The Canberra Region produces world-class boutique gin and to get the lowdown on which to try first, Region Media spoke to local expert Phillip A Jones, otherwise known as ‘The Martini Whisperer’.
Over the years, Phillip has carved out a niche as one of Australia’s leading craft spirit educators and advocates. Since 2012, he has been writing about, reviewing and judging craft spirits, and presenting craft spirits and cocktail experiences for private and corporate clients.
And he’s a very big advocate of the burgeoning local industry.
“It’s a really exciting moment for the Canberra Region gin industry. It reflects the sophistication of the city and the inspiration of our natural surroundings. The styles of gin from each maker are very distinctive, and we also link into our region with innovative distillers in the alps like Wildbrumby or the North of Eden gins on the south coast, and new entrants like Hold Fast Distillery which is made out at Captains Flat,” he said.
“There are over 300 gin makers in Australia now, I keep a directory on my website and that is growing every week, but the quality that comes out of our local makers is up there with the best.”
To start your local gin collection, The Martini Whisperer recommends:
Antipodes Gin is Australia’s first certified organic gin. It is very smooth, soft and rounded. It’s very versatile and approachable – perfect for a gin and tonic.
I recommend Big River Canberra Dry Gin a lot as it is so drinkable! Really soft on the palate with good complexity, lovely in a martini, and you can visit their distillery at Dairy Flat Road in Fyshwick.
I like their refined style, their collaboration with the Australian National Botanic Gardens for their 50th Anniversary Ad Crescendum Native Gin is a real achievement, very complex using botanicals from the Gardens. It’s perfect for sipping on ice.
The first gin to come out of Canberra. This gin by Canberra Distillery is nice, bold and spicy. I like this in a Negroni.
To keep in the know, The Martini Whisperer hosts regular online live events on his website, Facebook page, and Instagram page where he shares pro-tips and insights into craft spirits and, of course, shows you how to mix up the ultimate Martini.