Ginuary 3rd: Süd Polaire Frozen Negroni @ the Taste of Tasmania. 

Historically, the third of Ginuary is the day I celebrate at the Taste of Tasmania (3/5 years now, with exceptionally good excuses for the other two). The festival itself is getting a bit same-same for me—things don’t appear to change much year to year, the real challenge is in scanning the stalls for any new and appealing treats.

The main thing that’s kept the Taste exciting for me is watching the gin offerings expand each year, to be honest, because they have! The first year I went (2013), literally the only thing gin-flavoured inside was McHenry Distillery’s stall that wasn’t even touting itself as McHenry’s, but rather “the Spirit of the Tasman”, and gin certainly wasn’t the focus of that stall! It just happened to be there. These days McHenry’s stall is out on the beautiful lawn with a big lovely “Bathtub Gin” banner. This year I noticed that they had some boozy sorbets on offer there! But I was so busy, I missed trying them. A terrible error on my part. But that’s enough about McHenry Distillery, oops!

This post is to sing the praises of the 2016 festival’s saving grace, the Frozen Negroni.

 

FROZIE NEGROZIE

All hail!

 

I had been so underwhelmed (while expecting to be) by the festival on my first scan through (prior to Ginuary) that I completely missed this nugget. Bless one of my Instagram friends for mentioning it! On my next lunch break, I made a beeline for Domaine Simha’s stall and snaffled one with great joy. It was a hot day, too, so it was an absolute treat. A negroni-flavoured snow cone, if you will. And I will. I mean, I did. And I continued to each time I was near the festival grounds.

Today marks the finale of the Taste this year, but I very much look forward to finding out more about the brand new Tasmanian gin used in the frozen Negroni. I’ll be honest, when I first saw the bottle of Süd Polaire on the stall counter, I thought it was a bottle imported from Iceland or somewhere Scandinavian. But no. Of course, as it was at Domaine Simha’s stall, the logical explanation is that they’ve branched out from luxe wines to include a luxe gin!

Süd Polaire is handcrafted from a triple-distilled wine (no surprise) spirit. Individually vapour infused with ten different botanicals, some of which are top secret but of course Tasmanian pepperberry is on the list. It’s billed as an “Antarctic Dry Gin”, so I’m yet to find out if they’ve just cheekily renamed a London Dry style, or if it’s more New Wave. Though with a wine base, would it instead have a comparison with Gin Xoriguer? Having said that, Süd Polaire uses a wine spirit base (tell me more!).

Like I said, I’m very much looking forward to spending a little more time getting acquainted with Tasmania’s newest gin (this title doesn’t last long these days, to my utter delight).