8 Spots to Sip Tassie Gin
Gin. It's on everyone's lips. Those in the know frequent cocktail bars with dedicated gin libraries. Others tap into gin-making masterclasses. Visit our local distillers, from elegant estates to a fellow turning sheep's whey into awarded spirits. Here are our top picks of where to sip Tassie gin.
1. Shene Estate
At Shene, they say that Poltergeist Gin is best served with fine company, gossip and in the dead of night. Whether one can wait for those dark hours, gin lovers can be assured a fragrant, crisp blend of flavours. Head out to Shene Estate at Pontville, 30 minutes from Hobart and home to nearly 200 years of history, for a gin and tasting tour. Take a behind the scenes peek at their Tasmanian-made copper pot stills and the gin-making process. In true spirit, Poltergeist tastings follow.
2. McHenry Distillery
Become your own distiller down Port Arthur way, at McHenry Distillery. Under the guidance of Master Distiller, William McHenry, blend your own botanicals and leave the gin-making workshop with your own 'private label.' Add lemon myrtle? A hint of saffron? From his Sloe Gin to Classic London Dry, Barrel Aged to Navy Strength, McHenry knows gin and guides you through the distilling process. This workshop is not all head-down lab time, but rather four hours punctuated by gin tasting and exploring the Mt. Arthur property.
3. Lark Distillery
Lark may be famed for its single malt, but the Forty Spotted gin has a story of its own – no matter what the weather. Bill Lark's wife, Lyn, created the original recipe back in the 1990s, adding Tasmanian pepperberry to the traditional botanical blend. The result? A refined drop offering spiciness and richness not found in other gins. Named after the forty spotted pardalote, a rare bird found only in Tasmania, it's as unique as Lark's gin. While the pardalote is desperately hard to spot, Lark's Hobart waterfront cellar door is not. Maybe indulge in a Forty Spotted gin cocktail, like a barrel-aged Negroni, in Lark's warm and inviting bar this winter?
Lark Distillery / Courtesy Lark Distillery
4. Southern Wild Distillery
Take a wild and pure gin tasting journey with George. At Southern Wild Distillery in Devonport, food scientist turned distiller, George Burgess, takes you from the mountain to the meadows to the sea. Dasher + Fisher gins are named after two wild rivers that run from the snowmelt of Cradle Mountain. Let George take you on a flavour meander (by appointment), right where he makes the gin. Find out what producers he calls on to blend with his signature wakame, lavender and native pepperberry. Stay on for cocktails … perhaps a gin mimosa starring Mountain Gin, Devil's Corner sparkling and Spreyton Fresh orange juice?
5. Nonesuch Distillery
The best place to sample Nonesuch gin is at Nonesuch! They do things the old-fashioned way and head distiller Rex Burdon loves to meet spirit enthusiasts in person. Being small batch and family run, be sure to call ahead. Rex offers a full-day Whisky Making Experience as well as tastes of his premium spirits including Nonesuch Sloe Gin and Dry Gin. It's no ordinary sloe gin – sloes are foraged from hedgerows and trees brought to Tassie by early colonial settlers. Rex will tell you all about it when you visit.
6. Hartshorn Distillery
It's a world first! In Tasmania, you can enjoy gin made from sheep whey at Hartshorn Distillery. What's more, it's usually the head distiller, Ryan Hartshorn, passing the glass. You'll find Ryan at the Brooke Street Pier on Hobart's waterfront, where he showcases his small batch vodka and gin, alongside his family's Grandvewe Cheeses. Alternately, head down to Birchs Bay in Tasmania's south where you can meet the sheep, and find out how Ryan converts whey into character-filled spirits. The view over lunch is a stunner.
7. Sud Polaire @ Institut Polaire
Institut Polaire is all about 'cold-hearted liquor.' This wine and spirits bar down by Hobart's waterfront is all luxe, fur and style. Home to Süd Polaire gin and Domaine Simha wine, gin lovers get excited about their regular masterclasses. Gather your friends for six tasting samples, complete with detailed notes and shared cheese platter. Aromatic gins, carefully crafted cocktails, daily wine and spirit flights … Need we say more?
Insitut Polaire / Courtesy Institut Polaire
8. Lawrenny Estate
Nestled on the banks of the River Derwent in the town of Ouse, a little over an hour from Hobart, is Lawrenny Estate. A working farm since 1818, it has a long history of farming cattle, wheat and barley. These days, the Mace family are continuing its reputation for premium Tasmanian produce by turning the barley into whisky, creating a true paddock-to-plate distillery. With the whisky barrelled and relaxing in the bond store for the next few years, drop into their cellar door to taste Van Diemen's Gin, 1818 Settler's Gin, or Lawrenny Saint Clair Vodka and explore the historic gardens. The gin is enriched with clean, clear river water and infused with botanicals sourced onsite at the estate. Keep an eye out for the distillery dog, Cooper, who can be found chasing the geese around the estate.
Lawrenny Estate / Courtesy Lawrenny Estate
Page banner: Roadside stall, Shene Estate / Samuel Shelley