There’s no denying the global popularity of fruit and flavoured gins and here in Australia innovative gin distillers are looking to native stone fruits and grapes to produce distinctly local tipples.
These style of gins are often sweetened with sugar to balance out the bitter or tart flavours of the fruit.
When added to alcohol, sugar lowers the strength. The lower the ABV, the higher the percentage of sugar is added, and the spirit is more likely to fall into the liqueur category. Something to remember when you perusing the shelves.
Here are 8 of the best Australian fruit gins for you to try.
McHenry Distillery Sloe gin
Sloes aren’t native to Australia, but settlers brought them over to Tasmania and established them there.
Bill and the McHenry team hand pick the sloes which grow on spikey Blackthorn bushes, before steeping the berries for over 12 months.
This gin has one of the longest steeping periods and as a result the spirit picks up some of the characteristics of the stone . The result is a rich fruity gin, with a hint of amaretto/marzipan on the finish.
Brookie’s Slow gin
Brookie’s Byron Slow Gin is made in the traditional style of the English ‘Sloe’ gin, but instead showcases the unique rainforest fruit the Davidson Plum.
They use their Byron Dry Gin as a base and Eddie tells me that they check on the gin regularly to how the flavours are developing, so there isn’t a set masceration time. He says: ‘When it’s ready, it’s ready!’
Brookie’s Slow gin is full of plum flavours with a hint of rose and watermelon. It’s tart and crisp but with is balanced well with the added sugar to make it super-sippable or as a cocktail ingredient.
Anther Cherry gin
A whopping 30,000 black Tasmanian cherries from Spreyton Orchards go in to make Anther Cherry gin. Anther recruit lots of volunteers to de-stone the fruit, before the cherries into their flagship gin.
This year they experimented with multiple sugars, adding extra mouthfeel from a blend of glucose, fructose and sucrose.
The 2020 Harvest Anther Cherry Gin has one quarter of the sugar in a traditional sloe gin.
The sour cherry flavour is softened with added the sugar resulting in a complex fruit gin the would work well in a negroni, or a Cherry Gin Crush!
Animus Distillery Davidsonia gin
The team use over-proofed version of their Macedon Dry gin recipe as a base in which to steep the Davidsonia plums.
The Davidsonia plums shine through, possibly because there is only a tiny amount of sugar added. Flavours of sour plum and raspberry burst forth from the glass while it finishes hints of spice.
Mix it with champagne for something truly special.
$120.00 (700ml) the 2020 release is coming soon.
Patient Wolf Blackthorn Gin
Ladies and Gentlemen, hold on to your hats as we dive into Patient Wolf’s Blackthorn gin. It’s a strong one, with no sugar added. The character of the sloe berries are prevalent with some tannins from the skins.
This is the ideal sloe gin for cocktails as it is robust enough not to get lost among the added ingredients. I love this with lemon tonic to make a zippy G&T.
Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz gin
The OG of the grape variety of fruit gins. The launch each year of Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz gin is akin to Christmas Day for gin lovers.
Local Yarra Valley cool climate Shiraz grapes are steeped in Four Pillars high proof Rare Dry gin for 8 weeks.
It’s rich, herbaceous and has hints star anise spice on the finish. Bloody Shiraz is suitable for a wide range of cocktails, but for me, over ice is always a winner.
Never Never Grenache gin (Ginache)
The new kid on the block, Never Never’s Grenache gin ‘Ginache’ whipped gin-lovers into a frenzy when it launched earlier in the year.
The team used their award-winning Triple Juniper Gin as a base and steeped Grenache grapes picked from Chalk Hill’s Slate Creek vineyard for 3 weeks.
‘Ginache’ as it’s fondly called is lighter and brighter than most grape infused gins. It bursts with jammy, raspberry fruit flavours and has lots of grape character.
Whether you serve it neat over ice or mixed into a spritz it will delight grenache and gins lovers alike. Sadly this year’s vintage as now sold out (can 2020 get any worse?), but I’m already campaigning for a 2021 edition!
Seppeltsfield Road Distillers Barossa Shiraz gin
Situated in the heart of the celebrated Barossa Valley, it would be remiss of Seppeltsfield Road Distillers to use anything other than Western Barossa Shiraz grapes.
They use their House Gin as a base for the fruit and the result is a rich, earthy gin with soft tannins. Subtle juniper, orange and cinnamon notes are elevated to remind you this is definitely gin!
It makes a cracker negroni, and is superb warmed with a cinnamon stick and a wedge of orange.