in the style of a London Dry. Their base spirit is made in-house using malted barley grown in south Australia, which is then fermented into a mash by Six Twelve Brewing, then distilled into a malt spirit. Botanicals in this gin include juniper, citrus and liquorice root.
Expect a super fruity nose that's almost like grape candy and bubblegum. The palate is exactly what you'd expect, with more grape candy coming to play. A little sweetness appears. As the palate fades away, the malt spirit base is evident, reminiscent of a new-make whisky.
Full Circle Spirits, SA
Full Circle Spirits is run by esteemed winemaker Rose Kentish, who aside from running a distillery and winery also runs the group’s brewery and pub in Adelaide. After seizing an opportunity to buy her parents’ winery after it was put on the market 20 odd years ago, Rose trained and became a winemaker while her husband became an expert in viticulture. Once COVID struck and pubs closed, Rose decided to distil all the beer and cider that couldn’t be sold. These experimental products became quite a hit and became the foundation for what was to become Full Circle Spirits.
Chinotto Gin is inspired by the Italian Cola that is Chinotto, made with citrus and cherries. To make this gin, the distillers have combined blood oranges from the Riverland with ruby grapefruit and oranges as the citrus flavour drivers in the botanical mix. These are joined by cherries from the Adelaide Hills. Other botanicals include juniper, cinnamon, star anise, numeg, rosemary and thyme.
WA Daily Gin
Haiver Spirits, WA
The COVID-19 pandemic caused many businesses to shut, but in the case of Haiver Spirits it actually helped them start. Founded by a bartender, two airforce veterans and a chemical engineer, the slower pace of lockdown life gave them an opportunity to pursue a mutual interest in gin production. Some of their gins are made using a rotary evaporator, which allows the team to distil botanicals under vacuum, allowing the distillate to retain fresh delicate flavours which would otherwise be obliterated in a standard still.
WA Daily Gin has been tailored to suit the distillery bartender‘s preference for a gin with big mouthfeel, thick in texture with bold juniper forward notes. This is achieved by pairing a good dose of juniper with macadamias which provides a long textural and creamy finish and lemon myrtle which adds a bit of ‘stickiness’ by binding the flavours to the tongue. Each botanical is distilled separately then blended together, a process that enhances consistency from batch to batch.
Try this gin in a Hot Toddy. Pour 150ml water into a saucepan and add 1 cinnamon stick, 2 cardamom pods and 2 cloves. Boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in 1 tbsp honey, 30ml WA Daily Gin and 2 tbsp orange juice. Pour into a mug and garnish with an orange slice.
Lemon Myrtle & Cinnamon Gin
Lisandras Distillery, WA
Lisandras Distillery is a Perth based, family owned business run by husband and wife team, Lisa and Andras. Like the beginnings of many a craft distillery, Lisandras germinated from nothing more than a hobby and a love of spirits. Armed with inquisitive minds, Lisa and Andras took the next step, seeking to make their own tasty whisky without the need for years and years of ageing in casks. Unusually, some of their whiskies are aged in Hungarian Oak casks, a nod to Andras’ heritage as well as an indication of the adventurous spirit behind the brand. Their drive to produce spirits doesn't just end with whisky though. They've also produced several gins that have won plaudits from spirit critics.
Lemon Myrtle & Cinnamon Gin will have you nosing your glass for ages. Expect a big and unmistakable lemon myrtle aroma on the nose with hints of candied fruits and lifesaver lollies (remember those?). On the palate, there's plenty of sweetness and more lemon lollies in the foreground. Juniper dominates the back end of the palate and into the medium length finish. We highly suggest sipping this one neat or on ice.
Red Gum Honey Gin
Bancroft Bay Distillery, VIC
Founded in 2022, Bancroft Bay Distillery is one of the newest distilleries in Victoria. It’s a family business run by husband and wife team Craig and Sally. Spawned
through an abundance of time during COVID lockdowns, they’re currently distilling in suburban Melbourne but are planning on a relocation close to their holiday house in Metung in the far east of the state. Armed with a very modestly sized 50L still, their
releases are truly small batch, with each of their products named and styled after a location around Metung. The team is hoping to invest in some larger scale gear once they move into their
This unique Red Gum Honey Gin has been made in collaboration with Tambo Valley Honey in Bruthen. The distillery adds the honey to the still along with lilly pillies, strawberry gum, cinnamon and fresh blood oranges to produce a gin with a bold honey flavour.
Bushfire Smoked Gin
Mt Uncle Distillery, QLD
Based in the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland, Mt Uncle Distillery was founded more than 20 years ago by Mark Watkins, a 16 year old hobby distiller at the time with big ambitions. The distillery is located in the heart of a banana plantation and surrounded by lush green growth, many species of which are harvested for use in their products.
Bushfire Smoked Gin is a showcase of native botanicals, made using entirely locally harvested ingredients with the exception of juniper. Botanicals include juniper, peppermint gum, anise myrtle, wattleseed, cinnamon myrtle, pepperberry, lemon myrtle, lilly pilly, lemon scented gum, olida, finger lime, native ginger, river mint and bunya nut. The botanicals are smoked with a wood fire before being infused in spirit for 36 hours. The infusion is then strained and the liquid is distilled in the Mt Uncle's 1500L copper pot still.
Expect an intensely smokey, woody nose. An initially sweet entrance on the palate gives way to a savoury smokiness that lingers around for a long finish. Throughout all this, juniper is quite clearly present, which reminds you this is actually a gin after all. Try this with aromatic tonic water garnished with rosemary.
Sin Gin Distillery, WA
Sin Gin Distillery, located on the outskirts of Perth, is run by owners Mark and Kate. Mark was an Air Traffic Controller for 30 years and now head distiller, while Kate was a hotelier and is now the boss. Established in 2017, the distillery now has a team of over 15 and a range of gins including their original 'Seven Deadly Sins' series and a handful of more limited releases.
Christmas Acorus Gin is a gin that was created as a 'thank you' gift to the distillery's staff a couple of years ago, but in the rush of festivities, it got forgotten about and left in a vat in a corner of the warehouse. Earlier this year, Mark found it again and thought we should taste some. The rest, as they say, is history.
Expect a hint of earthiness thanks to calamus root used in the distillation. Serve neat to enjoy the calamus, or with some ginger ale garnished with an orange slice.
Christmas Harvest Cherry Gin
Threefold Distilling, SA
Merry Christmas! So far you've made it through 24 days of a flavour rollercoaster!
Most advent calendars end at Day 24, but we've always preferred to include an extra something for the big day. The trouble is, it's always hard to decide what to include for Day 25. We feel like it needs to be something special and a little left-of-centre. This year we decided to feature Threefold's limited edition Christmas Gin release.
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 first gin. Operating out of a warehouse in suburban Adelaide, the distillery really crams a lot into a small space. It features the gin production and storage area along with a full service bar and cellar door within a footprint of about 200sqm.
Christmas Harvest Cherry Gin is made with a combination of sour Morello and sweet cherries from Ashton’s Marble Hill Cherry Farm. These cherries were macerated in Threefold's flagship Aromatic Gin over the cooler months with a spicy sprinkling of cassia and clove to round out those festive feels.
Christmas Harvest makes for a luxuriously festive G&T when served with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic, lime and mint. Swap in Fever-Tree Ginger Ale for a very merry ode to the summer.
We hope you enjoyed your boozy month with us! Here are some handy links to extend the adventure:
With love from all of us at White Possum. Till next time ;)