Some people are just born with a penchant for spirits. The Australian genius of a distiller behind Mr Black cold drip coffee liqueur has come up with a perfect gin — one he's calling 'garden grown' gin. It’s called Distillery Botanica and to be honest, drinking it feels like strolling merrily through a summer garden.
There’s a good reason for that. Philip Moore, the brains behind Distillery Botanica, sources all the botanicals from his very own garden in Erina on the Central Coast. To get the most out of the plants, he uses a one-thousand-year-old technique known as 'enfleurage'. It involves placing the flowers on a layer of coconut oil, into which their fragrance diffuses over two or three days, creating the purest possible perfume.
The heady scent hits you as soon as the glass reaches your hand. “The hero botanical is marraya,” says Will Miles, Distillery Botanica partner and brand director. “It looks a bit like jasmine, but it’s got slightly wider petals and grows on tall, lush hedges. All the flowers are handpicked at the distillery, in the garden, so the gin really has the essence of the place where it’s made.” In addition to murraya, there’s jasmine, honeysuckle, orange blossom, rose, chamomile, coriander, orris root, sage, angelica and juniper.
You can order a bottle of Distillery Botanica online. (The actual bottle, by the way, is one you’ll want to keep for aesthetics alone — five years went into its design). But if you're in Sydney and want to try a sample first, pop into Dead Ringer in Surry Hills (413 Bourke Street). If you’ve been there before, you’ll know it’s one of Sydney’s best new bars, operated by the legends from Bulletin Place. And mixologist Tim Phillips — who’s also co-owner and former World Class Bartender of the Year — has created an exclusive, Distillery Botanica-inspired cocktail.
“We all love the gin,” he said. “We tried it blindly, we tried it in a gin and tonic, we tried it in a martini, and we all loved it … It’s a pleasure to pump up the tyres of a domestic product, but only if it’s the equal — or preferably the better — of an international product, and that was definitely the case with this stuff.
“I wanted to come up with a cocktail that was quite perfume-y, quite aromatic, that reflects the pillars that Botanica are about. So, I’ve done a summer martini. The idea is to reverse the traditions of the martini, in the sense that, instead of having a very gin-heavy martini with a gesture of vermouth, having more of a vermouth martini. The seasoning of the drink is the gin, but there’s still enough that it’s able to stand up and pop and definitely get all the great stuff that is in the bottle.”
Phillips’s Garden Martini is made of La Quintinye vermouth, Distillery Botanica and a dash of Benedictine liqueur. In place of olives are three drops of herb and olive oil. As a finishing touch, he sprays the glass with a specially created Distillery Botanica perfume, transporting your senses to some far-off Eden.