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Five South Australian Distilleries You Can Support with Your Next Cruisy Afternoon Cocktail

Splash one of these standout spirits into your glass — and vote for your favourite to be stocked in more BWS stores across the state.
By Sarah Ward
August 29, 2020
By Sarah Ward
August 29, 2020


in partnership with

Splash one of these standout spirits into your glass — and vote for your favourite to be stocked in more BWS stores across the state.

There's no such thing as 'just a cocktail', as everyone who's fond of making and sipping them knows. Sourcing the exact right ingredients, combining them in the ideal way, perfecting your favourite recipe — ace all three stages, and you'll find yourself with a refreshing, drinkable work of art.

One particular part of the above equation is especially crucial, of course. If you don't pick the right spirit to start with, your cruisy afternoon cocktail just won't taste the same. And, if you can go one better and find a standout local drop — a creative gin, for example — you'll be able to both enjoy a stellar beverage and support a homegrown distillery at the same time.

When it comes to great spirits made right here in South Australia, you might already have your go-to. Or, you could be looking for ideas for your next concoction. Either way, we've teamed up with our pals at BWS to highlight five local outfits pumping out first-rate spirits you should know about. And, as well as adding them to your liquor cabinet, you can also sing their praises by voting for them to be stocked in more BWS stores across SA.

  • 5

    A family-run outfit on a small acreage, and one that’s been in the spirits game since 2017, Ambleside Distillers clearly likes its gin, with multiple types in its range. Fancy a dry and peppery version? A small-acre drop with tastes of rhubarb, bay leaf, apple and cloves? One distilled with native botanicals from South Australia’s Monarto Safari Park? Along with its zesty signature No 8 Botanical Gin, they’re all on the menu. The focus here is on uncomplicated but innovative spirits — and using conventional single-run vapour-infused distilling methods, but never treating the process of making spirits as a conventional task. Ingredients-wise, Ambleside benefits from its location, with its tasting bar, distillery and garden in Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.

  • 4
    Sinclair Distillery Urban Gin

    Every spirit has its strengths. When it comes to gin, however, versatility sits at the top of the list. This is a drop that goes down nicely on its own, with a splash of tonic or in a number of different cocktails — negronis, martinis and gimlets, just to name a few. Perhaps that’s why Adelaide’s Sinclair Distillery Urban Gin focuses on just two varieties of small-batch gin. When you can do so much with one particular spirit, you really don’t need to overcomplicate things. Its namesake product heroes juniper (naturally), plus coriander, licorice root, almond, lemon peel, dragon fruit and more, while its The Rocks variety takes its cues from navy-strength gins, should you need an extra kick.

  • 3
    Pot & Still Fig Gin

    When you have 12,000 fig trees at your disposal as part of a farm that dates back to 1840, you’re bound to come up with interesting ways to use them and their fruit. Delicious ways, too, as Pot & Still Fig Gin obviously has. Yep, the Adelaide Hills distillery’s course of action is right there in its name. Based at the Glen Ewin Estate, Pot & Still’s titular product came about as a canny method for using leftover syrup from Willa Wauchope’s Willabrand glace figs. Naturally, as it’s made from poached figs, its gin goes down rather nicely with a few figs as a snack — and, in your G&T, with some lime as a garnish.

  • 2
    Red Hen Gin

    Rundle Mall, including its eye-catching spherical sculptures. Central Market, with its array of different tasty bites to eat. Churches, churches and even more churches. They’re some of the Adelaide CBD’s main attractions — and nestled among them is Red Hen Gin. This spirit brand crafts its tipple of choice in small batches in a copper column still, flavours it with handpicked botanicals and favours London-style concoctions. It’s also particularly fond of local flora, with its signature product boasting notes of celery leaf, pepper berries and grains of paradise. Also, if you’re wondering about the name, it harks back to a family joke. That’s what Red Hen’s owners used to call the trains that they used to catch to school when they were younger.

  • 1
    Applewood Distillery

    Gin aficionados have heard the words ‘native botanicals’ plenty of times. They’re part of the gin lingo, after all. Ask the Applewood Distillery team how they view the term, though, and you’ll likely hear about the outfit’s commitment to sustainable ingredients that have adapted to South Australia over millennia — with the Gumeracha-based operation focused on crops that thrive with minimal water and agricultural intervention. As sourced from Indigenous farming communities, Applewood’s botanicals flavour its range of gins. If you’re only going to pick one, though, Coral Gin stands out. Its newest core product, it’s made with riberries, strawberry gum and karkalla, is inspired by the Great Barrier Reef, and part of all its sales are donated to preserving the natural wonder.


Support your favourite local distillery by voting in BWS’ Local Luvvas campaign


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