Ok, we’re not going to lie, the end of 2021 is lining up to showcase some of our finest gins yet! This year we came across some absolute stunners, so we’re going to finish things in style. We need it after a horror year, right??
Our last three gins of the year all came away with gold medals at the 2021 Australian Gin Awards. Better yet, two of them won best in class and the final gin of the year was named Best in Show at the same awards.
We’re not ready to reveal it just yet, but some sleuthing on your part will give you a sneak peak into our final gin of 2021.
We digress though, so back to our penultimate gin of the year, Darling Gin, from urban Melbourne distillery Darling Distillery. This gin for us is what keeps us excited for new Australian releases. Just when you think you’ve seen everything the industry has to offer, up pops a delicious release like this one.
To sum it up, it’s complex, balanced and versatile. Everything we look for in a great gin!
On the nose Darling Gin is a complex blend of juniper, fresh citrus (mandarine & orange) and savoury herbaceous notes. Sipping it reveals more juniper, warm spice from the Tasmanian pepperberry as well as earthy undertones from rosemary and green tea. The finish is long and creamy, thanks to the addition of cultured butter, a nod to distiller Ben’s dairy days and locally sourced honey.
Depending on your specific palate, your experience of this gin could be completely different. It has so much going on, that some will find more of that mandarin citrus, while others may be more sensitive to the savoury and herbaceous notes. Alternatively like us, you’ll come across both in different measures each time you come back to it.
The development of this gin was fascinating to chat to the team about. Each of the trio behind Darling, came with an idea of a botanical, or inclusion they wanted to see in the gin. For Tasmanian Sean, it was pepperberry, hotel owner Karlos was all about the rosemary. It’s grown just outside the pub and features in each batch, freshly picked.
Finally ex-dairy owner Ben really wanted to see this included in some way. Some background research from the UK revealed using butter would absolutely work in the right mix.
From that point, it was a matter of rounding out the botanical mix to suit, with months of development and trial batches.
The final mix includes: juniper, coriander seed, Tasmanian pepperberry, angelica root, lemongrass, lemon myrtle (beautifully handled in this gin), fresh rosemary, green tea, cultured butter, fresh orange and mandarin.
The final botanical should have a special mention, local rooftop honey. Sean explained that honey from urban hives can be wildly different from one to the next. Their honey is as local as it can be, while still having the flavour profile the team were after.
Fevertree Mediterranean with a sprig of rosemary
40ml Darling Gin
25ml Fresh Pressed Lemon Juice
15ml Sugar Syrup (1:1)
20ml Ginger Cordial*
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
20ml Egg White/Aquafaba
30-45ml Sparkling Water
Garnish: Grated Cinnamon
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker minus the sparkling water, and shake without ice to sufficiently froth up the mixture. Finally shake with ice, double straining into your favourite chilled highball glass.
Empty the ice out of the shaker, add 30-45mls of sparkling water, and vigorously swirl to froth it, and pour immediately into the highball glass to give the cocktail a nice frothy head. Using a microplane, grate enough cinnamon over the top of the drink to release its aroma.