My visit to the Diageo Archives

One of the highlights of my trip to the UK last month, was my visit the Diageo Archives in Scotland, which contains the records of Tanqueray, Gordon’s and Boord’s gin, as well as Smirnoff, Johnny Walker and Baileys. It was undoubtedly one of my most thrilling experiences of my gin career so far!

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Meeting Joanne

I was welcomed to the archive by Joanne McKerchar, Diageo’s Senior Archivist responsible for the gin and malts. whose job I would give my right arm for. When I expressed my (not so mild) jealousy, she told me; “I know, I was lucky, wasn’t I? I didn’t quite know what to do after University where I studied history. I didn’t want to be a teacher, so I went to work at the national archives of Scotland for a year. I really enjoyed that. So I decided to do my Masters in Archives and Records Management in Liverpool and was appointed to this position on graduating.”

The Archive

The site of the archive is a former whisky distillery which ceased production in 1925 and turned into a centre for producing and testing yeast. Labs were added and much of the innovation surrounding whisky comes from this centre. There is a wonderful family connection as Joanne’s grandfather worked here as a baker testing the yeast. While he is no longer alive and didn’t know of her role, Joanne said she feels a strong connection and sometimes comes across photos of him during her research.

The archive was established twenty years ago by Doctor Nick Morgan. Joanne explained that up until then, because of the various companies that had owned each brand there was material at lots of different sites around the UK.”Nick took upon himself to try and centralise all of the historically records in one place, which was a huge task”.

The archive was expanded about 2 years ago, with a £1.5 million investment in the archive this allowed them to add the Liquid Library.

The earliest records are for gin and go back to the 1740’s, with their earliest gin brand, Boord’s. The archives contain anything from minute books, letters, ledgers, old advertising, huge packaging collections, and recipe books. I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to see some of these up close!

Minutes of the first meeting after the merger of Tanqueray and Gordon.

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Cash books

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Ledger

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
The letter is an account of a Polish distributor for Alexander Gordon & Co in which he discusses general information including the growing of crops such as wheat and corn and the weather – from 1777.

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Tanqueray’s Coat of Arms. The picks and pineapple at the top, still feature in the branding today.

Joanne’s job doesn’t just entail looking after the historical items, but she is also responsible for gathering everything ongoing so that nothing is lost for the future. “We work in partnership with our teams, our global marketing teams, or in-market teams at the moment to make sure that receive everything they do, as well as keeping an eye on auction sites to see if anything unusual comes up that we might want to buy.”

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Gordon’s Jug (from Australia)

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Guns used in the Gordon riots to protect the distillery.

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Tanqueray & Gordon delivery cart (complete with unopened bottles)

The Liquid Library

The Liquid Library is a treasure trove of booze from some of the oldest to the latest launches, everything is here. Obviously, I was very keen to research the gin!

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Very excited!
My visit to the Diageo Archives
Boord’s Gin, founded in 1726, famous for its Old Tom gin.

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
The earliest Tanqueray bottle in the collection (from the USA c.1802)

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Earliest Gordon’s bottle from the UK market (dating c.1909-1923).

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Gordon’s Bottled cocktails from the 1920s – note the cocktail shaker design that was later incorporated into the Tanqueray bottle shape.

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Orange and Lemon gin

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Gordon’s Sloe gin

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
Gordon’s Export – the labels and bottles are different to the UK version, probably due to a time when the gin was in demand and they ran out of the green bottles/white labels so improvised!

 

My visit to the Diageo Archives
More recent drinks

The role of the archive

The archive isn’t open to public, so is it simply a nice thing for the company to have? Joanne told me that, “For the business to support us we have to be commercially viable, and we are. We have to make sure that everything that we do delivers against the gin team agenda. For example, whatever our Tanqueray team is working on at the moment I have to think about how I can support them with the records, the information, and the knowledge that I have, to help them succeed in that project.”

Joanne responds to discussions with bartenders that the global team has to identify trends in the gin world. A good example is Old Tom gin. She turned to Charles Tanqueray’s recipe books (whose handwriting was in her words “horrendous”) and former master distiller, Tom Nichol relied on Joanne to translate and interpret the handwriting. She made me laugh with one story of Tom (who is known for his colourful language) returning something to her saying “Oh, Jo, for f*@%’s sake, it says a tub. How big is a tub?”. She patiently replied “Well, how big do you want the tub to be? Now go and interpret this recipe and make it into something special!”

tanqueray-old-tom-gin

According to Joanne, Charles Tanqueray’s recipe books offer a real insight into who he was. Each one has notes alongside saying things like “Not good. Don’t try that again.” as well as his workings rather than just finished recipes.

She explained, “It’s him experimenting to get to that perfected finished thing. The recipe books are massive because he’s just trying so many different things, it’s constant trial and error. He also gives really good details like, ‘You run the still for this long. You run it at this temperature’, so they’re very precise. He’s also using botanicals, fruits, anything that he can get his hands on from everywhere! And he’s not just making gin, he’s making fruit liquors, rums, brandies, he’s even got cocktail recipes in there. So it really is anything and everything. And then, because he’s a bit crazy and excentric, you’ll have things like a boot polish recipe. or pills to cure your horse when it has a sore stomach, and stuff like that. He was a chemist, very scientific, very factual. But he did have a bit of a twinkle.”

I spent hours at the archive, and barely scratched the surface! It was an extraordinary experience and I am very grateful to Joanne for her time and the entire Tanqueray team for making my visit happen.

Sloe Gin and Tempranillo Negroni

Sloe Gin and Tempranillo Negroni

Melbourne winters are brutal and this one seems to be more bitterly cold than usual. From someone who withstood years of English winters, this is saying something. Sloe gin is my go to in winter and this rich spiced Sloe gin and Tempranillo Negroni by Dan Jones in his book Gin: Shake, Muddle and Stir is perfect for cold evenings. You could even heat it up a little to keep your hands warm!

Ingredients for Sloe gin and Tempranillo Negroni

30ml Sloe and Star Anise Gin

30ml Tempranillo reduction

60ml campari

orange peel/star anise to garnish

Method

To make the Sloe and Star Anise infused gin

For his recipe Dan has created a sloe and star anise gin from scratch, using fresh ripe sloe berries, as they are easier to come by in the UK. Fortunately I had some delicious McHenry sloe gin to hand so, I added some star anise to the sloe gin and infused for three days.

Sloe Gin and Tempranillo Negroni

To make Tempranillo reduction 

Ingredients

200ml Tempranillo wine

pinch of crushed star anise

100g of dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon of corn syrup or golden syrup (optional)

Method

Simmer the wine and star anise in a non-stick pan and slowly add the sugar. Turn down heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has reduced by a third. Turn off the heat and leave for 20-30 minutes to cool and for the flavours to infuse. Adding the corn syrup to the finished product will keep the reduction smooth.

To make to Sloe Gin and Tempranillo Negroni

Stir the ingredients in a  mixing glass over ice. Strain into a rocks glass filled with a large ice-cube. Garnish with the orange peel and or star anise.

Sloe Gin and Tempranillo Negroni

Patient Wolf Gin

Patient Wolf Gin

“A gentleman is simply a patient wolf “~ Lana Turner

Lana’s quote is an apt one for Dave and Matt at Patient Wolf gin. Plenty is required when setting up a distillery. Like many before them it took the team almost three years to set up in Brunswick, Melbourne. Finally in October last year they welcomed Sebastian Mueller, 4th Generation still maker, to Melbourne to help them build their stunning Mueller still and what a beauty she is!

Patient Wolf Gin
Patient Wolf Gin Still

Matt and Dave then had the tricky task of taking the recipe they had created on their tiny desk-top still and making it work on the full-size one. Not an easy feat as many distillers will tell you. The team spent hours with several of Melbourne’s top bartenders like Trish Brew at Gin Palace and Seb Costello at Bad Frankie sharing their test batches and looking for feedback. They were finally happy with the recipe in December and launched Batch 1 on crowd funding site, Pozible.

Matt Argus and Dave Irwin from Patient Wolf Gin

The botanicals

The gin features both native and traditional botanicals. Steeped overnight and distilled in the pot are juniper berries, coriander seeds, orris root, angelica root, cardamom, cubeb pepper and the interesting (and extremely expensive) tonka bean. Tonka bean is a relatively recent inclusion in gins, but it’s long been used as a replacement for vanilla, in perfumes and tobacco. Fresh local organic ruby grapefruit, fresh organic oranges and aniseed myrtle (from northern NSW) are vapour infused in the botanical basket. Dave found the aniseed myrtle too overpowering to use directly in the pot still!

Patient Wolf Gin
Tonka Bean. (Image via Hidden Souk)

Tasting Patient Wolf gin

I was fortunate to taste some of Matt and Dave “gins in progress” while they were refining the recipe and it’s exciting to see how far they have come from the initial batches. I recently received Batch No. 5 to taste and trial.

On the nose Patient Wolf has hints of citrus, light vanilla and earthy/musky notes. To taste, citrus starts us off before moving into floral, earthy notes with a faint touch of parma violet (I’m guessing from the orris root and angelica) followed by a lengthy spicy finish. It has a wonderfully smooth feel on the mouth.

Drinking Patient Wolf gin

patient wolf gin
Patient Wolf gin Negroni

Patient Wolf makes a fine gin and tonic, not as juniper forward as I like, but delicious with a wedge of ruby grapefruit as per their recommendation. For martini lovers, I’d try it in a wet rather than a dry. Where Patient Wolf really stood out for me was in a Negroni. The musky, earthy notes provide a good backbone against the sweetness of the vermouth and bitterness of the Campari.

Patience has certainly paid off for Dave and Matt. Producing a quality gin is not as easy as you’d think! Patient Wolf was a worthy recipient of a Silver Medal at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards in 2017 and I’m looking forward to watching what the team does next.

Country of Origin: Australia

Price: Medium

You can follow Patient Wolf gin on Facebook, instagram and twitter.

Nuked Negroni

Ryan Chetiyawardana’s Nuked Negroni

Microwaves are a waste of time when it comes to enhancing the flavour of food. Mine is rarely used, except for heating up porridge or the endless cups of tea and coffee that I let go cold when I’m busy with the website. However, Ryan Chetiyawardana’s Nuked Negroni (from his excellent book, Good Things to Drink) shows what a useful tool it can be for making drinks!

Heating the ingredients for a Nuked Negroni draws out the flavours and adds depth to the drink that isn’t there when you simply stir it down.

It was a particularly cold afternoon in Melbourne when I was playing with this recipe and, impatient as I am, I couldn’t wait for the drink to cool, so enjoyed it warm. And do you know something? It was the best thing since mulled wine. Warmed Negroni for the win!

Nuked Negroni

Ingredients for a Nuked Negroni (makes 6-10 depending on your generosity levels!)

1 grapefruit

300ml gin (I used Melbourne Gin Company)

300ml sweet vermouth

300ml Campari

6 blackberries

sprig of rosemary

Nuked Negroni

Method

Remove a strip of zest from the grapefruit with a peeler. Add this to a microwave proof bowl with the other ingredients. Cover and microwave on high for 3 mins. Allow to cool, and strain into a bottle. To serve, add a generous measure to a rocks glass, add ice and a slice of grapefruit.

OR for a winter warmer

Allow to cool to a drinkable temperature and serve with a grapefruit twist. Enjoy!

World Gin Day 2017 Competition

World Gin Day 2017 Competition

Pretty much every day of the year is Gin Day for me, but World Gin Day gives us an excellent excuse to bring everyone together to celebrate our collective love for our favourite spirit.

I’m fortunate enough to receive lots of different gins to try from the best distilleries and I love being able to share some of those with you. Previous competitions have only had one or two winners, but the World Gin Day 2017 competition is MASSIVE. I have FIFTEEN, yes FIFTEEN prizes up for grabs, raising your odds of winning considerably!

TAKE A LOOK!

Poltergeist Gin Unfiltered (RRP $90)

World Gin Day Competition 2017

Poltergeist is the first Tasmanian gin to win Double Gold at the prestigious San Francisco World Spirits Awards, an extraordinary achievement from the beautiful Shene Estate distillery.

Patient Wolf Gin (RRP $90)

World Gin Day Competition 2017

A bottle of Brunswick’s own. Patient Wolf has garnered lots of attention since it’s launch. Dave and Matt have used a beautiful Muller still to create their gin which features Tonka bean as an unusual botanical.

Garden Tiger Gin (RRP $84.99)

World Gin Day Competition 2017World Gin Day Competition 2017

An incredible contemporary gin, Capreolus Garden Tiger Dry Gin is made in Gloucestershire using an impressive 34 botanicals, of which most are secret. Two that are revealed are fresh Sicilian blood orange zest and lime-tree flowers. Winner of the Whisky Exchange Spirit of the Year 2017.

Old Youngs Six Seasons Gin (RRP $80)

world gin day competition 2017

Old Youngs Distillery from WA is the quiet achiever in the world of Australian gin. Aside from winning a slew of medals at the American Distilling Institute Awards this year, it also won Distillery of the Year (alongside Hoochery) at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards.
The gin is inspired by the Six Seasons of the Noongar people who have inhabited the Southwest of Western Australia for millennia. Working in conjunction with a local bush food expert and an acclaimed Noongar chef renowned for his creative use of native produce – Six Seasons was conceived using 3 traditional gin botanicals and 6 native botanicals, including juniper myrtle and thryptomene flowers which are unique to this gin. The result is a savoury, herbal, almost earthy gin.

This limited edition sold out extremely quickly and this bottle is from master distiller James Young’s personal collection.

The Weaver (RRP $89)

Loch Distillery 'The Weaver' Australian Gin

One of the best savoury Australian gins on the market, The Weaver comes in at 50% ABV, packing a flavoursome punch.  It’s the perfect gin if you love martinis.

Red Hen Gin (RRP $72.68)

Red Hen Gin

Just four months after launching Red Hen Gin won a gold medal in the Contemporary Gin category at the 2017 Australian Distilled Spirit Awards, and it was also crowned Champion Small Batch Spirit in Australia!

G’Vine Gin (RRP $84.99)

World Gin Day Competition 2017

A beautiful contemporary gin, G’Vine is made with the flowers of the grapevine that bloom for only 10 days. These are collected, steeped in alcohol and then added the other distilled botanicals that make this deliciously floral gin.

Archie Rose X Horisumi – Winter Edition (RRP $99)

Horisumi – Winter is the second release in a series of four rare gins made in collaboration with acclaimed tattoo artist Kian Forreal (Horisumi), each inspired by a different Japanese season.
Botanicals used include; Tasmanian kombu, Australian Fuji apples and, in a first for Archie Rose, the infusion of two Japanese green teas – aromatic sencha and savoury genmaicha.

East London Liquor Company Gin (RRP $79.99)

world gin day 2017 competition

East London Liquor Company Dry Gin is a terrifically balanced and tasty gin that offers great versatility at an affordable price.

Animus Distillery Arboretum Gin (RRP $115)

World Gin Day Competition 2017

 

Animus Distillery caused quite a stir at Junipalooza Melbourne in 2016 where they launched their 3 gins. Arboretum in particular was very well-received. A complex herbaceous gin that features a range of local estate-grown ingredients: Fresh strawberry gum leaf, lemon thyme, rosemary, oranges and native bush tomato sit alongside the classic gin notes of bold juniper, coriander seed, and citrus. It’s easy to see why this won a Silver Medal at the Australian Distilled Spirit Awards 2017.

Melbourne Gin Company Gin (RRP $69.99)

World Gin Day 2017 competition

Master Distiller, Andrew Marks, distills each botanical individually in an alembic copper-pot still. He blends these together to create Melbourne Dry Gin using his skills as a winemaker to balance the elements to perfection.

Kilderkin Barrel-Aged Gin (RRP $95)

World Gin Day 2017 Competition

The first release of a barrel-aged gin from Kilderkin Distillery in Ballarat. Made with their London Dry Gin (Scoundrel) it has been carefully aged in small American Oak Barrels.  Ageing softens the juniper, but seems to lift the other botanicals including the coriander, orris, angelica, and green and brown caradamom.  The gin is soft and smooth with oaky nuances.

Brookie’s Gin (RRP $74.99)

Brookie's gin

New kid on the block, Brookie’s gin is a fantastic Australian gin bursting with native botanicals from Byron Bay created with former Master Distiller of The Botanist, Jim McKean.

Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin (RRP $85.00)

World Gin Day 2017 competition

Do I really need to say anything about this gin? What started as a random experiment (Master distiller, Cam, wanted to see what would happen if he steeped Shiraz grapes in gin) has now grown into a best-seller beloved by all who taste it. This year’s vintage even crashed the Four Pillars website due to overwhelming demand. Absolutely thrilled to be offering this as part of the World Gin Day Competition 2017.

Gilbert & George Gin Brooch and Lip Balm from the Gin Queen store!

I’ve loved the response the Gin Queen store and these two items have been really popular!

Tatty Devine Gilbert & George Gin Brooch

 

 

 

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

 

Terms and Conditions

  • One entry per person
  • Competition is open to over 18s only
  • Winners will be drawn at random and allocated a number and will be matched to the corresponding number allocated to each prize.
  • Prizes cannot be swapped
  • Open to UK, Australian and NZ residents only
  • Competition closes midnight 18th June. Winners will be notified via email.
World Gin Day 2017

WORLD GIN DAY 2017

My favourite day of the year has to be World Gin Day, a global celebration of all things gin! With the explosion of Australian gins, World Gin Day 2017 is going to be a cracker!

I take my role as Australian Ambassador for World Gin Day very seriously and have been busy checking  the global website for all the fantastic Australian events that are happening. You can see the full list here, but I’ve picked a few highlights, to help you plan your day!

MELBOURNE/VICTORIA

My home town has always been fantastic at organising World Gin Day events, not surprising given the number of new distilleries popping up. There is lots to choose from!

Visit Four Pillars Gin Distillery ~ 10.30am-9pm

Four-Pillars-Distillery-exterior

Free gin tastings all weekend, including the newly released Bloody Shiraz Gin, cocktail specials, freshly baked scones with Four Pillars Orange Marmalade, and a food truck serving pulled (gin) pork burgers made with Four Pillars Gin Pig.

Open from 10.30am each day, until 9pm on Saturday and 5.30pm on Sunday. Free entry.

Gin Extravaganza at Gin Palace ~ 12pm-3am

Dirty & Wet Martini at Gin Palace
Dirty & Wet Martini at Gin Palace

Gin Palace Melbourne ALWAYS puts on a great World Gin Day and this year is no exception.
The Gin Palace will be transformed for one day only into a Harem of Juniper pleasures.
Events include:
• A Four Pillars 3 martini lunch focusing on local produce (22 seats available) – Book tickets here.
• Brookie’s Botanical Brunch, with 3 cocktails and light snacks – Book tickets here.
• Poor Toms Strawberries and cream martini
• Plymouth Martini massages.
• Hendricks Tea Party – Down the rabbit hole Swamp Room take over
• Gin and Gin Palace inspired cake, cupcakes and lollies
• Special performances and entertainment.
• 2 for one martinis, negronis and G&Ts from midday until 8pm

Open 12pm – 3am

Book tickets here:

Artemis Gin x Taxi Kitchen

World Gin Day 2017

In celebration of World Gin Day on Saturday 10th June, Taxi Kitchen and Artemis Gin are collaborating to bring you an afternoon of food and gin.
5 iconic Taxi Kitchen courses matched with 5 bespoke Artemis cocktails, all inspired by the gins botanicals. Tickets  are $150pp and include a bottle of specially distilled Artemis x Taxi Kitchen gin to take home.
Call 9923 2065 or email groupbookings@taxikitchen.com.au

Gin and a chat with Sacha La Forgia at Bad Frankie ~3pm OR 7pm

World Gin Day 2017

Sit down for an intimate discussion over gin with Sacha La Forgia from Adelaide Hills Distillery and get to know the distiller’s production and distilling methods as well as learn about, taste the variety of Adelaide Hills Distillery gins on offer, and get an exclusive sneak peek at new products coming out.

A fun and intimate way to experience AHD gins and learn the story behind the relatively young distillery, which has seen much success since its inception in 2014. For example, their 78˚ Gin received a Gold Medal, The Italian a Silver Medal and The Gunnery a Bronze Medal at The 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Tickets are $50pp and include

  • A welcome negroni and Bad Frankie (signature) jaffle
  • 2 hours with the distiller to learn about the history, production and gins of AHD
  • 3 X tasters of AHD gins
  • An exclusive look at new products on the horizon
  • A gin cocktail and sweet to finish

Book here.

Bass & Flinders Gin Degustation at Papa Goose ~7pm

World Gin Day 2017

A four course gin degustation at Papa Goose showcasing the Bass & Flinders range.

Tickets are $140pp. To book call Papa Goose on 03 9077 8117 or email events@papagoose.com.au

Kilderkin Distillery Open Day

Kilderkin Distillery

The Kilderkin team will be distilling their first small batch Navy Strength gin on World Gin Day! Plus tours, tastings, and drinks.

Kilderkin Distillery, 11A Michaels Dr, Alfredton VIC 3350, Australia

12-5pm

Melbourne Gin Company Takeover of Mountain Goat Beer

The Melbourne Gin Company will be celebrating World Gin Day at Mountain Goat Brewery!
MGC distiller Andrew Marks will host a Botanical Masterclass followed by drinks at the bar with MGC cocktails, Mountain Goat Beer and Pizza!
Masterclass from 4.30pm – 5.30pm (ticket includes MGC G&T) Book here.
Drinks at the bar 6pm – Late

SYDNEY

The Barbershop presents Mother’s Ruin A Cabaret About Gin ~ 6-9pm

The Barbershop presents a bespoke cocktail menu and a performance of critically acclaimed hit, Mother’s Ruin: A Cabaret about Gin.

Tickets are $35pp. Book here.

All tickets will receive a Bombay Gin Cocktail on arrival.

Doors open from 6:00pm. No reserve seating.

Manly Spirits Co. Distillery ~ 1.30-5.30pm

Join the team from Manly Spirits Co. Distillery and Gin Lane for an exclusive tour and tasting at the distillery beginning at 1.30pm. Following the tasting feel free to settle in, chat and sip some very tasty Gin cocktails on offer in the Distillery Tasting Bar.

Food will be available from a food truck on site.

$22 per person, book tickets here.

ADELAIDE

World Gin Day 2017

Hains & Co Gin Garden

Hains & Co will be hosting a Gin Garden – think Alice in Wonderland but for adults…who love gin.

Festivities kick off at 6pm – every hour, on the hour, they’ll introduce a must-try gin (and G&T) and will have each company’s brand ambassadors on hand to talk about all things gin.
Featuring  78 Degrees, Melbourne Gin Company, Ferdinands Dry Saar, Fair Gin, Tanqueray, and Rogue Society gins.

From the crew in The Galley, Gin Soaked Smoked Skirt Steak Tacos, Elote Corn Salsa, Spiced Slaw, Candied Jalapeños will be part of the night’s menu.

Free Admission

BRISBANE

Dutch Courage Officer’s Mess ~ 11.30am til late

World Gin Day 2017

Featuring five masterclasses, live entertainment, all day specials & massive giveaways – does a whole bottle of gin every hour whet your appetite?! – what more could a gin lover want? With experts from Martin Millers, Fever Tree, Botanist, Jinzu, Tanqueray, Kangaroo Island Spirits and even Brisbane’s very own Humpybong Distillery on hand to answer every gin nerd’s questions, it’s a pilgrimage where everybody ends up in heaven!

Masterclass Times
11.30am – The history of gin w/ Kangaroo Island Spirits (Jon Lark)
1.00pm – Enjoying food & gin together w/ Jinzu (Jaime Fleming)
2.30pm- Making gin cocktails w/ Botanist & Gin Mare (Mark Hickey)
4.00pm – Pairing tonic to your favourite gin w/ Fever Tree (Glenn Morgan)
5.30pm – Sensory spices & basket distillation w/ Martin Millers (Amy Grieg)
* session topics & times subject to change

Book here

I hope you’ve got some ideas on how to spend World Gin Day. You can follow my adventures on instagram – I’ll be at Junipalooza London – or check out the #worldginday hashtag to see what everyone else is up to.

It’s a fantastic day, so please drink responsibly.

East London Liquor Company Premium Batch No.2

East London Liquor Company Premium Batch No.2

I’m about to head off to the UK for some more ginanagins in the lead up to Junipalooza. Finalising my itinerary I’m reminiscing about my visit two years ago when one of the (many) distilleries I visited was East London Liquor Company, the first vodka, gin and whisky distillery in that part of London for 100 years.

Part of founder Alex Wolpert and distiller Tom Hill’s  mission was to create a gin that was accessible in terms of price without compromising on flavour. They achieved this with their first expression that I reviewed here.

East London Liquor Company Dry Gin and Tonic
East London Liquor Company Dry Gin and Tonic

Like most distillers, it wasn’t long before Tom was itching to create another gin. Distillers are wont to do that. In spite of producing something spectacular, the love of playing (sorry distilling) with all sorts of ingredients is part of the magic of gin production. The possibilities are endless.

East London Liquor Company Premium Gin

Not content with producing one, Tom ended up producing two and I was thrilled to learn that East London Liquor Company Premium Batch No. 2 is now available in Australia.

East London Liquor Company Premium Batch No.2 Botanicals

Looking at the list of botanicals used in Batch No. 2 my mind immediately leapt to an image of a traditional english herb garden. Juniper, coriander seed, orris root, angelica, and lemon peel are all familiar ingredients in gin. However, the addition of winter savoury, fennel seeds, sage, bay leaf and lavender adds a herbaceous dimension to this complex gin.

Tasting East London Liquor Company Premium Batch No.2

On the nose the herbs come through, particularly the thyme and fennel. To taste, initially there are bright citrus notes that develop into delicious, almost chewy herbal flavours with sage and bay leaf most evident. There is a subtle hint of lavender before a lengthy finish rounded our with white pepper. The bold flavours are supported by a 47% ABV but this is still a smooth, sippable gin.

Drinking East London Liquor Company Premium Batch No.2

Garnished with thyme and lemon, Batch No. 2 makes a solid gin and tonic. As a lover of savoury gins (think West Winds Cutlass and Gin Mare) this gin stands out as a perfect martini gin. Try it wetter (with more vermouth) to encourage those herbaceous notes to come to the fore. I was also inspired to try it in Ryan Magarian’s The Lady Sage Cocktail.

Lady-Sage-Cocktail-Glass

Country of Origin: UK

ABV: 47%

Price: Medium

For information about Australian stockist contact Savant Spirits.

Manly Spirits Gin

Manly Spirits Gin

Manly Spirits gin comes, unsurprisingly, from Manly Beach in New South Wales. Owners David and Vanessa, first floated the idea of opening their own distillery in 2015 during a visit to Tasmania. David has a background in chemical engineering and Vanessa’s is in marketing and design (more on that later), so a pretty useful combination!

Two years later they welcomed Tim Stones (former Global Brand Ambassador for Beefeater Gin) as Head Distiller and Production Manager and launched their Pozible campaign. During his time at Beefeater, Tim learnt from Desmond Payne, (the longest-serving distiller in the world) and Sean Harrison, Master Distiller at Plymouth Gin as well as studying for his General Certificate in Distilling and completing hands-on training with the teams both in London and Scotland.

Manly Spirits gin still
Manly Spirits gin Holstein still

David and Vanessa are Manly locals with a deep connection to the area, in particular to the sea (both are keen swimmers, divers and surf lifesavers). The team approached established forager Elijah Holland (who worked with renowned chef René Redzepi at the Noma pop-up in Sydney last year) to assist in selecting botanicals for the gin.

Elijah recommended sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) which clings to rocks and can be readily harvested at low tide (it’s the only seaweed that can be harvested freely, everything else has to be foraged under license).

Manly Spirits Gin
Sea Lettuce (image courtesy of Kirsten Bradley @milkwood.net)

Manly Spirits Gin Botanicals

Aside from the sea lettuce, Manly Spirits Gin contains; juniper, angelica root, coriander seed, orris root, orange peel, cardamom, finger lime, aniseed myrtle, and mountain pepper leaf. Tim says he found working with Australian botanicals challenging, but “inspiring”.

Tasting Notes

On the nose Manly Spirits gin has bright citrus notes, delicate pine aromas juniper and the merest hint of ozone. Tasting it, the citrus comes through as well as fresh pine. It has a savoury characteristic, not quite umami but getting there, and rounds out with a white peppery finish. Well balanced, delicious flavours and a good length, Manly Spirits Gin is a quality spirit that will serve you well in a variety of drinks.

Manly Spirits Gin
Manly Spirits gin martini. Made with Dolin vermouth and served with a twist of lemon.

How wonderful does this martini look? You’ll be pleased to know that it tasted just as good. A cracker in my opinion. Bright citrus flavours and aromas are drawn out by the vermouth and  a good peppery finish.

Aside from being a delightful gin, I must mention the attention to detail that has gone into the packaging of Manly Spirits Gin. In an increasingly crowded gin market, standing out from the other brands on the shelf is as important as making a tasty liquid. Vanessa’s design skills are apparent in the custom-made bottle. The fibonacci sequence pattern  gave her inspiration for the textured base and represents balance and perfection in nature, the blue glass is a nod to her connection to the sea and the eye-catching lid features the Eastern blue devil fish, the Manly Spirits emblem. 

Manly Spirits Gin
The lid of the Manly Spirits gin bottle.

Manly Spirits Gin

ABV: 42%

Price Medium

Follow Manly Spirits Distillery on Facebook, instagram and twitter.

You can also visit their cellar door.

Kilderkin Distillery

The opening of Kilderkin Distillery in Ballarat restores the historical connection the town has with distilling. Warrenheip Distillery was based nearby from 1864. By 1894 it was the only distillery making whisky in Victoria. It continued to do so until just after World War One when production moved to the Corio Distillery in Geelong.

I recently visited Kilderkin distillery where I met the owners Chris Pratt and Scott Wilson-Browne as well as Scott’s partner Vanessa.

Chris, a psychologist by trade, and Scott, renowned craft brewer and the man behind  Red Duck Brewery, met over their shared love of beer. Chris confided in me that he had a project to drink a different craft beer every day of the year, and he and Scott kept bumping in to each other over the years at different beer events.  With Chris hailing from Scotland, the chat soon turned to making whisky and eventually, gin.

Why Kilderkin Distillery?

kilderkin

A kilderkin is a cask, usually 16 or 18 gallons. Chris and Scott thought the name suited their background in beer and their plans to make whisky.

The Stills

The stills were made by Peter Bailley at Knapp Lewer in Tasmania. It was to Peter that Bill Lark first went when he wanted to open his distillery 25 years ago, requesting that they look as close to Macallan stills as possible. Knapp Lewer stills can also be found at Archie RoseShene Estate & Distillery and Stone Pine Distillery. Chris and Scott’s assisted with the design and included the option for the botanical basket to be removed, allowing greater flexibility.

The gins

Kilderkin Distillery

Like a lot distilleries, Kilderkin have started out making gin. There are two Kilderkin distillery gins, ‘The Larrikin’ and ‘The Scoundrel’.

‘The Larrikin’ is a contemporary Australian gin made with native botanicals, including lemon myrtle. I find that lemon myrtle can often overwhelm gins (less is definitely more), but ‘The Larrikin’ is tasty and well-balanced. ‘The Scoundrel’ is a more traditional London dry style and a delicious one at that. There is also an aged gin that has been rested for three months in American oak bourbon barrels. They hope to have their whisky ready by 2019.

Kilderkin Distillery, 11A Michaels Drive, Alfredton Ballarat, VIC 3350.

Cellar Door open 10am-4pm Monday – Friday and 12-5pm on Saturdays.

You can follow them on Facebook.

 

Beach House

Beach House

Health food trends often spill over into the cocktail world. Matcha, beetroot, and cocktail oil (think Dave Kerr’s winning entry into the Bacardi Legacy competition, The Viento) are some trendy ingredients that have found their way into cocktails,  I’ve even tried using Kombucha!

The Beach House cocktail is taken from Dan Jones book Gin: Muddle, Shake, Stir. He mixes gin with coconut water (another hyped up food trend) and lime juice to create a tropical gin cocktail that’s a worthy substitute for a gin and tonic. Tempted as I was to add an umbrella, I used one of my new bamboo straws instead!

Beach House

Ingredients for a Beach House

60ml gin

15ml freshly squeezed lime juice

chilled coconut water

lime slice to garnish

Beach House

Method

Add the gin and lime juice to a highball glass and add crushed ice. Top up with chilled coconut water and stir. Add a slice of lime and serve.

Coconut water has plenty of claims that it has weight loss benefits, improves skin condition and offers superior hydration to plain old water, but most of this has been debunked. I still enjoy a glass as I like the taste and I figure it has to be healthier than cordial or fizzy drinks. Right?