Gin is the ‘Thing’Back to blog
Have you tried Gin lately?
You’ll be surprised at the variety on the shelves at your local. Gin is having a renaissance that has exploded in the past few years and is placing Australia on the world map.
Stuart Gregor, Australian Distillers Association President and co-owner of Four Pillars Gin attribute some of this interest to the fact that we have “incredible indigenous botanicals …so we’re making really unique gin”.
It’s these tantalising flavours across several gin styles that make it easy to find one that will please, even if you thought you weren’t a gin drinker.
Australian Gins Rising Star
The Gin trend is not going away any time soon. Coupled with a growing Australian scene of local distillers achieving extraordinary success at home and abroad, artisanal distilleries are flourishing, growing from around 10, five years ago to over a 150 in 2019.
Botanical blends, visible in many liquor categories are perhaps nowhere more evident than in the gin varieties appearing on the market. And this is where gin comes into its own.
The beauty of Gin is its chameleon qualities, its ability to showcase the distiller’s exclusive mix of botanicals to remind us of a place, or time.
In Australia we can now find local gins that reflect their geographic origins and our own story, indigenous, coastal and multicultural.
Taking this a step further, Four Pillars is experimenting with the creation of Modern Australian gins. Cameron Mackenzie, Distiller for Four Pillars, is producing gin which embraces our cultural heritage, bringing together European elements of juniper with south East Asian and Middle Eastern spices plus a nod to the Mediterranean. Couple this with uniquely Australian native botanicals and you have gin that is multifaceted, complex and truly Australian.
“To us this was a nice reflection of Modern Australia.”
Even closer to home and heart, Cameron has produced a barrel-aged Australian Christmas Gin. You guessed it, gin that starts life as Christmas puddings and results in a gin scented, Christmas flavoured sensation. Get in line for this one.
If you don’t like Gin, you just haven’t tried the right one
So, what is gin?
At its core gin is a neutral spirit, think vodka, which is then re-distilled with juniper berry – being the only essential ingredient to define it as a gin. To this base are added any number of botanicals ranging from hints of lavender, blue butterfly pea, rose and cucumber to stronger ginger, pepper or liquorice, and everything in between. Common botanicals include citrus peels, bitter almonds, nutmeg and cinnamon, if it’s in your spice cupboard it’s probably in a gin somewhere. This second distillation and the magical mix of botanicals is what ultimately produces the blends and taste sensations we are seeing today.
What’s Your Gin Style?
Gin styles vary based on taste, strength and origin, giving you different options dependent upon your preferences. Ranging from dry through to sweet you should find one to suit. Some styles to look out for include:
- London Dry Gin. Originating from its namesake city, this style is the basis for the majority of gins on the market today. Noticeably drier due to having little to no added sugar, the style has the characteristic juniper taste. Gins to try – Four Pillars Rare Dry, Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater London Dry, Gordons and Vickers.
- Navy Strength Gin. The name says it all. This is a serious drink originating in the 1800s to combat the medical ailments of sea travel. Dedicated to gin lovers, it packs a whopping punch in the alcohol stakes and was said to ‘ignite gunpowder’. New gin drinkers should tread with caution. Gins to try – Four Pillars Navy Strength, Old Young’s Common.
- Old Tom Gin. This is a far sweeter version of the London Dry Gin. With no ‘rules’ as to what makes up the ‘Old Tom,’ it is heavier, with a malt flavour which may suit those who are partial to whiskey. Gins to try – Hayman Old Tom, Poor Toms Sydney Dry.
- Plymouth Gin. Unlike a London Gin, this one can only be made in Plymouth and is another sweeter version but with a softer, less woody juniper taste. Gin to try – Plymouth.
- Modern/New Wave/Contemporary Gin. Whilst not clearly defined, this style generally has a softer juniper palate with the botanicals being the focus. Australian style is making waves in the gin market worldwide and may be defined as a blend of regional cultural flavours, similar to the food fusion we find in many Australian restaurants. Gins to try – Four Pillars Rare Dry, Gordons Pink, Giniversity range, Old Youngs 1827/1829.
Gin can be drunk neat to appreciate the fine botanicals, but is also superb as a mixer.
The complex botanicals shine when mixed, coming to life in cocktails that range from the traditional Gin & Tonic, French Martini, Tom Collins or Singapore Sling to more contemporary Basil B, Blackberry Shooter or a Limoncello-Gin.
Give them a try, you’ll be surprised at the range of flavour experiences on offer.
The upshot is that if you haven’t liked the gin you’ve tried ‘til now, then you’re around the corner from one you will love.
Award Winning Four Pillars Gins
When selecting gin it’s particularly important to start with a quality product. With a neutral base and less sugar than many other spirits, gin is heavily reliant on superior botanical elements to produce their aromatic profile.
With hundreds to choose from, the decision can be overwhelming. Start by choosing your gin style and botanical flavour preferences then try a few stalwarts off the shelf, you’re sure to find something to please.
For totally unique flavours and award-winning spirits check out Four Pillars range of exciting gins. They include a Rare Dry, Navy Strength, Bloody Shiraz and Spiced Negroni, in addition to their specialised Sherry Cask and Chardonnay Barrel gins, plus who could resist an Australian Christmas Gin?
Four Pillars multiple award-winning Rare Dry Gin is a modern Australian style with cardamom, cinnamon and star anise coupled with Australian oranges, Tasmanian Pepperberry leaf and lemon myrtle. Creating a highly aromatic spirit with slight warmth and signature orange notes; unusual for a gin. The best way to enjoy on a hot summer’s day is as a G&T with a slice of orange, according to Cameron. Who’s going to argue with the distiller?
Now if that isn’t enough, you can also get your hands on some sumptuous marmalade, you read right, jam made from gin-soaked fruit to produce an Orange Marmalade and Breakfast Negroni. A new twist on a G&T, Gin with Toast anyone?
Get on board the Gin train, choose your favourite flavours, pick your gin style then start mixing
If you need any further excuse to give gin a go remember its ‘medicinal’ purposes as a health tonic. Think tonic water with quinine, anti-malarial heaven from your ‘G & T’. Mix with fruit to combat scurvy or add Angostura bitters to settle an upset stomach. But really, who needs an excuse. Bet you’re feeling better already!
Go ahead and enjoy this long-time favourite, it’s here to stay.
Win a Four Pillars Gift Pack and try these gin styles
Be the first to try three sensational gins from Four Pillars, it’s easy to enter.
If you miss out simply pick up a bottle of the Rare Dry Gin in store. You’ll be happy you did.