Australia 2018: Gin

Given much of our time was spent in Australia on this trip we were keen to try some different gins that we wouldn’t be able to find at home and also pick up a few bottles to take back with us. It may be a booming industry but in general, a lot of newer gins are a bit hit and miss at the moment. We did very well in our sampling so here is a run down of some of the best bars and bottles we came across.

THE BARS

The Barbershop, City Centre,Sydney.

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Uber hipster feel (it is connected to an actual barbershop) but a great collection that has expanded beyond its capacity behind the bar so that now there are cabinets dotted around the room stuffed with bottles.

We liked: The printed menu sorted by location, the knowledgeable staff, the amazing soundtrack including the Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks and Blondie.

Moya’s Juniper Lounge, Redfern, Sydney

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I couldn’t resist including this picture, Jordan behind the counter and a cauliflower on the bar..

An amazing find, this is like walking into your great nan’s living room or stepping back in time to post war Britain but with a bit more luxury.

We liked: home made tonic water and pickles, going behind the bar to investigate all of the bottles. The owner has a lot of knowledge and his suggestions led to us finding the best gin of the whole trip.

Bad Frankies, Fitzroy, Melbourne

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Not a gin bar but it might as well be, they sell spirits and jaffles (toasted sandwiches) in a no fuss environment. We each did a tasting paddle of 5 gins with tonic and garnish for $30AU and got to pick which gins we tried.of particular note was the conversation we had with our server who told us about the origin of our selected drinks and the time he has spent with local distilleries helping make products. He also gave us a pointer on where to go to buy bottles that turned out to be very fortuitous.

We liked: One to one service, good pricing, informed reccomendations.

The Gin Palace, City Centre,Melbourne

Probably my least favourite of the bars we visited although probably due to uber tiredness rather than the venue itself. This is a table service style venue but we ended up going to the bar as it was a bit slow. Venue has low lighting and comfy seats and would be good for a date.

We liked: extensive menu sorted by location, good for lounging on sofas and slow drinking.

Four Pillars Distillery, Melbourne

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The bar is part of the distillery and whilst it’s geared towards tasting sessions and sales they also have live music and food trucks at weekends.

We liked: Cool setting, tasting opportunites, big,bright open space.

(Whilst you can buy gin here, we found it cheaper elsewhere)

 

THE GINS

We easily tried over 35 gins between us in Australia so I will cover only the most interesting ones – all of which are native.

Iron Bark Distillery- Wattleseed dry.

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By far the best gin we tried in my opinion, it has a strong, cocoa finish that is only slightly sweet. It does have a lingering finish but that’s what I like about it. IF you have ever tried Polugar gin, this is very similar

 Adelaide Hills Australian Green Ant Gin

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An unusual find, we tried this at Bad Frankies and originally thought it could be a bit of a gimmick but traditionally, these ants were eaten by Indigenous peoples and carry a strong, citrus flavour similar to lime. The ants are used in the distilling process and a few are also found in the bottle, they remain hand harvested by the Motlop family of the Larrakia people. This is a citrus based gin with coriander and pepper berry notes

The Weaver-Loch Brewery

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Another unusual find, we loved the interesting mix of botanicals this gin offered. This is a London Dry style gin but with locally sourced, sustainable ingredients

 

Dasher & Fisher- Varieties

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There are a couple of different varieties of this gin, we tried, Meadow and Mountain but Ocean was probably the one I most enjoyed. All 3 use the same base botanicals of native pepperberry, lavender and wakame and then variants added to reflect the landscape. The salty, seaweed richness and soft hint of jasmine made this a really easy drinking spirit- it was quite hard to find so sadly we couldn’t bring a bottle home.

 

Australia= Good at Gin.

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