We’re in a spirited mood – and for once it’s not from eating an entire plate of cupcakes but from sampling a few boutique spirits from our very own land down under. From refreshing botanical gins to smooth spiced rums that taste a lot like we’re not going to work tomorrow, there’s nothing that our nations talented distillers can’t conjure up. So to save you the hangovers, we’ve road tested a few of the countries best small batch spirits and come up with a list of the very best boutique brands you absolutely must add to your liquor cabinet.
While naming a spirit after the region of the brain that stores memory may seem a little ironic, Hippocampus’ lusciously botanical gin is a spirit we won’t forget in a hurry. Made right in the heart of Perth using old school methods, their organic vodka is so smooth you’ll down 3 glasses of it before you even realise you’ve opened the bottle. Their gin is just as nubile, with subtle botanical flavours so pure you won’t even want to add tonic. Plus, as we discovered the morning after our little tasting session, no tonic leads to fewer hangovers. Ironic, right?
Grab your pitchforks and banjos kids, ‘cos thanks to the team at Melbourne Moonshine Company the hill billy lifestyle has never been this chic. This Melbourne distillery has struck white gold with their signature range of hand crafted, boutique moonshine. Produced under the watchful gaze of the mysterious duo, Mr. A and Mr. B, every batch is malted, distilled and lovingly bottled on site before being shipped off to their limited stockists (in a horse drawn carriage by midnight as the legend goes).
If you haven’t heard of this boutique gin distillery by now, you’ve clearly been drinking too much. But don’t see the error of your ways and stop drinking altogether, just switch from whatever house pour you’ve been sipping to Four Pillars small batch gins. There’s a flavour for everyone, from their spiced negroni gin to the sweet shiraz gin. They even use the oranges that wind up in the bottom of their stills to make marmalade – so basically they’ll take care of the drinks AND the post-hangover feed.
Stop it Adelaide, just stop it. Your effortlessly cool attitude and impossibly hip population already makes the rest of us look bad, and then you go and start making tipples like these? This passionate distillery tucked away in the Adelaide Hills has been producing some of the world’s finest boutique spirits for two years. We’re big fans of their entire line up, from their way too easy to drink gin to their Australian native spiced rum, but it’s The Italian that really makes us sing (literally – we get the strangest urge to hit karaoke after a glass), with bitter orange flavours perfect for an Italian spritz.
Not quite a gin, not quite a vodka, the ambiguously named Spirit of a Nation is a new breed of botanical spirit that is as refreshing as a skinny dip in the middle of winter. With robust notes of lemon myrtle, Tasmanian pepperberries and an invigorating hint of mandarin, this little number is the perfect addition to any summery cocktail, but take it from us, poured straight over ice with just a touch of lemon is all you need to go from Waltzing Matilda to Staggering Matilda.
Enjoy a good espresso martini? Then you’ll love this bottle of liquid happiness. A morning coffee for when your morning starts at midnight, Mr. Black is a cold press coffee liqueur painstakingly crafted with real boutique coffee. Finally, a boozy sip that matches our utter obsession with the black gold, and would make even the biggest coffee snob pay attention. Drink it over ice or transform any spirit into an eye-opening sip.
Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Drink, drink, drink!
Words by Rachel Murphy