This week, I celebrated seven years of the Gin Queen. It’s been a good opportunity to pause and reflect on the time I’ve spent drinking and talking about gin, meeting fellow gins fiends and distillers alike, and all the amazing opportunities I’ve experienced. It’s been great to look back at how the industry has evolved too.
In the beginning
In 2011 I arrived in Australia in 2011, and having never even visited before, was keen to find out as much as I could about my new home, this included investigating if there were any Australian gins. There were a few, but they were not widely available.
You can read about the early Australian craft gin pioneers here.
A flippant comment from a friend suggesting I start a website about gin planted a seed, and GQ was born.
A few days later I was at the trade launch of Four Pillars Rare Dry gin at Gin Palace in Melbourne, where I met Stu Gregor and Cam Mackenzie for the first time.
Archie Rose, Melbourne Gin Company and Poor Toms followed hot on their heels and early in 2014 (on a VERY hot sweaty night) I held my first event with Four Pillars, Bass & Flinders, West Winds and Melbourne Gin Company.
What is an Australian gin?
We all know our lemon myrtle from our native boobiallas these days, but our understanding of native ingredients used as botanicals in gin was in its infancy at that time. Overseas gin drinkers were both bedazzled and overwhelmed by our bold contribution to the gin world.
Taking our place on the world stage.
It wasn’t too long before Australian gins began appearing in the top medal listings of the most prestigious competitions like the International Wine and Spirits Competition (IWSC) and San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC).
When Four Pillars gin was awarded International Gin Producer of the Year by the IWSC in 2019 Australian gin was set firmly on global map. Especially when they did the double in 2020 by winning it again.
Also in 2020, Australian swept the Icons of Gin awards with Sacha La Forgia from Adelaide Hills Distillery winning Distiller of the Year, Cape Byron Distillery (Brookie’s gin) winning Sustainable Distillery of the Year, and Dave Withers at Archie Rose winning Master Distiller of the Year.
Women making their mark
Australian gin distilling was dominated by men in the early days, aside from Lyn Lark who was the first female distiller and Sarah Lark at KIS spirits. The industry was largely made up of married couples where the husband was making whisky and the wife made gin. Things has moved on significantly since then, as you can see from my Women in Gin post (this was current as of March 2020, but I know that there are more to add!)
There are sooo many highlights – meeting my gin heroes, judging a cocktail competition for Hernö in the pissing rain, and of course launching Junipalooza in Australia!
I have to say a big THANK YOU to YOU. Especially if you are one of the people who read my stuff, comment on socials, join me on tours and come to my gin dinners. I appreciate your support!
Gin is subjective – everyone has different tastes.
There is no wrong way to garnish a gin and tonic
Lemon, lime? Who cares. Add what you like! (You can get some ideas here).
One of the most enjoyable G&Ts I’ve ever had was at the Howling Owl in Adelaide, where the garnish was mango and black pepper! Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!
People who say they don’t like gin generally don’t like tonic
Give them gin and soda or ginger beer and bring them over to our side!
Gin distillers are the funnest people to be around. Their passion and creativity inspires me every day.
If you’ve ever been to Junipalooza, you’ll know what I mean!
In spite of there being nearly 200 gin producers creating over 600 different gins, only 3% of ALL spirits consumed in this country is Australian.
Support Australian Distillers!