15 April - Lisa Cockington
There’s more to making gin than meets the eye, as Kangaroo Island Spirits explains at Tasting Australia. Blending Your Own Gin is one of East End Cellars Masterclasses - many which are already sold out, signalling the event has created something that’s piquing everyone’s interest.
Kangaroo Island Spirits (known as KIS) has been making its own gin since 2006. Sarah and John Lark moved to Kangaroo Island to produce the liquor and fulfil a vision, and in Sarah’s words, “since then, the distillery business has gone crazy”. Sarah begins the workshop with an entertaining description of how the business has evolved, weaving facts with personal stories.
Within 10 minutes, the practicalities of blending gin are being discussed, and participants are presented with beakers, distillate, pipettes and a vitally important recipe recording sheet.
John and Sarah provide guidance on how they vary their blends and make the gins unique by adding less often used botanicals. Then the gin makers embark on a fun experiment of adding elements, tasting, adjusting, tasting … and maybe some more tasting, just to be sure. Once the final blend is achieved, a 250ml bottle is produced to take home, and the participants sit back and enjoy the fruits of their labour.
Reflecting on the success of the classes, Sarah and John agree that participants learn most about the deconstruction of gin ingredients. This builds their understanding of the flavours and identifies what elements will produce a gin they like best.
John also promotes experimenting beyond the traditional G&T served with lime. He says cinnamon, anise, coriander and apple are just a few of the different flavours that can be added to produce spectacular drinks.