Wonderfully versatile, gin is a favourite with bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts the world over, but it was the range and flexibility of Australian gins that wowed judges at this year’s Best Of Awards. “The Australian gin category really shone,” adds judge Holly Klintworth, director and distiller of Bass & Flinders, “with beautiful representations of just how incredible locally made gin can be both in flavour profile and in quality.”
While native botanicals give the best Australian gins a distinct sense of place, local distillers are not the only ones seeking inspiration from their own backyard. Looking to the east, unique oriental flavours are also being harnessed, and Japanese craft gins are a force to be reckoned with. Here’s a round-up of the best gins for 2023.
Taking out the top award for Australian Gin, Patient Wolf Melbourne Dry Gin delivers a new world twist on traditional gin with botanicals like ruby red grapefruit, native aniseed myrtle and cubeb pepper. “A prominent citrus heart with a great juniper backbone, and notes of anise on the finish. At first approach it seems like a London Dry but with just something more,” remarks judge Matthew Linklater. Bright, and aromatic, this smooth craft gin matches well with a premium tonic garnished with rosemary and Ruby Red grapefruit, but will also be right at home in a martini or Negroni.
Finalist – Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin
“This year’s contenders celebrated native Australian botanicals at their finest, for the most part complementing rather than dominating juniper,” says judge Holly Klintworth. A bold and fragrant finalist, Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin showcases native sunrise lime, geraldton waxflower and dorrigo pepper leaf. Try with soda, a light tonic or a citrussy cocktail like a gimlet.
Translating as six, Roku Gin refers to the number of distinctive Japanese botanicals – including yuzu peel, sakura flower and sancho pepper – that meet traditional gin botanicals in this complex but harmonious gin. “A beautiful example of a delicate gin, subtle green tea notes and citrus with a mild peppery finish,” comments judge James Fairlie from Four Pillars. “An intriguing gin, perfect for a gin and tonic but best suited for a martini,” adds judge Matthew Linklater. Muddle 1 part Roku with 3 slices of pear, add 1 part sweet vermouth, stir for 30 seconds and garnish with a lemon twist.
Infused with cucumber and rose, this unique Scottish gin is a class act and blends beautifully with Fever-Tree light tonic. It’s famously served with cucumber garnish, but try adding fresh strawberries to your Hendricks for a summery touch.
Dense raspberry notes mingle with juniper, citrus spice and pepper in this vibrant well-balanced gin infused with Yarra Valley shiraz grapes. “Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz maintains its well-deserved place as category leader, having led the charge in wine-based gins,” says judge Holly Klintworth. For something a little different, mix with lime juice and ginger beer for a Bloody Floradora.
Finalist: Malfy Gin Rosa
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