Ginuary 20th: gin-dressed oysters two ways @ Bangor Wine & Oyster Shed.

Fortune favoured me with today’s gin. First let me show you a lovely photo of it, then let me tell you a tale. I promise it’ll be brief. Brief-ish. What you’re looking at here is, as the title of the post will tell you, gin-dressed oysters two ways, with two kinds of gin, even, because Tessa at Bangor is that great.

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Clearly just an awful day.

See, I had a couple of gin-flavoured oyster dressings on my to-do list, but I’ve literally never had oysters in my kitchen before (despite eating a few in my time) so I’ll admit I was a bit nervous about the prospect.

Enter fortune in the form of a drive-by visit to the newly-opened Bangor Wine & Oyster Shed in Dunalley the other weekend (on the way to the gin workshop!). I’d finished my morning coffee by the time we got out of the car and so my brain was working enough to have a cunning plan, and a very decent excuse to visit the picturesque grounds of Bangor again.

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Even overcast days are ridiculously stunning.

I think my proposal was basically along the lines of, “How about YOU do it FOR me?”, so I must be a pretty smooth talker, because Tessa agreed willingly. I forwarded her the couple of recipes I’d tagged, for inspiration, and then she blew them out of the water with her own takes.

Firstly, a chilli and lime vinaigrette with McHenry Classic Dry Gin. The combination of flavours here was kind of exceptional, and the chilli kick didn’t hold back.

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Zings aplenty!

Secondly, a cucumber and grape granita with Hendrick’s. The granita had mostly melted by the time I got to photographing and devouring but the coolness was still present and it was an awesome dessert-y follow-up to the vinaigrette (though I’ll admit I kept jumping back and forth between the two).

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Sweet and fruity, great for the gin choice.

The oysters themselves were beautiful and fresh, as they come from literally down the road. Tasmanian seafood is above average at the best of times and at a lovely new business here you can expect everything to be on point, from the seafood to the bubbles to the scenery, both inside and out.

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Both lounging and dining, but don’t miss that deck.

Like I said, today was really just an excuse to visit again, to sit and enjoy the stunning views, the lovely tunes and the charming hospitality at Bangor. I’ll be back again, I just need another excuse.

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See you again soon, you stunner.

Ginuary 14th: Gin Pin @ TQ.

Yes, I woke up this morning with a slightly dry brain. But then I had a lovely day off work, including an expedition to line up a day for later this month, and then my first ever #NLNL event! How do you recover from an hour of dancing on your own in a dark room, do you ask? The answer, friends, as always, is simple: more gin.

Tasman Quartermasters (or TQ, as it’s affectionately known) is a little Hobart space that’s gone through a few imaginations in quick succession, but currently defines itself as a Locavore Bar & Diner. I will always define it as Stu’s Place.

A week ago, TQ put up a new drinks list, and it sang to me. Aperol? Nah. Dark rum? Nah. But the other three drinks? Gin, gin, and gin. The Gin Pin was added to the to-do list without hesitation, and there seemed no better time to cross it off that list than directly after a dance session.

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“Strawberry lemonade” was a very literal thing, with huge chunks of delicious muddled strawberries floating around in a sweet, tart and spicy mix. It was fresh, it was tasty, I was well pleased. My only challenge will be to not repeat this exact process next week! Oh, Ginuary. You can take such a toll on me.

Ginuary 10th: Bespoke Tasmania Gin Workshop @ McHenry Distillery.

Today I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Turns out I was just on Bespoke Tasmania’s Gin Workshop tour at McHenry Distillery. This is the first time I’ve added “gin event” to the category list, but it makes perfect sense to me for something like this to count as a different way to experience gin under the “gin a different way every day” banner. Especially when it looks like this.

The perfect day.

The perfect day.

But to track back to the start, the day began with a 9:15am pickup, and I piled into the back seat of Kim Dudson’s car for the drive from Hobart down to Port Arthur. This was really where the whole treat began, because while I love road trips down to the Tasman peninsula, I’m usually the driver. Being able to gaze out the windows while I drank my coffee was wonderful, because the views are spectacular no matter what the season or the weather. We had gloomy clouds and smatterings of rain on the morning trip out and I was spellbound.

But this blog isn’t about how much I love Tasmania, it’s about how much I love gin. Once the beautiful 1.5 hour drive was complete, we pulled up at Bill McHenry’s place and piled out of the car to begin our day in the bond store, next to the row of ten barrels of aging gin. We chatted about gin while drinking coffee, but once coffee was done we assumed tasting gin would be acceptable. It was twelve o’clock somewhere.

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Ginuary 5th: TCBC’s Gin, Tang & Spice.

Trust me to find a bottle with Batch #1 on it when it comes to gin. I spotted this with my eagle eye at the Taste festival the other day and grabbed it for safekeeping, but then birthday adventures got away with me today and I had to crack it open sooner than expected!

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The Tasmanian Chilli Beer Company have been around for a while but their alcoholic beverages are a new addition to the range. I was surprised and delighted to see a gin one, as it was unexpected! TCBC have teamed up with my pals at McHenry Distillery for this one, teaming it with their standard range Lime Sparkling and giving it a rename (and an adorable labelephant): Gin, Tang & Spice.

I wish I had another half dozen of these in the fridge to see me through summer. Or the next week, even. Yum!

Ginuary 4th: Gin Sour @ Frank.

After a very long day of work today I rolled up to dinner with a group of wonderful people and was momentarily distressed when I found my restaurant selection didn’t have any gin cocktails on their short menu. As soon as I mentioned that, I was quickly informed that the pisco sour could easily morph into a gin sour. Of course. I did a quick scan to make sure I hadn’t had gin that way before (well, not on the blog, at least) and to my great surprise, I was in luck.

How do I keep finding simple classic cocktails I haven’t ticked off yet? Have I missed any others? Please let me know!

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I likely don’t need to say that this was delicious, but I do need to make sure that I say the restaurant and all our food and the service was divine as well, and I want to steal all of Frank’s glassware.

A gin sour is basically just gin, lemon juice, egg white, sugar and soda—but it tastes like summer and good times and being happy. So, magic. So magic.

Ginuary 3rd: McHenry Sloe Royale @ the Taste of Tasmania.

The final day of the Taste festival and over to my other favourite locals, McHenry’s, for a range of options on the board! All of which I’ve had before, so the Sloe Royale it was. Which was just a delight, because I don’t yet have a sloe gin in the cupboard. Attempting to remedy that soon.

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McHenry Distillery have come a long way since I last visited their stall at the Taste. They’ve added another two gins to their stable—a navy strength and a barrel aged, both of which I was able to sample and both of which are delicious.

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Barrel aged, sloe, classic and navy strength!

 

These bubbles, though. Mmhmm.

I love that McHenry’s sloe berries are foraged from around the island. I love it, but sometimes it means getting your hands on a bottle of sloe is like mining for gold… I tried a few months ago (maybe even late last Ginuary) and it was completely unavailable.

It was definitely back in action today!

Now THIS is my kind of festival drink.

Now THIS is my kind of festival drink.

I don’t want to carry on too much about McHenry’s because I’ve got more exciting things to do with these guys later this month, so for now I’ll just leave you with this.

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Ginuary 2nd: the Retiring gin and grenadine @ the Taste of Tasmania.

A grand day at the Taste of Tasmania festival today! So grand that I almost forgot to blog it, oops. Let’s not start this too early.

I was last at the Taste (“Hobart’s waterfront celebration”, one of the biggest food festivals on the island) two years ago and today I returned with my sights set on two stalls in particular—one old favourite (keep your eyes peeled for later this month) and a new friend.

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I was delighted to find an option I hadn’t blogged before (I’ve blogged 94 days of Ginuary by now, I’ll have you know) and yes, it’s simple, but yes, it’s delicious. Even better, it’s Tasmanian made (I’m very Tassie-proud), and both the gin and grenadine are small batch artisanal joys made up in Wilmot (the north west of Tasmania, my absolute favourite corner of the state).

Bert took up distilling gin as a bit of a passion project, and for something to do once he retires from his day job in the near future… hence the wonderful name of his brand.

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He’s not one for having a singular focus, though… as well as the lovely London Dry-style gin he’s created, you’ll see there’s also a grenadine, some bitters, and a tonic syrup to boot—bad news for me was that by today he’d already sold out of that one. That’s ok though, Bert and I are gonna be good pals.

We had a great chat about his four pot distilling process, the botanicals he sources in person from all over the world (including a couple from his own backyard, of course), and his plans for the future. He even showed me the marvellous bag he has full of his distilled individual pot samples and a couple of sneak peek treats.

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There’s something kind of wonderful about talking to somebody else who’s as nuts about gin as you are—I think I properly experienced this for the first time a year ago when I met up with Aaron in NYC, and chatting with Bert today took me right back to that place. My happy place. Thanks, Ginuary. And thanks, Bert and Jo of the Retiring!

Ginuary 24th: Axl Rose Ice-Cream @ Sweet Envy.

Another Ginuary, another amazing ice-cream from Alistair at Sweet Envy.

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Axl Rose is a beautiful romance of gin and roses that I first tried back in December and begged for a repeat of in time for the best month of the year because I am crazy about it. Last year’s Gin Gin Cucumber was tasty and creamy, but Axl Rose brings delicious roses to the party. My friend described it as “licking a grandmother” which made me uncomfortable and I’m trying to forget that comment so I can go back and buy a whole litre of that delicious grandma. I mean ice-cream.

Ginuary 22nd: Apricot Gin Sour @ Ethos Eat Drink.

When people visit Hobart and want a delicious local food experience, I send them in the direction of this restaurant. They’ve recently added some super cool cocktails to their menu, which meant I couldn’t not stop by Ethos for a drink this month.

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This evening, Chloe and Alice treated me to a gin sour using a delicious poached apricot sugar syrup for a sassy twist to the classic recipe. All syrups are house made (and there are some exciting bitters on their way as well) in keeping with the crazy love that Ethos has for wonderful local ingredients (even the gin is a Tassie local). The apricot syrup smelled so good when I stuck my nose into the bottle, and the sweetness hung around noticeably once added to the rest of the ingredients in the sour.

The menu at Ethos is ever-changing, but this guy can currently be found on the drinks menu as a whiskey sour. I’m strongly advocating you ask for the whiskey to be replaced with gin, because I could quite comfortably drink another two or three of these. And may just do so when I head back to Ethos for dinner next week.

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Ginuary 18th: Master Cleanse @ MONA Market.

While I’m sad that the 21st Amendment stall isn’t back at the MONA market this year, I am glad that a cocktail stall continues to exist—this time run by MONA’s own cocktail wizard Adam (he’s usually found lurking in the Void bar).

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Today’s gin was in the form of a cleansing combination of West Winds gin, honey, turmeric, cayenne pepper… a master cleanse, but boozy. And served as only MONA could, in a sample container. But gosh, it was actually exactly what I needed for my first proper day out in the Aussie sun (I’ve been back home for a week but working and hiding inside every day). Fresh and sweet and almost able to trick me into feeling healthy? This is weird…

Here’s hoping we see some more crazy gin-based stuff happening at the MONA cocktails stall at the market this year (running every Saturday until mid-April), because I’ll most definitely be back.

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