Along with the craft beer revolution, spirits distilleries are on the rise in Australia and here’s our pick of some of the best.
Four Pillars Gin
Four Pillars Rare Dry has twice been awarded a double gold medal at the prestigious World Spirits Championship — a mighty achievement for a Victorian distillery that was founded less than four years ago. Based in Healesville, an hour east of Melbourne, Four Pillars remains remarkably affordable given the accolades — you can pick up a bottle of the Rare Dry for just $73 at the major bottle shops.
Vodka, gin, whisky — take your pick from Sydney’s first commercial distillery in more than 160 years. Government legislation prevented distilleries from making spirits in the Harbour City between 1853 and 2015, when Archie Rose opened in Rosebery, using the finest copper equipment shipped in from Scandinavia to produce handcrafted spirits you can enjoy in their stylish on-site bar.
Mr Black Coffee Liqueur
Sure, you could buy a bottle of Kahlua, but this is the coffee liqueur for consumers who are happy to pay a little extra for quality. Retailing for $60 a bottle and distilled in Erina on the NSW Central Coast, Mr Black uses single-origin coffee beans from Ethiopia, Brazil and Papua New Guinea in a slow-drip process that produces a sweet flavour that’s perfect for cocktails.
Sullivans Cove Whisky
Single-cask French Oak whisky took out the top gong at the 2014 World Spirits Championship, named the best single-malt on the face of the earth. Double distilled using Tasmanian barley, each hand-selected cask only produces 450 bottles and demand went through the roof after winning that award, so these rare bottles set you back at least $450. Headlines the boom in Tasmanian distilling — Belgrove, Lark, McHenry and Redlands Distilleries are also doing good work.
Small Mouth Vodka
While dozens of gins and whiskies fill the craft Australian spirits market, vodkas are less common — but Small Mouth is the pick of the bunch. Produced in NSW using organic wheat and rainwater, the vodka is nine-times distilled in copper pot stills and charcoal filtered three times, free of additives and preservatives. Already a favourite of Sydney’s small bars, Small Mouth features the notes of vanilla and leaves a smooth, citrusy finish.