For Tara Distillery, the botanicals are where their Australian and Irish influences meet most obviously. It features a big backbone of juniper, while Australian natives of pepperberry leaf, sustainably foraged local sea lettuce, lemon myrtle and macadamia mix with ‘old country’ elements of Irish rowan berry, hawthorn and heather. There’s also Newfoundland savoury, inspiration from a close friend and a botanical carefully monitored to restrain its power.
They produce their gin in the London Dry style – all botanicals in the still in a single shot run, which is another Irish inspiration. While a lot of local distilling takes its cues from England (gin) and Scotland (whisky), the Irish gin scene has long embraced the pot still over the column, it’s about texture and coherency as much as flavour.
“We wanted a complex gin that was bold in flavour… that’s what the Irish gins represented to me,” Ben says. “There is something about the strength of flavour and the integration you get. All the gins we loved, that was the path that they were going down.”
“I wanted a gin that smelt like gin,” Alarna adds.
Alarna and Ben’s vision took two years of trials on a small research and development still, which then needed to be translated onto the full-size Burns creation. The result is stunning. A gin that delivers on its promises and was an obvious choice for us to feature.
“When you sip it, hold it on your tongue, for me it’s sweet on the front,” Alarna says. “Mid palate it will go through grapefruit and citrus and become slight earthy. The finish, for me, is gentle spices. I really like that journey through my palate. I think the flavour holds up, quite boldly and it works in a G&T. Having said that, I like it neat. Ben likes it in a martini.”
Ben adds, “For us it was really important that it had a really strong juniper core, so it has nice citrus support on the nose, and you get a bit of that complexity with the heather, but it’s got a really strong juniper core.”
Part of that integration also comes from letting the gin rest before it is released to market.
“We love to gin the gin a really good rest,” Ben tells us, “that’s something we learnt from Ireland as well.
“It’s interesting how much it does develop, it’s about the gin becoming a consolidated whole. We didn’t want a one hero gin, we wanted juniper forward and complexity in the background… it is a matter of letting it come together.”
Alarna says, “We can definitely recognise our gin, the way it smells and taste. It’s very distinctive.”
There’s not much we want to do with this gin beyond the classics. This is your chance to revisit your favourite classic cocktail and enjoy Tara gin to its fullest.
For inspiration our top three with this gin will be:
Ruby grapefruit garnish and a dry tonic, Capi is our pick. Our ratio is around 60/40 gin to tonic, but mix up to your preference.
Fill a mixing glass with ice
Add dry vermouth to taste – a few drops for a ‘dry’ martini, 15ml for a ‘wet’ martini
Add 75ml of Tara gin
Stir for around 15 (20-30 seconds) rotation
Strain into a chilled martini glass
Garnish with a lemon twist
45ml Tara Gin
30ml High quality rosso vermouth.
Stir all ingredients on ice, strain into a large rocks glass with ice and garnish with an orange slice.