If you live in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast and grow flowers in your garden, you can lay claim to an award-winning gin. The star botanical in Wild Flower Gin Distillery’s Signature Gin is the honey that founder James Greig produces in his Burleigh backyard as a hobbyist beekeeper. “The idea is that everyone in our community gets to contribute to our honey with the flowers in their backyards,” James explains. “In spring, we give away wildflower seed packets with our gins so that people can plant flowers and help us in the environment as we make our gin. That’s why the byline for our product is ‘The spirit of Burleigh in a bottle’.”
Honey from James’s urban bees tastes distinctly different to the rural, tree-based honeys we’re used to. “The main reason for that is because there are a lot of flowers in everyone’s backyards and as a result, the flavours are very different to farm honey,” James says. “City honey has a very light floral flavour.” The honey is added to a botanical blend that includes juniper, cassia, cardamom, lemon peel, coriander and angelica root to create a sophisticated gin that shines over ice or mixed into a cocktail. “It’s a very light floral flavour,” says James. “Nothing’s overwhelming, but it’s something you can notice in the flavour profile.”
James and his team went through 76 iterations of their gin recipe to perfect the final product, but their timing was less perfect: the Wild Flower cellar door opened a week before the first COVID lockdowns hit. “Our first product was actually hand sanitiser,” James says. “But, for us, that was super positive … straightaway, we went from no one knowing about us to everyone knowing that we existed. And when we were finally able to launch our gin, it just went off.”
Wild Flower Signature Gin has now won gold twice at the Australian Gin Awards – an especially gratifying achievement for James, whose background is in tech. Whether they’re making gin, whisky or vodka, James says the Wild Flower philosophy is to be as creative as possible. The distillery’s range includes a pink gin, a navy strength version, small-batch whiskies and an indulgent Lamington Vodka – winner of the Flavoured Vodka category in our 2023 Best Of Awards – that was created to honour Australia Day. “It’s infused with a combination of coconut, cocoa and strawberry and it smells exactly like a lamington, which is lovely,” James shares. “It’s a good vodka to have straight on ice, and it makes a mean Espresso Martini.”
Wild Flower Gin Distillery’s slick cellar door in the bustling suburb of Varsity Lakes, just behind Burleigh Heads, turns into a moody cocktail bar from Friday to Sunday. Decked out with leather sofas, vintage decanters and pressed metal detailing, it’s the kind of character-filled hideaway that begs for a Gin Martini. You can also book in for a gin-making class on weekends. Participants pass through a secret hidden door to the cosy distillery space where they craft a personalised gin using copper alembic pot stills and their choice of botanicals. “It’s a really fun experience,” James says.
Products featured are available from 06/09/23 to 10/10/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.