Ginuary 23rd: Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin.

Bless gin distillers for playing with their craft, honestly. Bless them but also curse them, because despite my meagre earnings I am always keen to own every type of bottle. I feel particularly strong about this when it comes to Four Pillars gin, and I believe this is thanks to me being in their No_1 Club, as a supporter of their possible campaign when they first launched. Very clever ownership strategy there, gents. You got me. 

The Bloody Shiraz was a particularly weird and wonderful concoction that I couldn’t pass up; I believe it was offered up to No_1 Club members and distillery visitors only. I’m going to steal the origin story directly from the Four Pillars email because it’s great.

At vintage time [last] year Cam got his hands on 250kg of top class Yarra Valley Shiraz – for the purposes of this communication let’s just say he ‘borrowed’ it from a winemaking mate. Naturally enough we got to thinking of how we could turn it into gin… 

Our next challenge was what to call it. After all there is no ‘category’ for gin steeped in shiraz, so we had to come up with our own name. We used the winemaking method of ‘bleeding’ (the French call this ‘Saignee’), it was made with shiraz and it is uniquely, undoubtedly and proudly Australian. So Bloody Shiraz Gin it is. Because that’s what it is. 

In the simplest terms we took the unfermented, hand-picked and sorted shiraz grapes and plonked them on top of a stainless steel tank full of our Rare Dry Gin. We left the grapes in contact with the gin for eight weeks and then we simply drained the now blood red gin and bottled it up.

Nothing is added, so the only sugar is extracted directly from the grapes. The alcohol is lower than our regular gin but the natural sweetness is much, much higher. 

 

Appropriate glass, no?

 
I purchased my bottle of Bloody Shiraz back at the end of June last year, but held out until today to try it. Happy Ginuary to me!

I prefer soda over tonic and being that this weirdo hybrid is a little like sloe (or is it just my brain being tricked by the colour? I don’t think so, it’s a similar process), soda seemed a better choice anyway. I cracked open one of my bottles of Daylesford & Hepburn Mineral Springs Co sodas and threw in a big chunky slice of navel orange to garnish it. 

Still very much so gin, but naturally sweeter and oh, that colour! Slay me! I can’t wait to play with this some more, and then mourn it when it’s gone. Thanks for your wonderful ginnovative creations, Four Pillars.

Ginuary 20th: Piccadilly Circus.

I started my day at 4:45am in Melbourne when my alarm went off for me to get to the airport, and I ended my day at 10pm when I got home from work in Hobart. Suffice it to say, I am exhausted. I’m very grateful to my past self for hoarding away a delicious limited edition mixer. 

Piccadilly Circus

  • 30ml gin (I used Tanqueray)
  • Schweppes Orange Grapefruit & Bitters
  • squeeze of lime
  • slice of grapefruit
  • sprig of mint

Pour gin over ice. Top with Schweppes, finish with the lime squeeze and garnish with grapefruit and mint. 

  

This one’s a little confusing to me, if only because a fairly simple mixer recipe is set out like a cocktail. It really is just the gin and the mixer; the other things mostly make it pretty? It doesn’t matter, I’m too tired to argue and this mixer basically exists to be put with gin so I’m more than happy to do that. 

Ginuary 17th: Sipsmith & rose lemonade. 

I’m not hungover today, I’m just super tired. Days after weddings, man! I had a bottle of Fentiman’s rose lemonade in the fridge because I saw it in Perth for the first time ever and couldn’t help myself. “That would probably be delicious with gin,” I said to myself. Likely with Hendrick’s and its rose flavouring, but hey, I had Sipsmith. A little squeeze of lemon and away I went with great delight. The lemonade is beautiful, not very sweet and with just enough hint of rose. I was happy. 

Still cheersing.

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 7th: White Cargo.

Ok, so I’m easing back into some home bar stuff this year (after the rampaging success of the new year’s punch, that is) with something ridiculously simple. Look, it’s from the Savoy Cocktail book so hush up, it had to be ticked off the list sooner or later. And yet.

White Cargo

  • 1/2 gin
  • 1/2 vanilla ice-cream

 
No ice is necessary; just shake until thoroughly mixed, and add water or white wine if the concoction is too thick.

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I definitely didn’t need any white wine added to this, as what I quickly discovered (and really should have realised) is that gin shaken with vanilla ice-cream becomes a drink that is basically gin and vanilla flavoured milk. It definitely wasn’t the worst drink I’ve ever had, and I know some people who prefer to drink gin as a simple mixed with milk, but I’m not a huge fan of a big ol’ glass of milk so instead it was just a bit of a letdown, in the end.

But still, gin. And I’m glad I threw a couple of raspberries on top because I took great joy in dunking them in the melted ice-cream glass.

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 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 13th: Monkey 47, lime & soda.

Look, a good G & T is a true marvel. Even a bad G & T will get you through in a pinch. But there’s something I find absolutely titillating about a gin that will embrace a simple splash of soda water and a squeeze of fresh lime. Screw you, vodka—my limes and soda belong to gin, too.

Tonight I got my first taste of Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin (and not my last, as my darling friend left the rest of her precious bottle in my unworthy hands).

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I’m not lying to you when I say that this drink right here tasted vaguely like a melted lemonade icy pole. It was absolutely delicious and so perfectly simple and after my first day back at work in almost a month it was exactly what it needed to be.

I’ll admit that I’m surprised this combo hadn’t yet been crossed off the Ginuary to-do list, though—this isn’t the first gin I’ve enjoyed in this manner. See also Darnley’s View and Hendrick’s. Open to suggestions on others! Open to suggestions on just about anything, to be completely honest.

Ginuary 9th: Dorothy Parker & spicy tonic.

Repeat offending with this from Oceana, but I had to try their house-made tonic syrups. You choose from bitter, sweet, spicy, or citrus, and then you pair that with one of the many gin options from the shelves.

I wanted to go with citrus, but unfortunately Oceana were all out of three of their syrups so my only option was spicy. Seems to be a bit of a theme with me there now, two for two…

Paired it with NY Distilling’s Dorothy Parker gin and we lived happily ever after.

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Ginuary 6th: Hendrick’s, St-Germain and soda.

Because sometimes you spend your whole day running around Manhattan and end up in a cinema session that doesn’t finish until 11:30pm because it’s bloody Scorsese and then the cinema has turned off the elevators since you got a ride up to the fourth floor so you’re stuck on the fourth floor of a Manhattan cinema at 11:45pm wondering if it’s time to settle in for a sleepover and there’s really no time to look for a proper drink so you screech into the Scottish pub across the road from where you’re staying at 11:58pm and they don’t really have any cocktail menu at all apart from a lot of scotch but at least when they offer to make you the best rudimentary gin cocktail they can do they use Hendrick’s because Scottish. Ok, fine, whatever.

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(It’s so frustrating how often this exact scenario happens, am I right?)

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