There’s no doubt that Gin has become one of the most celebrated spirits in the world, not only is it the key ingredient to many classic cocktails; the Martini, Singapore Sling, Tom Collins, Gin Fizz to name a few, it’s now gaining popularity as a sipping spirit, or an easy drinking mixer. Over the last five years the growth in the sector has been unprecedented - Australia’s love affair has driven growth by more than 36% in the last five years. It’s become so popular that in every major city you will find Gin bars popping up, and even better the range that is available in those bars has improved dramatically. Our demand for high end, high quality Gin has meant that Australian distillers have lifted their game. Australian Gins now rank amongst some of the best in the world, taking centre stage at many competitions, and walking away with big chunky gold medals at international shows.
All gins are made from grain or grape, and by law to be labelled as Gin it must contain juniper berries. Other botanicals are added along the way, typically things like bitter orange peel, and combinations of other spices, such as anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander and angelica root (wild celery). With all these new distilleries, some want to show what they can do; what they are capable of, and they are pushing boundaries, not just content
to use the “old school” flavour profile, they are grabbing Australian native botanicals and charging ahead like a bull at a gate. These new kids on the block, or some cases old heads running young businesses, all want to show that they are at the top of their game, and make their mark. Obviously not all distilleries are knocking the ball out of the park, but when they get it right, boy it makes for great drinking.
Hailing from Tassie comes this London dry style gin made using pure Tasmanian spring water, juniper, citrus peel, coriander seed, cardamom, orris root, star anise and finger limes. Well balanced between the flavours of the juniper and coriander, with that citrus giving it a burst of flavour and a long finish. Makes a great martini, but it’s got a high alcohol so watch out. Around $90
Coming out of Sydney’s first distillery in over 160 years, this has over four- teen botanicals that are distilled separately, using some interesting natives such as Dorrigo pepper and Australian blood limes. The Juniper berries come through very strongly, but it’s balanced by the citrus and the peppercorns. This makes a freaking awesome Gin and Tonic. About $75
Eleven botanicals are separately distilled in a special still that is more commonly used for perfume making, so that each retain their delicate flavours. And it works to produce such a crisp clean, slightly cloudy gin. It’s a classic dry style, very well balanced, I got touches of creamy nut from macadamia. Perfect on ice. $70.
Western Australia is more known for mining, diamonds, and remote rocky vistas than for its superb gin, but that’s changing. The West Winds range is easily found all around the world now after takingout a swag of medals at world competitions with their rich and quite powerful (50%abv) gin. It feels quite dense in the mouth with bush tomato and coriander seed at the fore. You could easily drink a fair bit of this on ice. $75
The team at Mt Uncle knock out one of Australia’s most distinctive gins. They use fourteen botanicals including river mint, lemon myrtle to produce a gin that gives you a different predominant flavour every time you take a sip,it’s peppery, then citrus, then the juniper, it’s always changing. Makes a superb martini, no vermouth needed here, the spirit is that easy to drink straight out of the bottle into a martini glass with an olive. It’s big, bold and has got enough going on to make a lot of rum, whiskey or bourbon drinkers sit up and take notice. $80.
The Barefoot Drinker, Far North Queensland.
Reviews are written based on drinks in the tropics, not based on a guess how they will go in tropical heat! For further insight www.barefootdrinker.com