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Spin the bottle: Australia's spin on gin

Australian producers have taken the spirit and made it their own, using indigenous ingredients and uniquely local botanicals for their main flavour cues.

By Jessica Wilkinson
Published: March 12, 2017

It’s a brave new world for gin lovers and makers alike. Gone are the days of the London Dry or Old Tom — 'flavoured' gin is on the rise and it’s proving to be sophisticated, refined and complex in flavour. Australian producers are using botanicals, indigenous plants, and herbs and spices in a complex re-distillation process. The result is a unique symmetry of delicate yet robust flavours with viscous complexity.

Southern Wild Distillery

DASHER + FISHER, Southern Wild Distillery, Tasmania

“Each gin uses local ingredients, from high on Cradle Mountain to the freezing, clear waters of the Southern Ocean, which results in the gins being truly seasonal and varying slightly with each batch.” — George Burgess, distiller.

New Tasmanian distillery, Southern Wild Distillery have released a new range of gin – DASHER + FISHER. The three unique gins have been crafted by local distiller George Burgess and use the ‘Tassie trio’ of botanicals  native pepperberry, lavender and wakame to represent the Tasmanian landscape: Mountain, Meadow and Ocean. 

Mountain Gin
A classic London Dry style with a Tasmanian twist. This blend contains 11 botanicals that hero the native pepperberries and herbs found on the way to Cradle Mountain.

Meadow Gin
15 botanicals are used to highlight the lavender and oranges picked from local gardens and fields. You’ll also taste florals like lavender and sage.

Ocean Gin 
12 botanicals intertwine to create this complex and layered blend. You’ll taste aromas of seaweed, ocean spray, and fresh rose petal with nori, jasmine and roast peanut flavours. 

The DASHER + FISHER distillery lies in the heart of Devonport in Tasmania and offers a tasting room and bar serving cocktails using the three gins.


Cape Byron Distillery

Brookie's Gin, Cape Byron Distillery, Byron Bay, New South Wales

"The majority of the native plants we use in the gin are hand-harvested and come from the heart of our rainforest. Through our passion for it, we’ve built the most abundant pantry for making great gin.”  —  Eddie Brook

A little over two years ago an idea was born and a seed planted between Eddie Brook and the Legendary Master Distiller Jim McEwan. 

Cape Byron Distillery is situated on the Brook family farm where they have been rejuvenating the rainforest in the hinterland of Byron Bay. it is here that Brookie's a gin was created. Brookie's Byron Dry Gin is true exploration of Australian Native Botanicals unique to the Northern Rivers Region. 

Taking on a traditional dry style of gin, Brookie's is beautifully balanced and the unique flavor is achieved through the distillation method and the use of botanicals from the rainforest the family has helped regenerate. Every ingredient is hand picked and foraged by the Brook family from their property — everything from raspberries, native ginger, river mint, aniseed myrtle, blood lime and macadamia. The gin, as Jim McEwan describes it, is like an "orchestra" — full of beautifully unique and individual notes.

The Cape Byron Distillery cellar door will open in the next few months.

Four Pillars Distillery

Four Pillars Distillery, Healesville, Victoria

“Our botanicals are a pretty equal mix of local and exotic. Ultimately it’s about trying to deliver the best of both worlds – a perfect, classic gin and something that would fascinate and delight even the most hardened gin fanatic.” — Cameron Mackenzie , distiller

After experimenting for 18 months Four Pillars Distillery chose ten botanicals to form the foundations of their gin. In addition to the two native botanicals they use (Tasmanian pepperberry and lemon myrtle), they add in exotic Asian spices ranging from cassia and star anise to cardamom and coriander seeds. Juniper berries form the foundation of the flavour canvas, with lavender and angelica root rounding out the mix.

But they don’t just stop at dry botanicals. Interestingly, Four Pillars use whole oranges. For their Navy Strength gin, they add some fresh finger limes along with the oranges to give a slightly more South East Asian favour profile and for their Spiced Negroni gin, they use fresh blood oranges and ginger.

Four Pillars have four core blends in their range; Rare Dry Gin, Barrel Aged Gin, Navy Strength Gin and Bloody Shiraz Gin, but a special one to look out for the limited edition Bartender Series Spiced Negroni Gin.

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