Gins are no longer the type that are hidden away in grannie’s grog cupboard (sorry Gran). Those Gins are nearly all imported. They are full of “London Dry” botanicals like juniper, coriander, cardamom, angelic root and citrus. Boring?
While Australian Craft Gin is still required to have those juniper overtones that define the Gin spirit, they are increasingly adding Australian native botanicals to their Gin recipes.It all leads to these craft Gins being more, well, Australian.
The current Gin boom is drivingAustralian Craft Gin distillers to dream up new, unusual and inventive ingredients in order to stake their claim in a more crowded market and its all music to the ears of Gin lovers.
Standing tall above the juniperbushes are the Tasmanian Pepperberry rainforests– present in the recipes of most Australian Gins. Your Gin cocktail is loadedup with Myrtle. One distiller hasover a dozen native botanicals, including the nut of the bunya pine.
The 10 most common botanicals used in Australian Craft Gin are illustrated, located and described in The Gin & Botanicals Map of Australia and New Zealand (Gintonica and vWMaps), as well as 101 Australia and New Zealand Gin producers.
Know Your Shrubs
Gin aficionados are now accidental botanists. Like David Attenborough groupies, they describe the various native plants wafting up nostrils and down gullets. They can name more Aussie shrubs than their grannies and their local plant nursery expert combined.
Aussie Bush Tucker – Snap Test
Ever heard of Lemon, Cinnamon or Anise Myrtle? Surely Finger Lime, Bush Tomato and Tasmanian/Mountain Pepperberry have graced your plate? What about Strawberry Gum, Boobialla (native juniper) and Tea Tree/Manuka. The colourful Butterfly Pea? Over a dozen more and some are secret. Even the iconic Australian national floral emblem, Golden Wattle(Acacia pycnantha). If you drink Australian Craft Gins, odds are that you are smelling and tasting these botanicals.
The name given to those who dine principally on local foods. Let’s include local drinks here. It’s not just about the botanicals, it’s also the sense of place, a link to the very environment surrounding the distillery, demonstrated not only by copious natives, but by the fact that some Australia Craft Distillers even hand forage botanicals from their very own surroundings.
Australian Gin Icons
There is a deepening “love of land”,the ever present inseparable connection to the sea, a maturing wine culture and that old chestnut: a fascination with “bitey things”, it’s all there in Aussie Craft Gins. There’s seaweed and seawater, local river water and even snow melt. Alcohol derived not only from grapesand sugar cane, but Tasmania Barley and farm sheep’s whey. Shiraz or Flowers soaked in Gin. Those bitey things? You must have heard of greenand angry ants.
Australian Craft Gins are gaining a real sense of place and that place is where Australians live and drink.
So put on “that hat”, go forth and join the expedition in search of new and exciting recipes behind Craft Gins. It’s not too late, in fact it is only just starting. Don’t be left behind. There are oceans of Gin & Tonics, Negroni Lava, Deserts of Dry Martinis and crazy tribes slinging Gins.
Visit the websites of Mt Uncle, Manly Spirits, Dasher + Fisher, The West Winds, Brookies, KIS Wild Gin, Bass and Flinders, Adelaide Hills / Something Wild, Husk’s Ink Gin, Four Pillars and Hartshorn, just to name a few.