Growing up amidst the sun-drenched orchards of Mildura, Victoria’s fruit bowl, Shane Reid always had a strong connection to the land and its amazing produce.
When he and childhood friends Rory Gration and Brad Parsons decided to set up a business together, they landed on their shared love of gin. Tired of drinking English gin, they turned to unique native botanicals to create a sustainable and distinctly Australian gin that they could feel good about drinking.
When we started the distillery back in 2015, the certified organic landscape was underwhelming. So, we decided to make a difference by making something we could truly be proud of. From our very first bottle we committed to having minimal impact on the environment by not using any GMOs or ingredients that have been exposed to pesticides, and to work alongside like-minded, ethically motivated suppliers and farmers that work in harmony with nature and our lands.
They are just so exciting. The flavours are amazing – so zesty and punchy, and can take you on a really cool journey through the Australian landscape. Plus, they mostly grow naturally in the bush, so what’s not to love? Foraged botanicals also fit well with our sustainable approach to gin making, and prove you don’t need to throw a load of chemicals onto something to make it grow. I think too the popularity of native botanicals is sort of an awakening for our country and is really shining a light on our First Nations people. It’s also created an income stream for those communities where botanicals thrive, areas that have been overlooked for years.
Antipodes Juniper3 at the moment, because it’s straight back to juniper. We’ve stretched it and pulled it and had lots of fun creating it. It’s strong with a great mouth feel and has some amazing local botanicals like Tasmanian pepperberry. And you can get a great experience with it neat or with your favourite mixer. I’m still very fond of our original gin too, because it’s all about citrus and where we came from, so there’s a bit of nostalgia.
It’s such a creative outlet. I grew up working in kitchens, so it’s fun to work with produce and be able to explore it in different ways. I love finding something wild-grown and thinking, ‘How can I take someone’s taste buds on a bit of a journey?’ Designing and launching a brand has also been a fabulous experience, especially one that encompasses a sustainable ethos.
I’m a bit of a Negroni man myself, and think it’s the best way to start a meal. I make a light summer version with equal parts Antipodes Pink Gin, Aperol and sweet vermouth. For pairing, a good idea is to incorporate juniper into your cooking, which will really compliment your drink. You could add juniper berries to a lamb dish, prepare a gin cured salmon or even make gin icing for taralli biscuits.
My first thought would be the late Sean Connery. I’d start with a Vesper Martini – shaken not stirred, of course. The late Count Camillo Negroni could pop in anytime too – he was thought to have inspired the Negroni cocktail in Florence in 1919, when he switched gin for soda water in an Americano ‘to give it a bit more of a kick’. We’d start with a Pink Gin Summer Negroni first I think – it’s certainly my go-to.