Weaver gin and tonic

The Weaver Gin

The Weaver gin is the latest expression from Loch Brewery & Distillery in Victoria. At their beautiful cellar door (a converted bank building), Craig and wife Mel, are creating English style ales, distilling beautiful gin as well as putting their new-make whisky into barrels (launching 2017/18).

Mel and Craig, Loch Brewery and Distillery
Mel and Craig

Craig has already impressed with his Loch gin, which is based on a classic London Dry recipe, but he was keen to use some Australian native botanicals in a new higher proof gin.

A self-confessed perfectionist  (he grinds all the botanicals he uses by hand in a pestle and mortar) painstaking research went into choosing the botanicals. He could have released The Weaver at the end of 2015, but he wasn’t happy with it, so delayed the launch to tweak it some more.

Botanicals in The Weaver gin

Cinnamon myrtle, anise myrtle, lemon myrtle, strawberry gum and wattleseed were eventually selected (Craig uses locally sourced and sustainably harvested ingredients) and added to juniper, coriander, cassia, nutmeg and mace. If you aren’t familiar with Australian natives, check out my guide here.

Casting your eye over the list you’ll see a heavy lean towards warmer, earthier side of gin botanical spectrum, but this gin is anything but another hot spicy number.

On the nose there are juniper and citrus coriander aromas with hints of nutmeg and cassia. On the palate it’s fresh and astringent with a little anise to begin with. Then, warm, savoury notes with some lemon as the flavour builds, before a lengthy finish with a little heat. It has a pleasant mouthfeel and a smoothness belying it’s ABV.

Drinking The Weaver

Craig and Mel describe The Weaver as “a big Gin” (and at 50% ABV it certainly is in strength) but I think they’ve achieved a subtle, nuanced gin with great flavour and none of the brashness that can sometimes occur when using native botanicals.

As you’d imagine, The Weaver makes a wonderful gin and tonic, fresh but with a good kick of booze, but it would have been remiss of me not to experiment with some of Craig’s ales and The Weaver to make some old fashioned Purl, a wonderful winter warmer.

Purl

However, I think it’s shines brightest in a martini. With an olive it’s sublime and a lemon twist brings out those coriander and lemon myrtle notes. Try with Maidenii Classic or Castagna vermouth, if you want your martini Aussie style. If you can’t get your hands on these, Dolin is also an excellent choice.

weavermartini
The Weaver gin martini

If you are looking for a top quality Australian gin then I’d highly recommend The Weaver as a worthy additional to your collection.

 

Please note I as gifted a bottle of the Weaver for review. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

 

cranberrymartini

Celebrating Fourth of July? 3 gin cocktails for you to try

Planning a Fourth of July celebration? Why not give one of these a go?

The Cranberry Martini

A little variation on Salvatore Calbrese’s Breakfast Martini. I’ve used Greenhook American (of course!) gins from Brooklyn.

Greenock American gin Cranberry Martini

 

Ingredients for the Cranberry Martini

50ml Greenhook America Dry gin

15ml Greenhook Gin Beach Plum liqueur

15ml lemon juice

1 teaspoon of cranberry jelly

(optional rosemary sprig to garnish)

Method

Add all of the ingredients to an ice-filled shaker and shake until very cold. Strain into a chilled glass. Add a sprig rosemary.

Blueberry Buck

Blueberry Buck and Aviation gin
Blueberry Buck

Ingredients for a Blueberry Buck

60ml Aviation gin
15ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
17 blueberries
Ice
90ml ginger beer
Mint leaves for garnish

Method

Add gin, lemon juice, blueberries (reserving a few for the garnish) and ice to a cocktail shaker and muddle together.  Shake until outside of the shaker is chilled.

Strain into a tall glass and top up with ginger beer. Garnish with a couple of blueberries and a mint leaf or two.

Gin Old fashioned

 

Ransom Gin Old Fashioned

 

“Old fashioneds” are traditionally made with whisky, but I used Ransom Old Tom which has been rested in bourbon casks to recreate one of the oldest American cocktails.

Ingredients for a Gin Old Fashioned

50ml Ransom Old Tom gin

tsp of sugar (or 1 sugar lump)

3 dashes of Angoustura bitters

1tsp of soda water

Method

Put the sugar in the glass and add the bitters and soda water. Stir until mixed thoroughly. Add gin and stir. Add ice and continue to stir (dilution is key) until chilled. Add a piece of orange peel for garnish.

Happy Fourth of July!

William-McHenry-McHenry-Gin

Meet the Distiller ~ William McHenry, McHenry Distillery

The latest interview in my ‘Meet the Distiller’ series is William McHenry, Master Distiller of McHenry’s, one of Australia’s most awarded gins. His story is a fascinating one, involving a complete career change, as well as a move interstate, creating a very different life for himself and his family in the process.

How long have you been a distiller?

We are now in our 6th year. I moved from Sydney to Tasmania in 2010.

How did you become a distiller?

In around 2005/6 things weren’t going well at work. I was travelling between Perth and Sydney every week, working for a company that was in trouble, and as they usually are when things are bad, the atmosphere was terrible. I missed my wife and kids and knew that there had to be something else other than the life I was in. The trouble was, I’d worked in the pharma industry for so long, that I couldn’t see what other opportunities there could be for me.

Over a few glasses of Shiraz with a neighbour one night he says “well, with a name like William McHenry, I think you should be making whisky”. A lightbulb went on. Between 2006 and 2010 I spent most of the time doing research and educating myself. Oh and convincing the family that the move was a good idea!

So you originally set out to make whisky?

Yes, that was the plan. But I was pragmatic enough to know that for the business to work, I’d need cash flow and gin was a way of achieving that as it’s so much quicker to produce (aside from our Barrel-aged and Sloe gin which take 12-18 months). Protecting the business through diversification was also a key objective.

(note: William released his 10 year old Three Capes whisky to great acclaim this year.)

What is the most challenging thing about making gin?

I think the biggest challenge in the beginning was getting the recipe right. I continually bounced ideas off my wife, Ali, who has a very different palate to me. Every time I presented her with what I thought was the winning recipe, she didn’t like it. We just couldn’t agree. It was extremely frustrating, but I think in the end, having the combination of two contrasting tasters like ourselves meant we created a gin with a much broader appeal than if I had just gone with what I wanted. The gin is all the better for both our inputs.

McHenry Navy Strength Gin and Tonic
McHenry Navy Strength Gin and Tonic

How did you choose which botanicals to use?

You have to remember that back when I started the gin landscape was dominated by imported gins. There wasn’t the support for Australian gins as there is today, so I wanted to create a classic gin that could stand up to the international competition and hold its own.

William McHenry and Sloe Berries
Foraging for sloe berries with William

I remember watching a booze program with James May and Oz Clarke where they visited Plymouth distillery and were talking about cardamom. I hadn’t seen much of it in gin, so I started with that. I also knew I wanted to use star anise, as I like the flavour. Then I added coriander, juniper (obviously) and orris root to the list. Our citrus comes from Valencia oranges that we peel and dry ourselves.

What the best thing about your job?

Two things really. Meeting people who love gin. I’m a natural extrovert, so I really enjoy it when people drop in to find out more about what we do, as well as converting those who don’t see themselves as gin drinkers.

The other thing is the sheer joy of making something that people like to drink!

Who or what inspires you?

My family. When I set the distillery up, it was with a simple purpose, to eventually gift the business to my three children. I would like to think that McHenry distillery will be passed on through the generations and that in 2090 that my children’s children will still be working in the business. I’d like to leave a legacy.

What is you favourite gin cocktail and why?

My two favourite drinks would have to be a G&T and a Negroni. Nothing beats a G&T on a hot summer day, I’ll always choose that over a glass of white wine. As for Negroni, that’s my drink. I love the combination of bitter, sweet and orange.

Which are your favourite bars (anywhere in the world)?

Oh that’s a difficult one. I think I’d have to go with Bad Frankie in Fitzroy, Melbourne because they have my picture on the wall! Seriously though, Seb has been a great supporter of the Australian distilling industry and it’s a great bar.

The other is the The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Tasmania. Anthony has been amazingly supportive of what we do. If you come to one of my “Make your own gin” workshops, and then take your bottle to him, he will design you a bespoke cocktail using your gin for $10 or for free if you are staying at the hotel.

What’s next? Any future plans?

So many! It’s a really excited time for us as we move into the next stage of the business. We’re about to take delivery of a new 1500l still and we’re redeveloping the cellar door area. There is a new a pavilion being built specifically to host the gin-making workshops and some additional bothys for so people to stay at the distillery. Plus we’re realigning a road on the property in order to build a tunnel, which will be used to mature our whisky.

mchenry-and-son-distillery
McHenry Distillery

On top of that I’m working on some exciting new gin projects, but I’ll keep that under my hat for now!

 

If you’d like to meet William yourself, he will be at the Australian Drinks Festival (order your tickets with promo code QUEEN10 for get $10 discount) on the 16th and 17th July, where he will be running his “Make your own gin” workshops. Book here.

Monkey 47

Monkey 47

When Monkey 47 first hit the shelves several years ago, there were many who just couldn’t fathom why there were so many botanicals. 47!

I wondered whether it was a gimmick, something to grab attention, and while it was certainly a talking point, would it be a guarantee of a good gin?

So, I sort of avoided it. I wasn’t sure it was for me, the die-hard juniper-junkie.

As time has passed and the gin craze shows no sign of abating, my puritanical views have come under fire a little (through some good-natured teasing by some of my bartender buddies) and I have learned to appreciate the contemporary and avant-garde gins available.

While celebrating a few exciting things happening at GQHQ, I decided to splurge and bought a bottle.

Monkey 47 is made in Germany, the Black Forest, to be precise and came about in one of most complicated ways.

Monty Collins was an RAF Wing Commander who was seconded to the Western part of Berlin in the late 40’s. After he left the service he moved to the Black Forest region as he wanted to learn how to make watches. When that didn’t work out he turned his hand to running a guest house. As the region is well-known for its fruit liqueurs, Monty decided to have a go at distilling and made Schwarzwald Dry Gin. The recipe was rediscovered about 40 years later and passed on to Alexander Stein one of the founders.

So where does the Monkey come from? During his time in Berlin, Monty sponsored an Egret Monkey named Max.

Monkey 47 Botanicals

Before you count them, there are not the full 47 listed here, there are several types of pepper that I’ve just listed as pepper.

But still, 47! The first 5 are all native to the Black Forest region. (FYI Lingonberries also appear in Hernö gin, and spruce is found in Pink Spruce gin).

  • angelica root
  • acacia flowers
  • bramble leaves
  • lingonberries
  • spruce
Monkey 47 botanicals
From l:r Dog rose, Lingonberries and Scarlet Beebalm

The others are: juniper berries, pepper, acacia, Sweet Flag (often used as a substitute for ginger, cinnamon or nutmeg), almond, orange, blackberry, cardamom, cassia, chamomile, cinnamon, lemon verbena, cloves, coriander, cranberries, cubeb, dog rose, elderflower, ginger, Grains of Paradise, hawthorn berries, ambrette, Rose mallow or  rose of Sharon (hibiscus syriacus), honeysuckle, jasmine, Kaffir lime, lavender, lemon, lemon balm, lemongrass, licorice, Scarlet bee balm, nutmeg, orris, pimento, pomelo, rosehip, sage, and sloe.

You’ll notice the high volume of fruit and floral botanicals, but lots of spice too.

Aroma and tasting

As you’d expect Monkey 47 is highly aromatic. I noted citrus, floral and jam-like fragrances. On the palate it is very complex. Light citrus with stone fruit flavours and a warm lengthy finish with spice notes coming through. It’s a rich, full, smooth gin.

And if you were wondering if could I pick out all 47 botanicals? The answer is no.

However, I was amazed at the balance of the spirit that Christoph Keller, the master distiller, has achieved.

Drinking Monkey 47

Monkey 47 cocktails

As usual, we tried Monkey 47 in a G&T, a Negroni (1:1:1) and a Martini (3:1).

The Gin and tonic (we used Fevertree) was light and refreshing. We brough out the floral notes with a lavender garnish. In a Negroni, while a delicious drink,  it struggled to stand up to the Campari. I think I’d play with the ratios next time, or swap the Campari for Aperol. I made the martini dryer than I usually do to give the gin a chance. It was a lovely drink, but I did miss the little punch of juniper. Both Mr GQ and I think this is a great sipping gin.

If you like contemporary gins that are full of flavour, but not heavy on the juniper then Monkey 47 is a good choice. The higher than average price point is worth it for the quality.

Country of Origin: Germany

ABV: 47%

Price: High

Chanticleer cocktail

The Chanticleer Cocktail

The Chanticleer Cocktail is a pre-WW2 cocktail that I came across in my newly acquired 1935 reprint Waldorf-Astoria bar book. It was made to celebrate the opening night of Edmond Rostand’s Chanticler (which wasn’t liked as much as the cocktail).

The original recipe uses orange gin (1929-1988) which was popular at one time, as was lemon gin (1931-1988). These are rare gins indeed and you can expect to pay over $400-$500 for a bottle! (Check out The Rare Spirits Company).

orange and lemon gin
Vintage orange and lemon gin

Sadly, my budget doesn’t quite stretch to an original, but fortunately, I have a bottle of the wonderful Stone Pine Distillery Orange Blossom gin to hand. This super-limited edition gin has long since sold-out, but I am hoping distiller Ian Glen puts on his foraging gloves again in Spring, so you can all have a taste.

Ingredients for The Chanticleer Cocktail

45ml Stone Pine Orange Blossom Gin

45ml dry vermouth

egg white (optional)

(original recipe suggested a Cock’s comb as a garnish, I’ve opted not to pluck a cockerel and am using orange peel instead.)

If you don’t have any orange gin, you could either be extremely patient and make up an infusion, or reduce the gin by 15ml and replace with 15ml of triple sec or even Cointreau)

chanticleerandsp

 

Method

Dry shake (without ice) all the ingredients together until thoroughly mixed. Add ice and shake again until cold.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish.

Enjoy!

 

Purl

Purl

I am often asked what I love most about gin. After “its deliciousness”, I invariably say the rich history that surrounds it. Reading about gin and cocktails is the next best thing after drinking them and I do enjoy coming across old recipes and giving them a try. Purl is one such drink.

The original Purl began life in the 17th century as a “sharply bitter ale infused with wormwood” (D. Wondrich, Imbibe), pre-dating gin by around 100 years. Hops weren’t used as a preservative back then, and beer was quick to spoil and a bit tasteless. People would add herbs and spices to boost the flavour, in particular wormwood. This beverage would be drunk in the morning and was said to settle the stomach.

With the advent of gin in the 18th century, Purl evolved into mixture of hot ale, gin, and sugar. It’s mentioned in several Dickens’ novels as well as Samuel Pepys’ diary.

Can you think of a better winter warmer?

Loch Brewery and Distillery
Loch Brewery and Distillery

Loch Brewery and Distillery makes both gin and ale, so it was a wonderful opportunity to put their new gin, The Weaver together with their dark ale. I recently purchased a copy of Tristan Stephenson’s book, The Curious Bartender’s Gin Palace, and it’s his recipe I have adapted. Like most drinks of this nature, they evolve, so have a play with the ingredients in the infusion as well as the types of beer.

How to Make Purl

Warning, some patience required!

Purl Infusion
Purl Infusion

For the infusion

150ml Loch “The Weaver” gin

3g crushed black pepper

3g bay leaves

3g sage

1g gentian root

1g wormwood

1g star anise

1g nutmeg

1g rosemary

Put all the ingredients together in an airtight jar or bottle. After 2 weeks, strain and reserve the liquid.

For the drink (makes 700ml)

150ml of the infusion

500ml Loch Dark Ale

50g soft brown sugar

50g caster sugar

Place all the ingredients together in a glass bottle, ensuring the sugar is dissolved. Add more sugar if desired. Warm gently and serve.

Enjoy!

the gin queen's guide to australian gin botanicals

The Gin Queen’s Guide to Australian Gin Botanicals

One of the most exciting aspects of the current gin boom is how distillers are seeking out new flavours by using locally sourced ingredients. Australia is at the forefront of pushing the flavour boundaries by the use of native plants and herbs to give a distinct terroir to their gins.

Many of the ingredients appearing in Australian gins have been used as “bush foods” by Indigenous Australians for thousands of years, indeed many of you may already use some of these already.

As I’m from the UK, I hadn’t heard of many of these ingredients before I started The Gin Queen. After getting a few questions during masterclasses, I put together this guide. There is a little information about each botanical, the region where it originates and the gins that feature it as an ingredient.

Inspired by my UK friends, Gin Foundry (and my partners in Junipalooza Melbourne), I’ve had a go at putting together a flavour-wheel for the botanicals too. Let me know your thoughts!

australian gin botanicals

I’m still learning and researching, and will continue to update the list.

The Gin Queen’s Guide to Australian Gin Botanicals

Anise or Aniseed Myrtle

anise myrtle

The leaves impart liquorice and aniseed flavours.

Regions: predominantly in the Nambucca and Bellinger Valleys in the subtropics of New South Wales

Used inBotanic Australis, Loch Brewery & Distillery “The Weaver”gin

Bunya Nut

Bunya Nut cone
Bunya Nut cone

Native to south-eastern Queensland,  The bunya nut tree only bears a crop only after the tree is around 100 years old, and then it crops once every 2 or 3 years. The large cones contain the edible nuts (seeds) which are encased in a shell. The nut resembles a chestnut in looks and flavour.

Regions: Queensland

Used in: Botanic Australis

Bush Tomato

bushtomato
Bush tomato

They taste a little like sun-dried tomato. Closely related to the aubergine.

Regions: Central Australia

Used in: West Winds Cutlass

Cinnamon Myrtle

Used where cinnamon would normally be called for.

Regions: New South Wales, Queensland

Used in: Botanic Australis, Loch Brewery & Distillery “The Weaver” gin

Dorrigo pepper

Dorrigo pepper
Dorrigo pepper

Offering cinnamon and pepper notes, the Dorrigo pepper leaf has only been used in cooking since the mid-1980s.

Regions: Northern Tablelands of New South Wales

Used in: Archie Rose Signature Gin

Eucalyptus

eucalyptus

Synonymous with Australia, Eucalyptus has a strong, astringent aroma and flavour that needs to be managed carefully during distillation.

Regions: All over Australia (only 15 species occur outside Aus.)

Used in: Botanic Australis

Finger Limes

finger limes
Finger limes (image from the Lime Caviar Company)

Also known as citrus caviar, finger limes are used in Australian and Asian cooking, offering a fresh burst of citrus flavour.

Regions: Queensland

Used in: Stone Pine Dry gin, Four Pillars Gunpowder Proof gin

Lemon Myrtle

lemonmyrtle

Known as the Queen of the lemon herbs, lemon myrtle has the highest level of the compound Citral (more even than lemongrass) that gives gin a lemon aroma and flavour.

Regions: Queensland

Used in: Four Pillars Rare Dry gin, Ink gin, West Winds Sabre, 1827 Wild Swan gin, Brocken Spectre, Poltergeist, Stone Pine Dry gin

Lemon Scented Gum

A strongly fragranced tree that smells like citronella with a slight lemon aroma.

Regions: Queensland

Used in: Botanic Australis

Lilly Pilly/Riberry

lillypilly

The Lilly Pilly/Riberry have a tart cranberry-like flavour

Regions: Eastern Australia

Used in: Lilly Pilly gin

Macadamia Nut

Macadamia Nut
Macadamia Nut (image from www.crackingmacadamias.com.au)

Macadamia have a delicate, buttery flavour.

Regions: North Eastern New South Wales, Central & Southern Queensland

Used in: Melbourne Gin Company, Poltergeist gin

Meen (Bloodroot)

Meen (bloodroot)
Meen/Bloodroot (image: Science Network WA)

A relative of the kangaroo paw Meen has a hot and spicy flavour.

Regions: Western Australia

Used in: Great Southern Distillery gin

Murraya

Murraya-Paniculata
Murraya Paniculata

Beautiful white petalled flower that gives off the scent of jasmine.

Regions: Far North Queensland, Northern Territory and North Western Australia,

Used in: Distillery Botanica Garden Gin

Native Ginger

native-ginger
Freshly foraged Native ginger

Regions: Queensland

Used in: Botanic Australis

Peppermint Gum

Highly aromatic with a peppermint fragrance and flavour.

Regions: South Eastern Australia

Used in: Botanic Australis

River mint

river mint
(Image John Broomfield, Museums Victoria)

A subtle herb with the taste and aroma of spearmint. Indigenous Australians also used this herb for medicinal purposes.

Regions: The Murray Darling river basin (Eastern Australia)

Used in: Botanic Australis, Archie Rose Signature Gin

Sandalwood

A distinctive warm fragrance, sandalwood is highly prized, particularly the oil.

Melbourne Gin Company Dry Gin

Andrew from Melbourne Gin Company sources his sandalwood from Western Australian, foraged with permission from the Indigenous land owners. He uses the wood and the roots, which is where the sandalwood oil is more highly concentrated.

Regions: Western Australia.

Used in: Melbourne Gin Company

Strawberry Gum

Also known as Eucalyptus Olida, Strawberry gum has a fruity flavour with a hint of cinnamon and often appears in fruit teas.

Strawberry-Gum-Leaf
Strawberry Gum Leaf

Regions: Northern Tablelands of New South Wales

Used in: Poor Toms gin, Brocken Spectre

Tasmania Mountain Pepperberry

pepperberry
Tasmania Pepperberry

Regions: Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales

Used in: Four Pillars Rare Dry gin, Lark Forty Spotted  gin, Ink gin, Poltergeist gin

Wattleseed

The Wattle flower is the national emblem of Australia. Wattle seeds have hard husks, and will last for up to 20 years in their natural environment, usually only germinating after bushfires. Roasted ground wattleseed has lots of culinary uses and a nutty/coffee aroma and flavour.

wattleseed gin
Wattleseed. ( Photograph: Mark Lucas @theguardian)

Regions: Australia-wide

Used in: Ironbark Distillery Wattleseed  gin, West Winds Sabre, Nonesuch Dry gin

J-melbourne_black logo 2016-01-1

Junipalooza Melbourne

I am so excited that Olivier and Emile Ward, founders of Gin Foundry have partnered with me to bring their popular “Junipalooza” to Australia for the first time. Olivier and Emile have just completed their 3rd Junipalooza in London, the twin edition in Melbourne is a testament to the country’s rapidly expanding gin scene and the burgeoning craft distilling movement developing in all corners of the globe.

Junipalooza Melbourne will be hosted by the Meat Market over Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd October from 12-6pm. Guests will be able to sample gins neat, in mini G&T’s, as well as buy cocktails, participate in masterclasses and purchase bottles to enjoy at home. Making sure the fizz bubbles throughout the day – Capi will be sponsoring the festivities with more partners soon to be announced.

Olivier says “We’ve been watching the Australian gin industry grow for a while and are huge fans of what has been made and are always impressed by how passionate makers are about what they create. Combined with the first class cocktail culture and award-winning bars like Black Pearl, Melbourne is a natural fit for Gin Foundry’s Junipalooza

You know how much I adore our Australian gin distilling industry and how proud that they’re taking on the world. I’ve wanted to work with Gin Foundry for a while and this joint project is something we are all very excited about. We will be hosting over 26 gin distillers from both Australia and overseas providing a really unique “Meet the Maker” experience for attendees.

If you want to have a small glimpse into the world of Junipalooza, here’s a short video from London 2015.

Four Pillars Gin are just one of the distillers participating: “We’re great mates with the Gin Foundry team – they’ve been awesome supporters of ours since we launched. Junipalooza is such a renowned event, when Caroline called us to say she was working with them to bring the festival to Australia we jumped at the chance to be involved. Four Pillars and The Gin Queen have worked together many times in the past so we’re excited for what will no doubt be a fantastic weekend for anyone who enjoys their gin!

Other distillers confirmed (more to be added) include:

Australia: Four Pillars Distillery / The West Winds Gin / Great Southern Distillery / Archie Rose Distilling / Poor Toms Gin / 78 Degrees Gin / Shene Estate Distillery / Bass & Flinders Distillery  / Mt Uncle Distillery/ Distillery Botanica / Lark Distillery / Young Henrys Distillery / William McHenry Distillery / Hippocampus Distillery / Animus Distillery / Melbourne Gin Company

New Zealand: Broken Heart Spirits

UK: Tarquin’s Gin / Pinkster Gin / Makar Glasgow Gin /Pickering’s Gin / Dodd’s

Spain: Santamania

US: St George Spirits

EARLY BIRD tickets now on sale.

Please note, tickets will not be available for purchase on the door, YOU HAVE TO BE OVER 18 to attend this event. Please bring a valid form of identification with you on the day. (Passport or driving license).

World Gin Day 2016

WORLD GIN DAY 2016

My favourite day of the year celebrates its 8th birthday on Saturday 11th June. World Gin Day 2016 is a global celebration of the juniper juice, with the simple idea of getting people together to drink gin.

As if we need an excuse!

As Australian Ambassador, I’ve been busy updating the global website with all the fantastic Australian events that are happening. You can see the full list here, but I’ve selected my pick of the bunch, to help you plan your day!

MELBOURNE/VICTORIA

Forgive the bias, but my home town has always been fantastic at organising World Gin Day events. There is a lot going on, but these are my favourites.

Visit Four Pillars Gin Distillery ~ 10.30am-9pm

Four-Pillars-Distillery-exterior

There is nothing like visiting a distillery to understand and appreciate the work that goes into making a bottle of gin. The masterclasses on the day are now sold out, but you can still pop in and enjoy the festivities, sample a gin or two and purchase something delicious to take home. The Bloody Shiraz or Cousin Vera‘s gins are my recommendations if you can’t choose!

Gin Extravaganza at Gin Palace ~ 12pm-3am

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

The Grande Dame of Melbourne will be the place to be on World Gin Day. Offering a unique celebration of all things gin, there will be buy one get one free Gin and tonics, Negroni and Martinis until 10pm,  a $5 Mini Martinez table served by a Tom Cat, Plymouth Martini massages in the Harem and a Gin inspired dessert table from 6pm.

Experience Fresh Gin at Craft & Co ~12.30-3.00pm

I’m a huge fan of Craft & Co, an exciting venture that opened earlier this year that celebrates all Australian food and drink. With a brewery, distillery, delicatessen, restaurant and a bottle shop all on site, its heaven!

Bartending legend Sebastian Reaburn (formerly of Lui Bar, 1806 and co-owner of Heartbreaker) has recently taken the helm at Craft & Co as the distiller. World Gin Day will see the first run of gin come off the still, and you can be there to enjoy it!

Running from 12.30pm-3.00pm the Craft & Co event will offer you the opportunity to taste gin straight from the still, hear Sebastian talk about gin production, take you on a guided tour of the distillery before you taste a delicious Martini made with fresh Craft & Co. gin.
 
Archie Rose Distilling Co., The West Winds Gin & Four Pillars Gin will also be there offering tastings of their gins.

Tickets are $48 and are limited to 50 places. Book here

One Botanical at a time at Bad Frankie ~1-3pm

Andrew Marks from Melbourne Gin Company and Bad Frankie owner Sebastian Costello present this unique masterclass on the botanicals that go into this amazing gin.

Andrew Marks and Seb Costello
Andrew Marks and Seb Costello

You’ll have an opportunity to handle, smell and taste each botanical individually, understand the effect on your palate and how all the ingredients work together.

Melbourne Gin Company botanicals
Melbourne Gin Company botanicals

Tickets are $30 (includes a taste of each botanical and two Melbourne Gin Company Gin & Tonics, one on arrival and one half way through). Book here.

Bass & Flinders Launch Angry Ant Gin at Pilgrim Bar ~ 2pm & 4pm

Angry Ant gin is the latest gin from Bass & Flinders Distillery. The botanicals were hand-picked??????????????????????????????????????????? ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????at the sustainable Wooleen Station in Central WA and include Mulla Mulla, and Purple Vetch flowers,native lemongrass and sandalwood nuts, the currant bush and ANTS.

Angry Ant Gin
My bottle next to the Ants at Melbourne Museum!

Hear about this fascinating project from co-founder Wayne Klintworth at this Talk & Taste session.

Book 2pm session here. Book 4pm session here.

Negroni Masterclasses at Nieuw Amsterdam ~ 2pm & 4pm

(image via Nieuw Amsterdam)
(image via Nieuw Amsterdam)

Negroni food pairing? Yes please! Nieuw Amsterdam will take you on a trip through the wild and wonderful history of this global classic, its most popular spin-offs and show you how to make a Negroni for any time of day.

Book here.

SYDNEY

Made in Britain Revisited at The Barber Shop ~2-4pm

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 9.13.15 pm

In celebration of the Queen’s Birthday weekend & World Gin Day, The Barber Shop Team will take you on a journey of Cocktails that were created and served in Britain over the last few Centuries.

$69 pp includes:2 cocktails, 2 G&Ts and charcuterie and cheese boards. Book here.

Australian Gin Masterclass at Gin & It ~ 2-4pm

 

Ian-Glen-Stone-Pine-Gin
Ian Glen Stone Pine Gin

Ian Glen from Stone Pine Distillery and Petr Dvoracek take you on a journey through the history of gin and Australian craft gin production.

$69 pp and includes: Cocktail on arrival, 8 Australian gin tasting, gin and tonic of your choice, charcuterie and cheese boards plus a trivia quiz with prizes.

Book here.

Tailored Gin Experience at Archie Rose Distillery ~ 6-7pm

For gin lovers who are after something personalised! You’ll have the opportunity to select and balance botanical distillates with guidance from the Archie Rose team to create a one of a kind gin. Once you’ve made your selection your ‘Tailored Gin’ will be made by hand right then and there in the distillery.

Archie-Rose-Distillery-Signature-Dry-Gin

$120pp. To book, email info@archierose.com.au

ADELAIDE

Gin-Tastic fun at The Howling Owl ~4pm- late

So many things to do at The Howling Owl!  A GIN WHEEL OF FORTUNE (I want one) to win Gin prizes! Happy Hour specials, a Hendrick’s Bar and live DJs.

PLUS

Make your own gin at the Bootlegging Gin Master Class with Jon Lark from Kangaroo Islands Gin Distillery ($90 pp booking essential for the masterclass thehowlingowlcafe@gmail.com).

 

(image via KIS)
(image via KIS)

CANBERRA

Australian Gin dinner ~ 6-10pm

The Pialligo Estate culinary team have partnered with the Martini Whisperer, Phillip Jones, and craft spirit distributors Nip of Courage to present a special menu with bespoke cocktails that showcase some of Australia’s award winning craft gins to celebrate World Gin Day.
You’ll experience a Martini on arrival, learn how to make the perfect one yourself, and have the opportunity to sample a range of craft gins from around Australia.

$155 pp. Book here.

BRISBANE

Dutch Courage Officer’s Mess ~ 11am til late

Screen Shot 2016-06-08 at 10.18.30 pm

5, yes 5 gin masterclasses! Book in for the session of your choice, or do them all with an all-day pass for just $40. Featuring a Tanqueray Bloody Mary Brunch, Gin Mare & Botanist,  Pinkster & Bloom, Four Pillars and Hendrick’s.

Book via  info@dutchcourage.com.au

PERTH

Gin Masterclass at Hippocampus Distillery ~ 4-5.30pm

Hippocampus GIn

Sip on a classic gin cocktail (martini anyone?!) while learning about the hand-crafted distillation process that makes Hippocampus Gin before embarking on a tasting session of different gin styles.. Master distiller, Alex, will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

$35 pp.Book here.

A Gin-inspired evening of gin and food ~ 6.30-10pm

Hippocampus Gin has partnered with Gordon Street Garage for a special evening of gin and fine food. You’ll begin the evening at the distillery bar with a guided gin tasting and cocktail before moving across the road to Gordon Street Garage for a gin-inspired sharing menu  – think freshly shucked oysters with high pour of gin and woodfired pork belly with a juniper rub and includes a mini negroni for dessert.

$70 pp. Book here.

I hope you’ve got some ideas on how to spend World Gin Day. You can follow my adventures on instagram and snapchat (theginqueenau) or check out the #worldginday hashtag to see what everyone is up to.

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

Inception Negroni

Inception Negroni

The Inception Negroni combines two of my favourite versions of the same cocktail, a classic Negroni and a white Negroni in one.

“Whuuuut?”, you say?

Yes, Robyn Gray, the genius Head bartender at Rosewood Hotel Georgia’s Prohibition Lounge  in Vancouver, has encapsulated the classic Negroni in a hollowed out ice sphere before pouring a White Negroni over the top to create the Inception Negroni.

rosewood inception negroni
(image Nikki Bayley for Difford’s Guide)i

Of course, as soon as I saw it on instagram, I knew had to try to make one at home. Enter Mr GQ, who amongst other skills is a dab hand with a power drill. Oh yes, you’ll be needing one of those.

Equipment needed to make an Inception Negroni

Spherical ice mould

Power drill

Ingredients for the Classic Negroni

25ml Gin

25ml SweetVermouth

25ml Campari

(Quantity may vary depending on

Ingredients for the White Negroni

30ml Gin

30ml Lillet Blanc

30ml Suze

Method

Pour 150ml of water into the spherical ice mould and secure the lid before placing in the freezer for 3 hours at -19C.

Inception Negroni
Making an Inception Negroni

Heat the drill bit (we used a 3ml bit). Your spherical mould should have a small hole in the lid for excess contents to spill out. Use this to drill a small pilot hole. (See 1. in image above)

Remove the flexible plastic lid of the mould and using a heated 8ml drill bit, make the hole wider.(2.)

Drain the ice ball out and by pouring the liquid into a measuring jug so you can see how much liquid you need to replace. We poured out 75ml of water.

Place empty frozen sphere back into the freezer at -19C while you make up the classic Negroni. We used 25ml gin, 25ml sweet vermouth and 25ml campari to replace the 75 ml of water we drained from the sphere.

Put your made up Negroni in the fridge for 45 minutes.

Take out sphere from freezer, and carefully pour the classic Negroni into the sphere (we used a small funnel from a hip flask (3.). Plug the hole at the top of the ice sphere with crushed ice and some water to create a seal which should close the hole after an additional 45 minutes in the freezer. (4.)

Building the Inception Negroni

Make up your white Negroni and chill in the fridge while you wait for the classic Negroni sphere to finish off in the freezer.

Invert the spherical mould and pour warm water into it so the classic Negroni sphere pops out easier. BE PATIENT. We cracked one sphere trying to remove it from the base of the mould.

Carefully place it in a chilled rocks glass and pour your White Negroni over the top.

Inception Negroni
Inception Negroni

Admire your handiwork briefly, before drinking your Inception Negroni.

Enjoy!