It’s that time of year again folks! As we bid farewell to 2021 (thank goodness), I’m sharing my Top 10 Australian gins of the year. It’s been another great year for Aussie gins, with global accolades continuing to flood in.
As in previous years, this list is compiled of my favourite NEW releases (excluding limited editions) of the year.
Why do I exclude limited editions? Well, for one there are sooo many! Secondly, many readers like to have a little shop after seeing this list and there is nothing more annoying that finding a gin that has sold out!
I’ve been fortunate to have been gifted a few of these, but the majority I have purchased. This is not a sponsored post and I have not been paid to promote these gins and none of them know they are on the list, until NOW!
Amberches Botanical gin (WA)
Amberches Distillery is based in WA and has already picked up several awards since its launch this year, including a Gold medal at The Spirits Business Masters.
There are three gins in their range, but the Botanical , with its delicate floral aroma stood out for me. Up front there is plenty of juniper, but notes of fresh green Granny Smith apples come through and as the label tells you, a hint of elderflower, and it really is a hint. The finish is lengthy and warm. A lovely contrast to the fresh flavours at the fore.
I’ve beefed up the elderflower component by using Elderflower tonic water, but this would also go well with soda water or perhaps some prosecco!
Naught Overproof Gin (VIC)
Naught gin appeared on my Top 10 Australian gins of 2020 and I’m delighted to add their Overproof to this year’s list.
The nose has a bright citrus character As you’d expect from a 57.4% gin, it’s packed with flavour. Juniper is the hero here, supported by zesty pink grapefruit. Fresh apple and spices complement the main botanicals, while macadamia nut gives a gorgeously soft mouthfeel.
Enjoy in a G&T (you don’t need as much gin as it’s navy strength) or in your favourite cocktail.
Seabourne Distillery Coastal Dry gin (QLD)
Noosa is home to Seabourne distillery and distiller Thiago Lopes has created a gin that celebrates this part of Australia.
The palate has a fresh, citrus sweetness, brought by lime and rivermint, perfectly balanced with the juniper . White kunzea and sea parsley add herbaceous tones while mountain pepper provides a spicy finish.
A perfect sipper to enjoy by the pool!
Bright Night Gin (TAS)
When I heard that the creator of Poltergeist gin, Damian Mackey, had set up a new distillery, I knew that the gin would be good, and I wasn’t disappointed.
It’s a rich, resinous gin that combines classic Tasmanian botanicals like mountain pepper berries, lemon myrtle and kunzea with traditional gin ingredients.
Juniper waves a big hello on the nose and is at the heart of the gin. Spice and citrus create a full bodied, gin that also packs a gentle heat.
An absolute classic from this award-winning distiller.
Bright Night gin is available at The Ginporium.
Puss & Mew Distillery Honey Coconut gin (VIC)
I’m not quiet about my distrust of flavoured gins, so when Puss and Mew launched their range that included Honey Coconut and Spiced Turkish Delight gins, you will understand my nervousness.
But goodness me, Brett and Deb have restored my faith!
I was anticipating a sweet spirit, and something not too ginny. But I take it all back. This is definitely gin. Toasted coconut bursts through on the nose (Deb does this by hand) with a hint of honey.
On the palate the you can taste a hint of toasted coconut, but think nutty rather than sweet and it doesn’t detract from the traditional botanicals of juniper, coriander, and cassia. There is an earthy sweetness in the mid-palate provided by all spice, nutmeg and dried fig.
So where’s the honey? the gin is actually steeped in fresh Castlemaine Honey. It’s perceptible but in a very subtle way and rounds out the gin beautifully.
I like to drink it neat over ice, but it also makes a bloody brilliant Old-fashioned. Try it with soda rather than tonic and for something tropical, I recommend Union Electric’s Lola Colada recipe.
A skillfully made gin worth seeking out. (p.s if you enjoyed Poor Tom’s Pina Colada gin, you’ll love this!)
Honey Coconut gin is available at The Ginporium.
Darling Distillery gin (VIC)
Darling Distillery gin caught my eye as a contender, very early on in the year.
If you are a fan of citrus forward gins, you’ll love this. Orange and mandarin and myrtle have distilled with pepperberry and lemon grass to create a zesty tipple. Freshly picked rosemary and green tea give an interesting herbacous note that stops the citrus elements from overpowering the gin.
Melbourne rooftop honey and freshly churned butter (sounds weird but works!) are also used to round out the spirit and create a sublime mouthfeel.
An intriguing gin that has held my attention all year.
North of Eden Oyster Shell gin (NSW)
**MY 2021 GIN OF THE YEAR**
The first Australian Oyster Shell gin (followed swiftly by Never Never Distilling Co. collaboration with Society Restaurant in Melbourne), is an absolute cracker.
It’s made with locally sourced oyster shells and saltbush alongside juniper and citrus, this is a beautifully balanced gin. Fresh on the nose, with lots of juniper and an almost creamy mouthfeel.
If you love martinis, this is THE gin for you. If you prefer a longer drink, it pairs magically with Fever-Tree’s Elderflower tonic. It sounds strange but it works!
Prohibition Liquor Co. Moonlight gin (SA)
Pink gins have saturated the gin shelves in recent years and not always for the better.
Prohibition Liquor Co.’s Moonlight gin has a gorgeous aroma of crisp apple and earthy notes of sandalwood and orris root
15 botanicals go into making this gin, including pink lady apples, blood limes, goji berries and hibiscus which are cold distilled to maintain their fresh flavours.
The result is a black gin that glows pink when tonic is added.
To taste, it’s as very dry with dark fruit flavours coming through on the palate. Notes of bright, sharp raspberry leade into bitter grapefruit notes before the lengthy finish with hints of sandalwood and clove.
I love it with tonic, but it also works brilliantly in a variety of cocktails.
Applewood Distillery Alpine Gin (SA)
Last year Applewood became the first distillery to feature two gins in my Top 10 list, and they’ve backed that up with the launch of their Alpine gin, their homage to Australian mountains.
This is an absolute classic, resinous, vibrant and packed with juniper! The citrus element compliments the rich juniper and the finish is lengthy and full of spice.
A gin to enjoy whichever way you choose.
Applewood Alpine gin is available at The Ginporium.
Seppeltsfield Road Distillers Musician’s Cut gin
You know I’m a sucker for a Navy Strength gin and the new Seppeltsfield Road Musician’s Cut is right up my gin lane!
The higher the ABV, the more flavour from the botanicals is retained, so you can actually use less in your drinks without compromising on taste.
However, the distiller has to show great skill in achieving good integration between the spirit and the botanicals. Remember, good spirits war, bad ones burn.
Award-winning distiller, Nicole Durdin, has created a stunning example of this style of gin.
Botanicals include grapefruit, orange, liquorice root, pink peppercorn, blue cornflowers, elderflower, chamomile and cinnamon.
Musician’s cut is punchy without being overwhelming. Bold juniper is up front before bright citrus notes take over. It’s rich and juicy, with a hint of sweetness from the liquorice. The finish is lengthy, but subtle. A beautifully balanced Navy strength gin!
You can check out my Top 10 Australian gins from previous years here: