Sip your way around the state and discover some of the best gin Australia has to offer.
In South Australia, gin is the new black. Gin distilleries have begun popping up in our world-famous wine regions, beachfront suburbs and throughout our boutique capital. So much so, South Australia is actually home to the world's best gin. Walk into any of the best restaurants in Adelaide and you will likely find a gin selection rivaling that of the traditional wine list, or learn a thing or two about gin at an actual gin school.
KANGAROO ISLAND SPIRITS, KANGAROO ISLAND
Kangaroo Island Spirits uses environmentally sustainable practices to produce its premium range, including the multi-award-winning Wild Gin, created from local juniper. Other flagship tipples include O Gin, Old Tom Aged Gin, the seasonal Mulberry Gin and the intriguing Whiskey Barrel Gin. KIS's "slow spirits" philosophy embodies a studious choice of ingredients and careful adherence to standards and process. The KIS cellar door is a must-visit on Kangaroo Island – you’re guaranteed to fall in love with their affogato.
Where to find it: 856 Playford Hwy, Cygnet Rivet on Kangaroo Island, 35 minutes flight from Adelaide.
AMBLESIDE DISTILLERS, Adelaide Hills
Located on a scenic acreage property at Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills, owners Trudy, Steve and Matt invite all gin lovers to their distillery and tasting bar, Ambleside Distillers. Enjoy the picturesque setting while kicking back, relaxing and sipping one of the handcrafted signature gins and a food platter. The "Small Acre Gin" uses twelve ingredients including produce from the distillery garden, local and native botanicals.
Where to find it: 1 Ambleside Road, Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills.
TWENTY THIRD STREET, RENMARK AND NORTH ADELAIDE
Twenty Third Street distillery was first built in Renmark in 1914. It has been resurrected using 21st century technology and “a spirit of anarchic invention” to create “prime spirits for the liberated palate”. Two South Australian-built copper pot stills of the same vintage have been restored to their original glory. Twenty Third Street’s range features Signature Gin blended with 10 botanicals, Not Your Nanna's Brandy featuring fruity aromas, vanillin sweetness and soft oak spice and Riverland Rose Vodka infused with rose petals and other blooms. Tour and tasting at Renmark: 11am, 1pm and 2pm daily, $25 per person. If you're feeling thirsty in the city, you're in luck too with the recently opened 23rd St Bar in North Adelaide pouring up all their best drops.
Where to find it: Corner of 23rd St and Renmark Ave, Renmark - about 3 hours drive from Adelaide. 23rd St Bar - 129 Melbourne St, North Adelaide.
Applewood Distillery, Adelaide Hills
Applewood Distillery is attached to Unico Zelo Wines in the Adelaide Hills and is the creation of husband and wife team Brendan and Laura Carter. They have a deep passion for the land and its Aboriginal heritage and say they take their motivation and ingredients "from the land we belong to". The results are remarkable spirits, from the signature Applewood Gin, inspired by springtime in the Adelaide Hills, to their 'unico cello' and 'unico mando' - a take on the traditional citrus sip limoncello. If you are wanting a taste of native Australian ingredients, their range uses botanicals from the surrounding environment - including strawberry gum, riberry and karkalla. Embark on a guided tour of the distillery or enjoy a tasting flight that mixes the best of gin and wine.
Where to find it: 24 Victoria Street, Gumeracha, about 50 minutes drive from Adelaide.
Never Never Distilling Co, McLaren Vale
What is the world’s best gin? Never Never Distilling Co - and it's made right here in South Australia. Voted the World’s Best Classic Gin at the prestigious 2019 World Gin Awards in London, Never Never Distilling Co’s Dark Label Series packs maximum flavour and intensity. With a focus on championing juniper in every bottle of gin through a triple-juniper distillation process, this bold beverage has long been lauded one of the best Australian gins. For those wanting a true taste of the state, try one of their newest releases aptly named the Oyster Shell Gin. The team at Never Never sourced local oysters from Kangaroo Island, consumed the oysters before cleaning the shells and adding them to the pot still. The result? notes of minerality and subtle sea spray that encapsulates the best of South Australia in one bottle. Never Never Distilling Co recently opened a distillery door right next to the Chalk Hill Wine Bar - so nominate your designated driver and settle in for the day.
Where to find: 56 Field Street, McLaren Vale.
PROHIBITION LIQUOR CO, ADELAIDE CBD
Embodying the “spirit” of the eponymous 1920s American era, Prohibition Liquor Co has created award-winning craft gins that bootleggers would be proud of. Prohibition Gin integrates 11 botanicals, including the unusual offerings of wormwood, pink peppercorns and green tea to generate a delicate, peppery palate and smooth finish. Bathtub Cut Gin is a rendering of 13 botanicals including orris root, cassia bark, star anise and almonds that delivers a gutsy nose and juniper aniseed flavour and is surprisingly mellow for a 69 per cent spirit. Best of all? Now, you can taste it all right in the heart of the city at the impressive distillery complete with a new 900L copper still installed. Enjoy clandestinely!
Where to find it: Visit Prohibition Liquor Co's bar at 22 Gilbert St in Adelaide or find their gin in bottleshops and bars across Australia including Alfred’s Bar, Bank Street Social and Mr Goodbar.
Seppeltsfield Road Distillers, Barossa
Tucked down iconic Seppeltsfield Road, just a stone’s throw away from some of the Barossa’s best wineries lies the aptly named Seppeltsfield Road Distillers. Created by husband and wife duo Jon and Nicole Durdin, the award-winning small-batch gin is distilled and bottled right on site using local botanicals, like lavender and pink peppercorns sourced from just down the road. The distillery prides itself on having a gin to suit every drinker with an impressive line-up including Barossa Dry, Savoury Allsorts and Barossa Shiraz Gin. Stop in at the distillery and sip your way through a gin flight all while watching the gin distillation take place right in front of you in the impressive German still, fondly known as Christine, which doubles as a work of art and centre piece to the tasting room. Add a fridge full of local produce and French cheese to create a DIY platter and you’re set for the afternoon.
Where to find it: Visit Seppeltsfield Road Distillers at 436 Seppeltsfield Rd, Marananga in the Barossa.
ANCHOVY BANDIT, ADELAIDE
Okay, while this one is not a gin distillery it is one of Adelaide's best suburban watering holes boasting an impressive range of local gin. This boutique bar is tucked away in Prospect and serves up delicious wood oven pizzas and cocktails that use local and native Australian ingredients- but with an Italian twist. Anchovy Bandit is named after an unpublished Quentin Tarantino script - a nod to the bar being built within a cinema. Park up in one of their 50's inspired booths and indulge in one of their many wondrous cocktail creations or read up on their hit list of local gin distillers - including 36 Short. A colourful and clean-sleeved bottle of 36 Short can be spotted at just about every bar and event in Adelaide these days - despite not having a brick-and-mortar home. A small family business, 36 Short is a tribute to the Lioulios brothers’ Macedonian-born father – Pando.
Pando’s suit size was 36 Short, and the brothers have continued their father’s tradition by handcrafting gin and rakia made on the Adelaide Plains using the secret recipes handed down from father to son over three generations. Beginning with Australia’s only rakia – a wine-based spirit, made from premium South Australian shiraz - 36 Short now produces a blood orange gin, original gin, barrel-aged gin, rhubarb gin (made with South Australian rhubarb) and a blood orange vodka. The Original Gin received a platinum award at Sip, a prestigious American-based competition. Anchovy Bandit also stocks Red Hen gin, Adelaide's first city-based distillery, located in the southwest of the CBD, where bootleggers operated in the 1880s.
Where to find it: 96 Prospect Rd, Prospect
Durand Distillery, Barossa
A school dedicated to teaching the art and flavours of gin? No, we’re not dreaming! At Durand Distillery in the Barossa, you can become a distiller for a day and craft your very own gin creation from scratch to take home. During the boutique hands-on experience, you’ll be guided through the entire process of making gin, creating your own recipe with organic juniper berries and botanicals chosen from the extensive apothecary. Once the recipe is perfected, the distillation begins. Wait for the magic to happen over lunch, with Durand Distillery conveniently located at Maggie Beer’s farm, and lunch is included in the experience - before collecting your creation straight from the still! You can also taste the latest creations from Durand Distillery inside Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop.
Where to find: 1/50 Pheasant Farm Rd, Nuriootpa in the Barossa.