*faints with excitement*
Popular distiller and local identity Ben Osborne is back in town, and he’s brought with him an exciting new product – just in time for Christmas.
Ben is well-known as the owner and operator of the cleverly-named Local Spirit, running winery and distillery tours throughout the region.
He earned his stripes working behind cocktail bars and as a brand representative in and around Canberra, before travelling to Tasmania to train as a distiller, and expanding his networks throughout Australia (basing himself for some time in Melbourne) as well as the US.
Plans to work with leading bourbon distillers in the States hit a snag. At the time, Ben was not yet 21 years of age and despite having plenty of experience under his belt, wasn’t old enough to serve or consume alcohol under American licensing laws.
Now 22, he’s still believed to be the youngest distiller and owner in Australia.
Ben’s currently focused on achieving his next big dream, which is to open up his own distillery right here in Canberra; but until then, he’s been working with other local brands to launch his first original product.
And it’s a sparkling, tropical, colour-changing Unicorn Vodka – the perfect drink for summer.
“I’ve created it using a method that a lot of breweries use to get started, and that’s known as ‘gypsy’ distilling, which basically means you’re renting out another distillery to produce your spirits,” said Ben.
“So I used the gypsy distilling approach to produce my base vodka and create Unicorn Vodka. As my first product, I wanted it to be marketable as possible and unique.
“It took a fair bit of research and experimentation, which my family and friends had quite a lot of fun helping out with, tasting countless combinations,” he said.
Adding lemon or lime juice to your cocktail will set off an awesome colour change display, as the drink changes before your eyes – from blue to purple and right through to pink.
“The spirit is infused with organic Butterfly Pea Flower, which gives it its vibrant blue colour,” said Ben.
“The colour is a natural PH indicator, interacting and changing colours depending on what you mix it with.”
“I’ve designed it to particularly suit a classic and simple Vodka Lime and Soda, the soda balancing the sweetness out nicely and turning your drink bright pink!
“Just between us, it will also turn a cheap dry prosecco into something a lot more fun, with just a shot of Unicorn magic in there,” said Ben.
The drink is actually a tropical liqueur, blended with all-natural passionfruit, mango and pineapple flavours that open up a whole world of recipe possibilities.
The glittery sparkling effect comes from an added ingredient that Ben would only describe as ‘magical fairy dust, directly traded from Tinkerbell in Never Never Land’ (but which he assures us is perfectly safe for human consumption).
Shake the bottle, and “it looks like you have a whole galaxy trapped inside,” said Ben.
Sadly, it won’t make you fly, though after a few of those magical colour-changing cocktails, you might not want to go anywhere else anyway.
“I chose the unicorn theme because of the connection people have with unicorns and their symbolism,” said Ben.
“The customers I’ve met and spoken to have included, for example, the most empowered LGBTIQ people, who are loud and proud about what makes them who they are.
“But the majority of purchases are a special gift for the ‘unicorn’ in someone’s life, that one rare and special person who leaves a lasting impression and makes a difference by bringing joy to those around them,” he said.
Or you can treat yourself to your own bottle of pure magic. Cheers to that!
“It’s crazy that this all started from an idea in November 2017, and has already come so far. I’ve just purchased a small warehouse near Fyshwick and am beginning the never-ending paperwork to establish my own distillery, which I hope will be open just after Christmas,” said Ben.
The first release of Unicorn Vodka is sold out but you can pre-order the next batch by visiting www.unicornspirits.com.au.
Bring on the festivities!