Summer in Australia is all about beach time, BBQs, chilling out with friends, and enjoying a good old fashioned drink…or three.
As you can tell from our name, gin is our summer beverage of choice, so we were absolutely thrilled when we received a bottle of Botanic Australis Gin from Mt Uncle Distillery and Nip of Courage to review.
Not only is this gin distilled in our home state of Queensland (woo!), but it contains 14 botanicals – 13 of which are Australian Natives. There’s Wattle Seed, Lemon Myrtle, Bunya Nut, Finger Lime, Lilly Pilly and Peppermint gum to name a few…and only one imported but necessary ingredient (unfortunately juniper doesn’t grow so well in the Atherton Tablelands).
If there is a more ‘Australian’ gin we’d love to find out but really the most important thing about Botanic Australis is the taste. With so many different ingredients the potential for disaster is high, but to his credit, Mt. Uncle owner and distiller Mark Watkins has achieved a perfect balance of flavours and a gin that goes down very easily. Mark adapted his recipe for Botanic Australis from a 300 year old London Dry Recipe and after much trial and error he has really has achieved a unique and beautifully flavourful gin.
We first tried it neat and experienced a whole range of different flavour notes – citrus, aniseed and spice being the most dominant. However we couldn’t leave it at that, more thorough ‘research’ was needed. We wanted to know how the gin would perform in a more challenging environment: The Great Australian Barbecue.
We convinced a few friends to join us (really not hard when free alcohol is involved) then we set about procuring tasty cocktail recipes and some delicious summer BBQ recipes to match. The big day finally arrived this past weekend and it was fab – good food, great company and first class gin. We couldn’t have asked for more!
On the recommendation of Mark we kicked off the day with the Classic Negroni cocktail. While B’s husband barbecued a rack of lamb and some tandoori chicken, we we unleashed our inner mixologists and shook up around 50ml of Botanic Australis Gin, 30ml Vermouth and 30ml Campari with some ice (our measurements were approximate as we were working on a few varying Negroni recipes). We strained the cocktail into our glasses and garnished with orange peel and then…it was time to take a sip.