World Gin Day June 13th
Are you a gin lover? If so, grab a gin, then read on as I've teamed up with That Spirited Lot to talk all things GIN ahead of World Gin Day this Saturday June 13th. I'm pretty new to the gin scene and definitely have a lot to learn about this lovely spirit that has found a place in my heart!
It so happens that across the road from my workplace is a rad coffee shop that is also an even radder gin distillery. And that coffee shop/distillery happens to be fronted by some of the loveliest peoples ever. That Spirited Lot is made up of brothers Jon-Paul (JP) and Chris (Krill) Willigenburg and their sister-in-law Kate Barton. After separate careers in IT, wine and fashion, That Spirited Lot is the product of a lifelong dream to work together. Established in 2018, they are proudly and stubbornly independent and can found on Hartnett Drive, Seaford (my lifelong dream is they'll offer me a job as their CTT, Chief Taste Tester, one day!). Expect to see them produce a mix of old classics and some experimental new age distillates!
Now if like me you don't know a heap about gin, these next few paragraphs will help boost your knowledge and make you sound like you do know stuff next time you're chatting gin to your friends ;-) The following words are by Kate;
Gin is a distilled spirit flavoured with a combination of botanicals, spices, herbs or fruits, with the predominant flavour being from Juniper Berries, giving the spirit a 'pine' flavour. Juniper berries are grown mainly in Europe so we import them however all our other ingredients are sourced locally. We distil our own base spirit (ethanol) from wine collected from our local wine regions of the Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley.
Gin can be distilled in a few different methods, however we specialise in 'Single Shot Pot' distilled gins which are very oily, viscous and full bodied. This method allows us to create complex flavours using an array of botanicals and citrus peels. They are designed to be drunk neat, with soda or enjoyed as a Martini.
We also distil another style of gin, a 'column' distilled London Dry style gin using the column on our still, producing a spirit that is lighter on the palate, a dry flavour with highlights of citrus and is designed to drink as your fave G&T.
The botanicals are placed in different areas of the still to achive varying levels of flavour in the gin. A distilling day can be somewhere between 12-15 hours for ONE batch of gin! Producing gin is almost like cooking, finding the balance between ingredients to create a new flavour.
That Spirited Lot currently have a range of 4 gins and the lovely Kate is going to take us through each one, from the story behind it, to how to drink it and what to eat with it! ie.all the important stuff!
Ninch Dry Gin
Story: Proudly distilled by brother JP & Chris Willigenburg, our flagship Ninch Dry Gin is inspired by our youth growing up on the Mornington Peninsula, or "Ninch" and travels around the globe. Ninch Dry Gin is traditionally pot distilled from Australian grape spirit and crafted to hold itself up to the complex modern palate and varied serving preferences. Our botanical selection features the usual suspects such as juniper, coriander and angelica with a bunch of new age twists with our distillation methods ensuring maximum extraction of botanical oils which enhance the bouquet, flavour, mouth feel and length of palate. We really hope you enjoy this luscious little number as much as we 'and our folks' do.
Tasting notes: Dense and creamy opening aromas of dried grass and cheesecake followed by earthy juniper, dried pine needles and lemon peel. Creamy relaxed mouth feel with juniper in spades, nicely balanced in a sustained, vibrant, tangy finish. Late hints of lemonade gelato through the aftertaste.
Garnish: Pink Grapefruit & sage
Serve: neat or with soda
Food pairing: believe it or not, we love to recommend our Ninch Dry Gin paired with crispy salt Kettle baked chips, cornichons & pickled onions!!!
Hawker Market Gin
Story: Welcome to the markets of the Mekong Delta. That Spirited Lot's Hawker Market Gin is inspired by co-founders JP and Chris' love of vibrant South East Asian market culture. This contempory gin is driven by juniper and paired with the freshness and zing of coriander seed, kaffir lime, ginger, lemongrass and toasted coconut. One shot pot distilled to maximise flavour extraction and mouth feel, this small batch spirit is reminiscent of a fragrant green curry.
Tasting notes: Vaguely herbal, conjuring aromas of pine needles, coriander seed and crushed curry leaves, less the heat. The Asian spice theme continues on the palate with suggestions of Thia green curry backed up by juniper, Vietnamese mint and citrus. Lingering spices through the finish.
Garnish: Fresh lime and mint
Serve: neat or with ginger ale
Food pairing: this number is best sipped on with some South East Asian delights such as wontons or spring rolls, followed by a main course of Thai Green Curry and Rice.
That House Pour
Story: That Spirited Lot Distillers brings to you 'That House Pour Gin', a classic all-rounder for traditional gin lovers that has been designed to mix with good old tomic or in your best cocktail. This gin is column distilled just like your favourite London Dry. It allows us to produce a smooth, crisp gin with an aromatic botanical nose. Light in texture and more delicate on the palette than our pot distilled gins, this versatile little number is perfect paired with tonic, soda, mixers or cocktails.
Tasting notes: Column distilled from a grape base. Very lifted with peppery warmth, pine shoots, lemon peel and hints of coriander. A soft, well-rounded, citrus-forward style developing creamy juniper towards the finish. ends gingery, lemony and medium long. Solid mixer with appealing freshness.
Garnish: Lemon or Orange
Serve: with tonic
Food pairing: your classic G&T is the perfect accompaniment to a Charcuterie board of local cheese, olives, cured meats and dried fruits.
Island Flower Gin
Story: A leisurely bicycle ride down the streets of a small town in Kyushu, the smell of frgrant flowers filling the air. That Spirited Lot's Island Flower Gin is inspired by co-founder Kate's travels to southern Japan and Okinawa Islands. The gentle pink colour of the spirit is achieved by maceration of hibiscus flowers post distillation. Hibiscus is a symbol of the Okinawa Islands blooming all year round.
Tasting notes: this one shot pot distilled gin is crafted from Australian grape spirit, with base notes of juniper and coriander, accented with the sweetness of dried apples, fig, date, hibiscus flower and highlights of zingy lemon. Take a sip and think bubble gum.
Garnish: fresh lemon slice
Serve: neat or with soda
Food pairing: this is best sipped alongside an afternoon tea of a Cinnamon Apple scroll, Turkish Delight or a zingy Lemon Tart.
In non-COVID times, That Spirited Lot are open to visit most days of the week and have fun tasting and learning sessions. Right now though, they are open 11am-2pm every Saturday for takeaway bottle sales and their coffee shop 'Ghost of Bussy' is open at the same time for takeaway coffee and jaffles. I highly recommend booking in to do a tasting with some friends, you learn heaps (and will hopefully retain more than I did!).
Otherwise, you can buy online and get free delivery locally or find them on the shelves at some awesome bottle shops throughout the Mornington Peninsula, Bayside, south East 'burbs, Melbourne and surrounds.
Check stockists on this little map :-)
I hope this post helps you celebrate World Gin Day on Saturday in the bestest possible style. And if you celebrate with That Spirited Lot, please tag me in a pic so I can see xxxx