You know I’m a big fan of Darling Distillery gin. Their original gin launched in 2021 and made it straight onto my list of Top Australian gins for 2021. They went back to back with their Coffee gin which featured on the 2022 list.
COVID delayed my visit to the distillery, but I recently managed to get across town to visit this little North side gem.
Friends Ben Evans, Sean Waddingham and Karlos Gudic used the pandemic lockdowns as as an opportunity to work on their idea of opening a gin distillery. The three have different backgrounds, but their combined skills have definitely put the gin brand on the map.
Karlos and his family are the long-time owners of the Royal Hotel in Clifton Hill and he has a long career in hospitality. Sean is the marketing guru (he has a degree in Brand Management, Marketing and Design) while Ben is a Food Technologist who he founded St David Dairy in Fitzroy (later sold to Maggie Beer).
Darling Distillery gins
The gin is named after Darling Park, a stones throw from the distillery and the recipe is founded on ingredients local to the distillery – including rooftop honey and foraged rosemary. If you are a fan of citrus forward gins, you’ll love this. Orange and mandarin and myrtle are distilled with pepperberry and lemon grass to create a zesty tipple. Green tea adds an interesting herbaceous note that prevents the citrus dominating.Ben came up with the idea of adding butter for texture and mouthfeel, and weirdly it works!
The team macerate cacao, roasted hazelnuts and wattleseed in gin for a week. The resulting spirit is then blended with local cold-brew coffee (no coffee essences here) and some dates for sweetness. At 38% this is no coffee gin liqueur. It’s rich and smooth and goes beautifully in a Negroni.
More gins are in the pipeline so keep an eye on this brand as I think it has the potential to be something very special.
Where to find them:
Darling Distillery, 41 Spensley St, Clifton Hill VIC 3068
The last Friday of every month from 3-8pm
Both gins are available via The Ginporium – Click here for Coffee gin. Click here for the Original Darling gin.
You can follow Darling Distillery on Facebook and Instagram
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