Gin Glass

Juniper – The New Favourite Summer Berry: Australia’s Best Gin

Gin Cocktail Mixer
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Gin, everyone’s favourite guest at a party throughout the roaring 20s, whilst having never truly gone out of style, has made a notable resurgence in popularity. Whilst Australia has, in recent years, been saturated by the hipster, backyard craft beer movement, what has come out of the every-man-for-themselves brewing and distilling culture is more than a handful of brilliant and refined gins.

The versatile and subtle spirit has made its way back onto our favourite cocktail menus and has fast become a crucial ingredient for any summer celebration. The main trouble now, of course, is sifting through the myriad of contenders and finding where to go, and what to order when you get there. Let’s begin with a few of Australia’s best gin distilleries and what makes them unique.

Nestled in the CBD of Adelaide, sometimes referred to as the gin capital of Australia, is Red Hen. Merely a baby in the gin market, Red Hen gin has made quite a splash. Already a favourite in many of the best gin bars, it is a traditional London Dry Style and distilled in small batches with a copper column to ensure only the best product results from the delicate process.

Moving southeast to Melbourne there is Melbourne Gin Company. Established in 2009 by Andrew Marks, who has a background in winemaking having worked for his own family vineyard, internationally and notably for Penfolds. Since his transition into gin, Marks’ Melbourne Gin Company spirits are nothing short of fantastic and have the slew of gold medals and awards to prove it.

Mornington Peninsula is home to Bass & Flinders Distillery. Originally starting small, it has outgrown its first location and recently expanded to somewhere that can hopefully keep up with the massive demand for this product. Distilled from wine grapes, this gin is smooth and flavourful as well as innovative and unique. With a broad range of flavours that are near impossible to choose from, Bass & Flinders also have the acclaimed Cerise Gin, and if gin isn’t what you’re feeling on the day, the fine brandy Ochre might be for you. This distillery not only has a great atmosphere, but it also offers masterclasses which let you experiment with the spirit yourself.

Another multiple award winner worth mentioning, hailing from Victoria’s Yarra Valley, is Four Pillars. Opening in 2015, Four Pillars is now very comfortably an international name. The Christmas Gin is also fast becoming a keenly awaited seasonal gin; packed with Christmas flavours, this complex drink is sure to become a fan favourite from their repertoire.

Archie Rose, now a mandatory gin-drinking household name, is Sydney’s star gin distillery. One of the top three worldwide distilleries for customer service, they pride themselves on their uniquely designed equipment and passionate team. A combination of this and finely sourced and balanced ingredients result in their famous signature Gin which is just the starting point for a range of fabulous products.

Other notable distilleries include Adelaide’s Never Never Distilling Company, known for its triple juniper gin; and Poor Tom’s in Sydney, known for its bold and unapologetically creative spirits. Distillery Botanica on New South Wales’ Central Coast is also well worth a mention, as well as Applewood in Adelaide Hills and Brookie’s Gin from the Cape Byron Distillery.

Gin Glass Lemon

An exploration of Australia from the south coast to northeast of New South Wales may not be on your agenda right now but there is a collection of the best gin bars to find these brands in. The ‘gin capital’ Adelaide boasts Thrift Shop Bar which heavily favours Australian businesses, meaning that these homegrown gins are in good company here. You might also try Hains & co and The Howling Owl. Brisbane’s Dutch Courage Officers Mess comes highly recommended as does Society Salamanca in Hobart and Frisk is a great place to stop by in Perth.

When it comes to Melbourne the list goes on with 1806, Lily Blacks, The Everleigh and Berlin Bar on everybody’s list but the resounding frontrunner is Gin Palace. Sydney however, seems to be the place to go if you want to do an in-depth exploration of gin bars with Stillery, Gin Lane, The Barber Shop, my personal favourite; Moya’s Juniper Lounge and Archie Rose and Poor Tom’s both play host to brilliant bars attached to their distilleries.

Whether you’re a fan of the simple and classic Gin & Tonic, love a Negroni or the fruity and refreshing Tom Collins you should give some of these Australian heroes a try. Have a play at home or get out to one of those bustling bars. It’s summer, it’s hot and getting back to work after Christmas is a challenge. You deserve it.

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