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13 Sep 2016
By Mal Chenu

In South Australia, gin is the word on everyone's lips. Sip your way around the state at distilleries, in bars and further afield in our beautiful regions.

Applewood Distillery, Adelaide Hills

Applewood 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 the barley-based Applewood Colonial Malt, the tasting notes for which reads: "Treat it like moonshine, drink with responsible gusto!".

Where to find it: 24 Victoria Street, Gumeracha, about 50 minutes drive from Adelaide.

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.

Kangaroo Island Spirits

Red Hen Gin, Adelaide

Red Hen is Adelaide’s first city-based distillery, located in the south-west of the CBD, where bootleggers operated in the 1880s. Red Hen pursues the classic London dry style, combined with native botanicals. According to co-owner Michael Vallelonga, the self-confessed "gin-thusiasts" took two years to perfect their recipe. Red Hill is "slightly juniper-forward with crisp citrus and earthy cassia notes," Michael says. “We enjoy Fever-Tree Mediterranean and Schweppes tonic from a glass bottle but if you want to really treat yourself, add some muntrie berries, one of our star botanicals.”

Where to find it: In bars in Adelaide and Adelaide Hills including Mr Goodbar, The Archer and The Stirling Hotel.

Settlers Spirits, McLaren Vale

Located within Rowland and Shelley Short’s boutique Maximus Wines in McLaren Vale, Settlers Spirits is an artisan product created from grapes grown on the property and distilled and bottled by hand. The grape spirit base is softer in the mouth and more floral than spirits made from grain. Settlers also uses vapour distillation to infuse the botanicals, blended for peak aromatics and clean flavours. It offers five gins, including Rare Dry, Oak Aged and the cleverly named G & Tea.

Where to find it: 197 Foggo Road, McLaren Vale - about 45 minutes drive from Adelaide.

Twenty Third Street, Renmark

Twenty Third Street distillery was first built here 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: 11am, 1pm and 2pm daily, $25 per person.

Where to find it: Corner of 23rd St and Renmark Ave, Renmark - about 3 hours drive from Adelaide.

Twenty Third Street distillery, Riverland

Barossa Distilling Company, Barossa

Barossa Distilling Company wanted to create a handcrafted gin that was as distinctly Barossa as its famous shiraz. Generations Gin uses Barossa grape spirit and is infused and distilled with 12 botanicals. Other Barossa overtones include the use of toasted French oak and limited edition magnum bottles. This new producer is certainly one to watch. On the drawing board are seasonal gins with fresh ingredients including shiraz grapes and a plan to create a gin using botanicals found only on Krondorf Road in Tanunda. 

Where to find it: In bottleshops and bars across Australia including East End Cellars, Hains & Co, Barossa Brauhaus Hotel and The Clubhouse.

Prohibition Liquor Co, Adelaide Hills

Channelling 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. Enjoy clandestinely!

Where to find it: In bottleshops and bars across Australia including Alfred’s Bar, Bank Street Social and Mr Goodbar and at the Adelaide Central Market.

The Antipodes Gin Co

Shane Reid and Rory Gration created Antipodes Organic Gin out of a shared love of the spirit and a desire to make a carbon-neutral and organic product. They grew up in the Sunraysia citrus region and have incorporated that area’s sweet orange peel, lemon oil and native lemon myrtle as well as Tasmanian pepper berry, which they found provided a lingering warmth to the drink. Australia’s first certified organic gin is triple distilled with native and traditional botanicals and refined with pure rainwater. Stay tuned for more organic variants.

Where to find it: In bottleshops and bars around Australia including East End Cellars, The Organik Store and Café and Southern Ocean Lodge.

Ambleside Distillers

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.

Ambleside Distillers, Hahndorf