For a distilling company like Otter Craft Distilling (OCD) who are so passionate about producing spirits that are locally sourced, how do you produce a gin?
Going back to the very beginnings of gin, the Dutch and the English travelled great distances along the spice routes, to bring back ingredients from distant shores. Ingredients like juniper from Macedonia and various spices from Asia were – and still are considered essential for production of an authentic tasting gin. That’s why it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible to make a local gin.
But one of the great things about good gin is its ability to bring people together as a universal drink.
“Everyone can enjoy a gin and tonic and the conversation that goes along with it,” says O.C.D.’s distiller, Eduard Otter. “And that’s the idea behind our Mary St gin. We’ve taken all these wonderful international ingredients and put them together here for everyone to celebrate that variety of culture and enjoy locally.”
While not every ingredient may be local, brother and sister team, Julie and Ed insist that they are ethically and sustainably sourced.
“We’ve done a lot of research to ensure that we’re getting the very best organic ingredients and it’s important for us to know exactly where everything has come from,” Julie says.
“And part of the fun of gin production is playing around and finding things you never expected to,” Ed says.
He’s talking about ingredients like the Israeli rose buds that OCD add to the basket to enhance the flavour of their first and newly launched gin, Mary St.
“The rose buds from Israel give a natural candy-like sweetness without the sugar, and they really work to bring out the flavour in the gin,” Ed says.
To our palate, as well as floral sweetness from those rose buds, we’d describe Mary St as giving a fabulous dose of juniper which quickly follows with a healthy kick of spice from cinnamon, and woody, earthiness from orris.
Visually, Mary St has a slight cloudiness that gives away the big and delicious, oily juniper texture and flavour you are about to delight in when drinking.
Talking of drinking, Mary St makes for superbly easy drinking with a versatility that lends itself to a classic gin and tonic as well as going perfectly in a Martini, Negroni, or any gin based cocktail you like!
When it comes to selecting a tonic for Mary St, Ed says don’t stress too much as Mary St is designed to shine through any.
Below are some classic cocktail recipes to try with Mary St Sydney Dry Gin.
Ed suggests Mary St in a Dirty Martini as it suits the gin’s oily texture
4-6 green pitted olives (plus 25ml of the brine)
150ml Mary St Sydney Dry Gin
25ml Dry Vermouth
Fill a mixing glass with gin, vermouth, ice and olive brine then stir until cold. Strain the mix into chilled Martini glasses and garnish with an olive skewer.
Mary St is just lovely in a Negroni as the subtle sweetness of the gin really complements this cocktail
25ml Mary St Sydney Dry Gin
25ml sweet Vermouth
Slice of orange (to garnish)
Pour the Gin, Vermouth and Campari into a mixing glass with ice and stir until cold. Next strain into a tumbler and add one large cube of ice. Garnish with a slice of orange.