There’s a good reason why Cape Byron Distillery’s Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin won a Gold medal at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirit Competition. It’s simply delicious!
It all started at Cape Byron Distillery back in 2016. A Pozible fund raising campaign was started to launch the project by distiller and co-founder Eddie Brook. Eddie is the son of Pam and Martin Brook, founder of leading macadamia and muesli product maker Brookfarm.
Nestled in verdant hills at the back of Byron Bay, the distillery overlooks bushland which supplies 18 of the 26 essential flavour ingredients for their distinctive gin. I’m talking Davidson Plums, finger limes, ginger, native raspberries, aniseed, cinnamon, myrtle and the fruit from lilly pilly trees which are known as riberries. Only eight ingredients are sourced off the property, but still in the local area.
Gin botanicals tour
The distillery is not only surrounded by sub-tropical rainforest that has been regenerated over the past 30 years, but also by the macadamia plantations. These supply nuts for the Brookfarm range of muesli and health food products. The macadamias also find their way into the gin lending a distinctive and pleasant, buttery mouth feel.
Taking a tour through the rainforest to see the plants that supplies the flavours for the Cape Byron Distillery, is a special experience. It starts at the cellar door with a refreshing Brookie’s Gin cocktail. Then there’s the story of the distillers, the family, the farm and the art of distillation.
Martin Brook led my group of Le Cordon Bleu Master of Gastronomic Tourism Residential students on the rainforest tour. We walked down the steps along a gravel trail which snaked down to the forest floor and a creek swollen by recent rain. As we tramped on the path that leading deep into a forest, Martin identified different trees and explained their uses with the enthusiasm of someone who loves what he does.
Le Cordon Bleu residential
Walking through the rainforest we worked up a thirst and there was no better way to fix that than with a gin tasting. This was followed by a relax on the verandah overlooking farm to watch the birds and enjoy the view.
The distillery visit was just one of the day’s activities on the Le Cordon Bleu Master of Gastronomic Tourism Course Residential. Students visited restaurants and cafes, experienced wine tastings and whisky matchings, and dined at selected restaurants in the Gold Coast and Northern New South Wales.
The Residential is an annual event providing an opportunity for students to come together and experience a unique gastronomic destination, this time the NSW Northern Rivers Region. Students have the opportunity to meet and get to know fellow course participants. They also explore contemporary food trends and consolidate their understanding of gastronomic tourism.
Gin distillery tours every weekend
Cape Byron Distillery tours are now open to the public with tours every Friday and Saturday via bookings through Eventbrite on the Cape Byron Distillery website.
Where is Cape Byron Distillery?
You’ll find Cape Byron Distillery at 80 St Helena Rd, Mcleods Shoot, a 10-minute drive from Byron Bay or Bangalow.
The tour costs $35 per person and includes a gin tasting. You can purchase a bottle of gin direct from the distillery. Brookie’s Dry Gin 700ml costs $75 and the Brookie’s Byron Slow Gin 700ml. a version marinated with Davidson Plums, costs $65.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK toured the distillery as a guest of Le Cordon Bleu Master of Gastronomic Tourism.