Lucas Cattell is passionate about gin. The owner of the Catcher and Co. Distillery certainly isn’t a purist or an adherent to all…or any of the unwritten rules of gin distilling.
“I love experimenting,” says Lucas. “I always aim to create something that I would like to drink. I’m not a fan of traditional dry gins, which is what I originally set out to create, so I came up with something else.”
The result is the award-winning Bathtub Gin, which has been described as “odd,” “interesting,” and “…sure to make the world a better place.”
Lucas, like the gin, is neither pretentious nor boring. Catcher and Co. came about through a still in the backyard and years of hard work; testing, more testing, taking more than the recommended dose of painkillers, adjusting the recipe and testing.
“I love going to work, it’s fun,” says Lucas, who has now moved out of the backyard and into the Australian Hotel at Cooma, NSW. “I enjoy the challenge of combining botanicals in unusual ways; it took more than 33 recipes to get to what we have today. Everything is created in house and it’s amazing to be able to create something from nothing.”
The Bathtub Gin itself was an evolutionary product, originally created with 4 ingredients, it eventually made its way to 14, as friends, family and experts offered their feedback and the recipe was tweaked and improved.
“It’s an in-your-face gin, which is what I like,” says Lucas. “There are diverse flavours and the spiciness of the peppers and fruitiness of the citrus combine with the aniseed and the lavender to give it a really robust flavour profile. It’s not a martini gin because of those flavours, it goes really well in a G&T or as part of a cocktail. Because of the unique taste and strength, it compliments most flavours well or at least creates something unexpected.”
Catcher and Co. Bathtub Gin is barrel aged, which is of course unusual.
“I’m a whiskey tragic and I was thinking how I could bring across the caramel notes and vanillas that come from barrel ageing into the gin. Then we did the obvious and tried duplicating the procedure and here we are.”
As for the future, Catcher and Co. are planning to release 2 more gins over the next year. One will be a summer gin created by attendees of gin classes at the Australian Hotel.
“We’re going to run these classes and keep a portion of every gin created, along with the recipe. We’ll test each one and the best will become our Summer Gin, named for the person who created it. We’re really keen to get the local community involved and maintain the spirit of experimentation.”
With renovation plans also underway and a focus on creating a product that is unique and drinkable, it seems likely that Lucas and Catcher and Co. will become more well known – or potentially infamous – in the Australian gin scene.
“We’re going to keep finding ways to engage the local community and focus on improving the product. So far, it’s working pretty well.”
We couldn’t agree more.