Australia’s booming craft distilling industry is great news for gin lovers as the surging demand for locally made spirits spurs distillers to come up with creative blends.
I don’t know how many different artisan gins you have in your cupboard, but as a gin lover, I am afraid to count mine! It’s a long way from the days when gin was made as a medicine for gout and indigestion but became so heavily consumed it was widely known as Mother’s ruin.
From master distillers, Scott Wilson-Browne and Chris Pratt (sadly not the American actor Chris Pratt from Parks and Recreation) comes Larrikin Gin imbued with the heart of Ballarat and Aussie larrikinism in every drop.
Eat, drink + be Kerry asked master Larrikin Gin distiller Chris Pratt what makes gin his favourite tipple.
Why did you decide to make gin?
Because it is such an exciting and interesting spirit to distil. Although juniper should be the predominant flavour, gin opens up a world of experimentation with different botanicals – reflected by the range of different gins on the market, especially some wonderful gins with Australian botanicals. It is a very rewarding spirit to distil and it’s a go with anything, any mood, any moment a good time drink
Which is your favourite Larrikin gin variety and how do you like to drink it?
Well, it might depend on the day of the week and the mood. At the moment I am thinking the Buccaneer. Navy strength at 57 per cent it might be, but it is wonderfully smooth on the front palate. Indeed can be sipped gently over ice but also a great one for mixers and cocktails. Worth trying as a gin and sonic (half soda, half tonic) with a generous slice of lime, but it is also good in a white lady with lemon juice and Cointreau.
If you couldn’t drink Larrikin gin, which gin would you choose and why?
Ahh, so many good gins to choose from! It’s an individual thing. There are plenty of great Australian gins that I could choose but harking back to my homeland, I have a soft spot for NB gin (from North Berwick). A high-quality London Dry style produced with a relatively small but select range of botanicals that result in a gin to savour. I also like to think I can pull out the wonderful seaside air when drinking it that reminds me of my childhood holidays there, but I am sure that part is all in the imagination. With a world of good gins out there, everyone has an opportunity to choose one that brings a good memory along with it. Explore!
Personally, I like my gin on ice with a touch of something. Which Larrikin gin works best on ice?
For real gin lovers, our Scoundrel works well on ice with a generous slice of citrus of choice. For those who want something a little less challenging to drink over ice, our barrel-aged gin is extremely popular. Aged, albeit for short time of a few months in a barrel that has previously held both bourbon and whisky, it is wonderfully mellow and gentle on the palate. You can’t go past this with a bit of ice and slice of orange.
Should I add cucumber, thyme or something else?
I always tell people that the best way to drink gin is the way you like it most. So yes, it is a versatile spirit. Some gins may be complemented more by certain garnishes than others, but hey there are no rules! Well, there is one perhaps, that is you should enjoy it.
I met someone recently who loved placing a cocktail pickled onion in his gin. He was waxing so lyrical about the taste of it in the gin and sucking it when finished that he was making my mouth water and I am not a big fan of pickled onions.
Where can people purchase Larrikin Gin?
We have it available online through our own cellar door and it is also available through other online stores such as Oak Barrel in Sydney, Nicks in Victoria and Copper and Oak in Western Australia. We also focus on supporting small independent bottle shops where we have many outlets.
Larrikin make four varieties of appreciation – Original Larrikin, Scoundrel, Buccaneer and Barrel-Aged Batch #3.
Would you like to try another Australian gin? Take a look at Cape Byron Distillery.
This Brisbane bar dedicated to gin, is sure to please gin lovers.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK has tried each of the Larrikin gin varieties and prefers the Original Larrikin just with ice but also likes a Scoundrel London Dry with a good tonic water.