14 April - by Lucy Rundle
Words by Lucy Rundle
When T. S. Eliot was asked from where he got his inspiration, he replied “Gin and drugs, dear lady, gin and drugs.”
This is quoted on recipe sheets for the Tasting Australia gin workshop, hosted by Jon Lark of Kangaroo Island Spirits at Adelaide’s East End Cellars.
The Saturday class was completely booked-out as gin devotees enjoyed having a rare opportunity to create their very own recipe for gin.
Vodka fans often show off by ordering a well-known, big name brand, such as Grey Goose, but gin aficionados prefer obscure, even secret, gin varieties in their drinks cabinets.
“It’s the same with craft breweries,” says Lark, director at KIS.
“The big names in beer are having to make craft versions to enter this growing artisanal, hand-crafted, market in Australia.”
Lark has been making gin for 12 years, using traditional methods, real botanicals and adding local plants to add flavours that make his gins distinctive and truly reflecting their origin.
The coastal daisy (aka olearia axillaris), previously believed to be rosemary due to its appearance, grows on Kangaroo Island and has a distinctive and wonderful aroma.
Lark puts it in his gin.
“The addition of this homegrown botanical gives our gin a local personality,” explains Lark.
“We use this, along with boobialla, which looks a bit like a juniper berry but has a different flavour, to make our gins unique to our Kangaroo Island territory”
Participants of the gin-blending workshop combine juniper, coriander and angelica root distillates with extracts of their choice, including cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, ginger and mint. Fruit flavour distillates are added too, the most popular being lemon myrtle and lime for a zingy, citrusy gin.
A neutral 42% alcohol spirit makes up the rest of the gin, which is specially bottled and sealed so the creators can take them home.
Kangaroo Island Spirits keeps a copy of everyone’s recipe, so they can order more bottles of their own, unique version.
If you didn’t make it to one of the workshops during Tasting Australia, don’t worry. You can book in advance for a session with the Kangaroo Island Spirits distillery at [email protected] (telephone +61 408 818 012).