The Weekend Series: five local craft gin brands to line your liquor cabinet

The Weekend Series: five local craft gin brands to line your liquor cabinet

Gin may be an acquired taste, but when you’ve got the hankering, you should do it right and drink it well. Think small-batch distilleries, custom-made stills and native Australian botanicals. We’ve rounded up five premium purveyors from across the country whose little beauties you should be pouring into your next G&T.

Prohibition Liquor Co.
Those with a discerning taste for all things small batch and handmade should wet their whistle on some of Prohibition Liquor Co.’s award-winning gins. The Adelaide distillery puts a whole lot of love into producing its range of craft spirits, including the Prohibition Gin, Bathtub Cut Gin and Shiraz Barrel Gin. Botanicals ranging from juniper, lemon myrtle and vanilla to blood orange, ginger root and ruby red grapefruit feature in the line-up, offering varying notes of spices, florals and citrus. Southern friends can swing by Prohibition Liquor Co.’s Tasting Room in Adelaide to watch the wizards at work while enjoying a gin flight and some fodder.
Image: Meaghan Coles

Adelaide Gin
Relative newcomer Adelaide Gin is a liquid celebration of a beautiful city, a strong family heritage and a passion for spirits. The artisan, small-batch distilled drop was inspired by gin enthusiast Michael Hickinbotham’s great grandfather Alan, who was the founding scientist of the Roseworthy College oenology course at The University of Adelaide. The result offers delicate hints of rose, lemon myrtle and Kangaroo Island lavender in a delicious blend of botanicals. After being launched in March this year by Michael and respected gin-maker Dr Graham Jones through Australian Distilling Co., the spirit has already scooped up a number of awards, including a silver medal at the San Francisco Spirit Awards and gold at the Berlin International Spirits Competition.

Patient Wolf Distilling Co.
It may have taken three years of research, jetlag and hangovers to get it right, but founders Matt and Dave have absolutely nailed their brief to produce quality, handcrafted Aussie gin. Native and exotic botanicals combine with citrus notes and pure locally sourced water in Patient Wolf’s innovative distilling process to create a contemporary take on good ol’ gin. Respecting tradition while looking towards the future, the gins are concocted in a 220-litre Müller copper still custom-built in Germany, which takes advantage of the spirit’s contact with the copper to produce a pure, aromatic and refined distillate. Choose from Melbourne Dry, Summer Thyme and Blackthorn blends.

Ambleside Distillers
This tale begins with an Australian copper still named Doug. A tender nod to co-founder Steve’s great uncle who used to sooth his ‘toothache’ with a G&T, the still was handcrafted in Ballarat and symbolises the local bent favoured by this Adelaide Hills distillery. This is echoed in the spirits on offer, from the 12 botanicals sourced directly from the distillery’s garden in the Small Acre Gin, to the South Australian Riverland oranges permeating the No. 8 Botanical Gin. If you’re in the Adelaide Hills area, stop by the Ambleside distillery and bar to meet the makers and join a gin-blending masterclass.

The Cannabis Co.
These guys have produced a wide range of products imbued with hemp for both pets and their humans, but their stand-out creation has to be the world’s first cannabis-infused gin distilled with terpenes, the Myrcene Hemp Gin. Terpenes are the key ingredients found in the essential oils of many medicinal plants and flowers, with myrcene being the most abundant terpene found in cannabis. Small-batch-crafted in Victoria, this award-winning gin takes inspiration from an early 17th-century practice of flavouring gin with terpenes obtained from distilling resin, primarily from pines. For a flavour variation, check out the Jilungin Dreaming Hemp Gin distilled with native Australian botanicals and the limited-edition High Seas Hemp Gin.

Honourable mentions:
Adelaide Hills Distillery: Something Wild Beverages and the small-batch Adelaide Hills Distillery have collaborated to create the Australian Green Ant Gin. This unique bush tucker is harvested by hand in the Northern Territory by the Motlop family of the Larrakia people, before being handcrafted and bottled in the Adelaide Hills. If you’re after a more conservative taste, check out the London Dry-style 78˚ Gin, which was released in 2015 by distillery founder Sacha La Forgia using native Australian ingredients.

Twenty Third Street Distillery: Housed in an historic South Australian distillery built in 1914, with century-old copper stills salvaged from Berri Estate, Twenty Third Street is navigating new flavours while paying homage to old-school craftsmanship. Its signature gin features citrus notes from fresh local mandarins and limes, as well as botanicals such as juniper and coriander.

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