Short & snappy tasting notes to accompany your daily gin in the 2022 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 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'? 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 sixth 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 Melbourne based digital artist Josh Dykgraaf who's been illustrating since 2012. The 'Warndurla' artwork was made entirely from images of regrowth shot in the aftermath of the 2020 East Gippsland bush fires, mostly nearby Omeo.
Check out Josh's other epic artwork here: joshdykgraaf.com
Barrel Aged Gin
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.
This 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. The redistilled gin is then poured into brand new charred American Oak casks until it takes on just the right amount of colour and flavour.
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.
The Buccaneer is the distillery’s flagship navy strength gin. Bottled at 57% ABV, the recipe had to be finely tuned. Specifically, the quantity of juniper and limes were both dialed-up relative to the standard strength 'Original Larrikin' release to ensure the additional alcoholic kick didn’t upset the botanical balance on the palate. This gin stands up very well in a Martini or Negroni, allowing the botanical flavours to shine through the drink.
Ginversity Barrel Aged
Great Southern Distilling, WA
Great Southern Distilling owns multiple distilleries in WA, including their Albany site that makes the acclaimed Limeburners series of whiskies. Founder Cameron Syme started with one site in Albany in 2005 and has since expanded into three. Margaret River Distillery, the one used to make their range of gins, distils most of their botanicals using a rotating evaporator vacuum continuous still. The near-vacuum inside the still allows them to boil the botanicals at a temperature of only 36 degrees, preserving many delicate flavours that would otherwise have been lost to excessive heat in a traditional still.
As the spin-off of a whisky distillery, Margaret River Distillery has no shortage of beautiful oak barrels. The ones used to age this gin are made of French oak previously used for ageing Pinot Noir. It shows in the soft pink hues of the resultant gin. Botanicals used in the distillation include juniper, coriander, cardamom, angelica and citrus. The botanicals themselves lend an earthy taste, while the barrel ageing imparts a sweet, slightly tannic finish.
Lemon Flower Gin
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.
Lemon Flower Gin is, at the time of writing, a limited edition gin that hasn't yet been released to the public, so this one is a little special! This gin features botanicals hand-picked from the Adelaide Hills with a dose of the lemon-rich spirit distilled from Rose's Hard Lemonade. It's balanced with savoury notes of oregano, thyme, bay leaves and the sweet fragrance of vanilla bean. Expect candied fruits, lemon and pear drop sweets backed by lemon rind riding on a juniper driven spirit base. It works wonderfully in a dry gin martini or a classic G&T.
Aqua Vitae Raspberry 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 principles is to use local Tasmanian and Aussie ingredients as much as possible. This Aqua Vitae Raspberry Gin blends juniper with raspberries (specifically the Willamette variety) from a farm close to the distillery. The raspberries are infused in a dry gin base, naturally sweetening and colouring the spirit. There's no extra sugar or syrup added.
Van Diemen's 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.
Inspiration for Van Diemen’s Gin comes from blooming gardens of the distillery during springtime using botanicals grown within Lawrenny’s own orchard such as strawberries, almonds and lime flowers. Other botanicals include juniper, vanilla, fennel, and citrus in various forms. Once distilled, it's cut back with water from the River Derwent before bottling. Ideal served with a Mediterranean style tonic water and garnished with strawberries.
Bass & Flinders Distillery, VIC
Situated on the Mornington Peninsula, 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. Their gins are made from scratch by distilling local wine into a base spirit before subsequently re-distilling the base spirit with botanicals. It’s a time consuming way of doing things but something the distillery feels is important to retain a sense of provenance in the end product.
Maritime Gin is inspired by the coastline around the Mornington Peninsula where the bush meets the sea. Locally foraged kelp joins locally foraged samphire and locally picked vine leaves in the botanical basket, which also features coastal saltbush, lemon myrtle, currant bush and juniper. The base spirit made from distilled wine is quite viscous so after re-distillation with botanicals the result is a savoury gin with robust mouthfeel. Don’t be confused by this gin’s name though - it isn’t a navy strength gin.
Strange Omen Navy Strength
Ironhouse Distillery, TAS
Ironhouse Distillery is an add-on project to Ironhouse Brewery which was founded in 2007 in northeastern Tasmania. Named after an old droving hut named 'Iron House' which stood on the distillery's current grounds, Ironhouse Distillery is where head distiller Michael crafts some of the newest Tasmanian spirits on the market using a hybrid still, with his whiskies sold under the 'Tasman' brand and other products including gin under the 'Strange Omen' brand.
This navy strength gin clocks in at an eye-watering 59% ABV and isn't designed for the faint of heart. It's pretty close to being a paddock to bottle product. Grapes which are grown for the property's winery arm are crushed, fermented into wine, then distilled into a grape spirit. To turn it into a gin, botanicals including juniper, Tasmanian pepperberry and lemon myrtle are added to the spirit and redistilled. Perfect in a dry Martini.
Lilly Pilly Pink 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 Lilly Pilly Pink Gin is inspired by the pink hues of the lilly pilly and equally pink flowers of sea fig. It's made using a neutral grain spirit and re-distilling with twelve botanicals including lilly pilly, native limes, blood orange, coriander, angelica root, orris root, juniper, sosella, sea fig and nasturtium. The distilled spirit, which is clear, is then infused with raspberries for 18 hours which imparts the all-important colour. There's no sugar added though, so this is a lot drier than it looks.
Suburban Barrel Aged Gin
Imbue Distillery, VIC
Founded by two hospitality veterans with over 30 years combined experience, Imbue Distillery is an operation unafraid to experiment with new flavours and flavour combinations. The Melbourne based husband and wife duo started experimenting with distillation in 2015 and launched their first products to market three years later.
This Barrel Aged Gin is an aged version of the distillery's original Suburban gin, itself made by distilling juniper and a range of locally abundant, foraged botanicals from Melbourne’s fringe suburbs including dandelion, prickly pear, blackberry and fennel. This gin is then gently aged in a combination of ex-Sherry casks from Spain and ex-Apera casks from Australia to create a spicy and nutty gin with a dry juniper finish. Works well as a substitute for whisky in an Old Fashioned.
Salted Lime 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.
Salted Lime Gin was inspired by some of Leigh and Bree's favourite flavours of the Australian botanical landscape. It's double distilled with two unique varieties of Australian lime along with pink river salt from the Murray River. Rather than infusing everything in the alcohol prior to distilling, they separate the botanicals into two categories - traditional botanicals and Australian ingredients. The traditional botanicals are infused in the still while the Australian ones are placed in the vapour basket. The result is a gin with plenty of fresh juniper on the nose, a zesty lime palate and a mildly salty finish. Great with tonic for a refreshing summer sipper.
Strawberries & Cream Gin
Brogan's Way Distillery, VIC
Based in Richmond in the heart of Melbourne, Brogan's Way Distillery is run by a father and daughter team. The father, Simon, is an ex-automotive production manager and graduate of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling. The daughter, Brogan, is the one who leads 'the way' and trained in laboratory science before applying her technical knowledge to spirits instead. She also happens to be one of the country's youngest distillers. When they opened their doors in 2018, Brogan was just 24!
This delightfully flavoured and perfectly named gin is a seasonal release made by first creating a classic dry style gin with strawberry gum, cinnamon myrtle and native pepper berries. It's then infused with strawberries sourced from the Yarra Valley. Separately, Brogan distills cream into a rich thick spirit which is blended into the gin. We recommend serving this in a G&T at a 1:3 ratio (30ml gin + 90ml tonic) with a big block of ice and garnishing with strawberries.
Hoochery Distillery, WA
Surprise surprise: Hoochery Distillery makes hooch! Founded by the late Raymond Dessert III (also known as ‘Spike’) in 1995, the distillery is the oldest operating distillery in WA. Based in the pristine Kimberley with a plentiful source of fresh rainwater and great growing conditions for sugar cane, the distillery got off to a good start. The Ord Sugar Mill built by CSR in the same year provided the distillery with a cheap ongoing source of molasses to kick start their stock of ageing rum. Sadly, low sugar prices and poor yields forced the mill to close in 2007. With his primary ingredient suddenly gone, Spike shipped over a cane crusher from Colombia and started growing his own cane on the property instead. Now, over a decade later, we’re enjoying the fruits of Spike’s labour and vision.
You might be wondering why we're labouring on about rum when we're supposed to be drinking gin. Well, this particular gin is aged in their ex-Ord River Rum casks. We haven't heard of any other Australian gins being aged in ex-Rum casks yet. That's cool, but the unaged gin itself is also out of the ordinary. Aside from juniper, all the other botanicals are sourced from Hoochery's own farm or neighbouring farms. These include honeydew melon (!), ruby red grapefruit, lemon grass, tahitian lime, mint, anise and coriander. It's a tropical gin on steroids!
Honey Coconut 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.
Honey Coconut Gin is made by first distilling juniper, coriander, toasted coconut, cassia bark, allspice, nutmeg and dried figs. This distillate is then blended with honey sourced from Castlemaine Honey. Despite the sweet sounding name, it's a rather dry gin and according to the founders, best appreciated neat or on ice.
Navy Strength Gin
Kalki Moon Distillery, QLD
Operating in the shadow of the behemoth producers of rum in Bundaberg is Kalki Moon, a self proclaimed artisanal distillery seeking to put the focus on the best local produce. Originally founded with a vision to being a small batch rum distillery, Kalki Moon has instead become renowned for their gin, which they initially got involved in as a cashflow stopgap while their rum matured in casks. Nowadays, Kalki Rum supplies their gin to over a hundred Dan Murphys stores nationwide. A successful stopgap, no doubt!
Navy Strength Gin is the boldest member of the Kalki Moon gin range. Made in the distillery's newer 1000L copper still, this gin clocks in at 57% and is laden with juniper, angelica root, liquorice root and local Bundaberg ginger. Master distiller and founder Rick says the botanical balance was tricky to get right as the higher ABV tended to obscure some of the lighter local botanicals, hence the reason the final recipe consists of mostly traditional gin botanicals.
Stableviews Distillery, WA
Located four hours north of Perth, Stableviews Distillery is the second distillery run by Illegal Tender Rum Company, which operates in the small town of Dongara, WA. The main company, focussed on rum, was founded in 2015 by qualified electrician Codie Palmer who decided to cut short his career in mining and use his skills towards a life-long passion for distilling instead. Equipped with a 1200L still, Codie is intent on distilling all his products 'from scratch', meaning they're all made in-house with no bulk spirit purchased from other providers.
Abrolhos Gin is named after the Houtman Abrolhos, a chain of pristine islands off the coast of WA, from which Codie drew much inspiration. Designed to channel the tastes of the island flora and appearance of the surrounding waters, this gin has been distilled with juniper, green cardamom, coriander seed, liquorice root, angelica root, cassia, cloves, citrus peel, grey saltbush and beaded samphire. The latter two botanicals are added during a second distillation and infused to provide colour.
Green Apple Gin
That Spirited Lot Distillers x White Possum, VIC
Tucked away in a small coastal warehouse on the Mornington Peninsula is a distillery run by a pair of brothers, JP and Chris, and a pair of sisters, Kate and Sarah. Fulfilling a lifelong dream of working together, That Spirited Lot Distillers was founded in 2018 after previous careers in tech, wine and fashion. Sustainability is something they really cherish: The still is powered by rooftop solar panels and a network of local farmers collect organic waste for feed and fertiliser. Although their core product range centres around gin, their obsession for flavour means they also make a range of tonics and syrups, which are made using leftover fruits and botanicals from the still.
That Spirited Lot and White Possum share a mutual love for sustainability and keen followers of ours will know we also use leftovers to make some of our ‘Naked’ liqueurs, so we were delighted when they proposed a collaboration to make this Green Apple Gin. To make it, fresh cuts of Granny Smith apples, juniper and coriander are macerated in the still while apple skins, stewed apple, dried apple, dates, cinnamon, vanilla and lemon are placed in the botanical basket to be infused.
Brookie's Byron Dry 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.
Brookie's Byron Dry Gin is a complex gin that's got a lot going on. Designed to celebrate the diversity of native bushfoods found in the distillery's regenerated forest, it's distilled with 26 botanicals, of which 17 are native to their rainforest. These include sunrise finger limes, cinnamon myrtle, aniseed myrtle, kumquat, blood lime, lilly pilly leaf, native river mint, native raspberry and macadamias which are sourced from the distillery's sister property, Brookfarm, just around the corner.
Barfold Dry Gin
Holcombe Distilling, VIC
Based in country VIC, Holcombe Distilling is the brainchild of Anthony and Jane Holcombe and was established back in 2015, although they only recently released their first product – this Barfold Dry Gin. Anthony was a commercial banker who felt the calling to the dark (delicious) side and has since dedicated his time to perfecting the art of gin. The distillery is located next to Kyneton, known as a bit of a hot spot for good food and wine (it’s also where the acclaimed Animus Distillery is based).
Barfold Dry Gin is the result of over three years of recipe development. It’s distilled in a traditional copper alembic pot still using the ‘single shot’ method, where all the botanicals are placed in the still and the spirit is distilled once. This is in contrast to a compound distilling method where each botanical is distilled separately then blended together at the end. To make a good single shot gin, it generally takes a steady hand and sometimes deep knowledge of the botanicals is required, especially ones that are very seasonal.
Darling Distillery, VIC
Darling Distillery was founded in 2020 in inner-Melbourne by three mates with a pretty complimentary set of skills: Sean has a background in brand management, Karlos and his family own a local watering hole and have been in hospitality for yonks, while Ben founded local inner-city dairy St David Dairy which he sold to Maggie Beer (incidentally, the dairy was sold again in September this year following disappointing profitability, but that's another story).
Darling Gin is quite a unique one. Karlos the publican naturally wanted to create a gin that was sessionable. Sean liked the idea of using urban local products such as rooftop honey, foraged rosemary, being a proud Tasmanian, some Tasmanian pepperberry. Ben’s dairy background resulted in the inclusion of fresh butter in the still, lending an incredible creamy mouthfeel and texture. The result is Australia’s only buttered gin with a strong herbal savouriness complimented by honey & citrus.
Barrel Aged Gin
Adams Distillery, TAS
When Adam Saunders, a builder who helped construct Boags Brewery, met Adam Pinkard, a paramedic with a dream to make whisky, the vision for Adams Distillery was set. The path to opening certainly wasn’t smooth sailing though. Construction at their first proposed site was halted by council just as the foundations were laid. Appeals failed, dreams were shattered but the guys held on and pushed ahead with an ambitious new build at a different site. A couple of years later, once they'd impressed the industry with the quality of their new-make spirit, they pushed the button on a multi-million dollar expansion featuring a 5,500L spirit still, a 12,500L wash still, grain silos, a grist mill, a new mash tun and new 8,500L fermenters.
Although the distillery was originally built to make whisky, in 2017 the two Adams decided to branch out into gin. This Barrel Aged Gin is made by distilling a fairly traditional selection of botanicals - angelica root, chamomile flowers, cardamom pods, cassia bark, coriander seeds, elderflower, juniper, lemon myrtle, orange peel and orris root. The gin is then aged in ex-Pinot Noir casks which are drawn from their whisky making stockpile.
Miner's Strength Gin
Swan River Distillery, WA
Run by father and daughter combo Scott and Abby, Swan River Distilling started off as a bit of a backyard hobby, exploring native flavours and
experimenting with different local botanicals in a homemade still. The COVID lockdowns in 2020 gave them the perfection opportunity to really immerse themselves in their hobby, scale up production and take things commercial. They’re now regulars at many local markets and their range includes seven gins, a couple of vodkas, an absinthe and a handful of liqueurs, each made with Australian sourced ingredients.
Miner's Strength Gin is a navy strength gin measuring in at 58% ABV and is the distillery's signature overproof serve. In the spirit of the mining theme, Scott and Abby have loaded this gin with extra explosive kick by featuring cardamon, coriander seeds, cubeb peppers and black pepper in the botanical list. Together with citrus and juniper, the result is a pretty powerful gin that's great in a spiced Negroni.
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.
Muntrie Gin is one of a series of limited edition mono-botanical experimental gins that Applewood has been championing for several years. Muntries, a native fruit often referred to as the 'Emu Apple', are at the heart of this spice driven gin. These small native fruits are reminiscent of blueberries and grow on a low shrub or ground cover. With a spicy apple taste, muntries were highly valued by First Nations people in Victoria and South Australia as an important part of diet. Once dried, the fruit lather was also exchanged for valuable tools.
Barrel Aged Gin
Mountain Distilling, VIC
Situated on Mt Macedon just north of Melbourne, Mountain Distilling was founded by a beer salesperson and a winemaker who came together to chat about wine but quickly figured out their real passion lay in making spirits. They've put in place a piece of technology made by scientists at Monash University that allows them to age spirits in days rather than years. This technology has been used to create their rapidly aged whisky, a spirit that has divided the whisky community - purists argue the spirit simply shouldn't be called whisky and does the category a disservice, whilst judges at the International Wine and Spirits Competition gave it 95 points in a blind tasting where the production method wasn't disclosed.
Mountain Distilling's Barrel Aged Gin starts its life as the distillery’s Mountain Gin, a gin which incorporates botanicals including locally foraged pine needles and pepperberry. It's then aged using their rapid ageing technology, which as far as we understand uses rapid changes in heat and some medium toast American Oak wood. This is a limited edition gin and we think it finds its mojo in a Negroni.
Gin Shiraz Mourvedre (GSM)
Threefold Distilling, SA
Merry Christmas! We hope you've enjoyed the gin journey so far. For this special day, we have a special limited edition red wine gin that's a great sipping gin.
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.
This Gin Shiraz Mourvedre, or GSM, is a cheeky play on the popular Grenache Shiraz Mouvedre wine style. Encouraged by the quick sell-out of the first batch last year, this is the second annual batch and it's a stunner. Many Aussie distillers have been inspired by Four Pillars' work on their Shiraz gin and as a result most work with straight Shiraz. Threefold decided to add Mourvèdre to add another layer of complexity. This batch consists of 74% Shiraz from the Adelaide Hills and 26% Mourvedre from McLaren Vale.
To make it, the grapes are macerated in Threefold's flagship (and original) Aromatic Gin to extract colours and rich tannins. The gin soaked grapes are then removed from the spirit and pressed to extract the juice which is added to cut back the gin to bottling strength, all while contributing sweetness and flavour.
And that's a wrap for our Australian Gin Advent once again! Thanks for coming along for the ride. If you enjoyed it, share some snaps on socials and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to hear about next year's edition and our other boozy treats :)