Chamomile gin, quinoa vodka and moonshine are among the spirits now available for tasting just outside of Melbourne in Healesville, following the opening of brand new distillery Alchemy. The business has taken over a century-old bakery, which you'll find hidden away up a laneway, off the main street. And not only is there a cellar door, there's a cocktail bar and accommodation too.
At the centre of Alchemy's operations is a hybrid pot still with a 100-litre capacity. This mighty machine enables founders Evan Kipping and Jannick Zester to experiment with a variety of left-of-field flavours and ideas. While the aforementioned chamomile gin, quinoa vodka and moonshine are Alchemy's core products, there's also a bunch of small-batch spirits on the go at all times.
"Sinking our teeth into making multiple spirits has allowed us to collaborate with local producers," says Zester. "We've been overwhelmed with support and are currently playing with local strawberries, cumquats and grapes from the Yarra Valley."
You're invited to taste Alchemy's offerings and/or settle in for a signature cocktail, craft beer or local wine — either indoors, at the bar, or out in the sunny beer garden splashed with greenery. If you want or need to sleep over, there's a two-bedroom apartment overlooking the main street that'll sort you out.
To get more deeply involved, join Alchemy's barrel-ageing program. The crew is giving 100 people the opportunity to own their own 20-litre barrel. You'll start by going through the whiskey-making process, including mashing, distillation and fermentation, then, throughout maturation, make return visits to sample your creation. Two years down the track, choose to release the whiskey, stick with it as it continues to age or pop it in a bottle and take it home.
Alchemy Distillers is now open at 242 Maroondah Highway, Healesville. For more info or to book a room, visit alchemydistillers.com.