Pure water, a cool climate and plants you can't find anywhere else – Tasmania has all the ingredients to distil remarkable spirits.
From glam inner-city cocktail bars to small-batch stills in barns, these are some of the best spots to sample Tasmanian gin.
While waiting for the whisky in his storehouse to mature, distiller Justin Turner, of Turner Stillhouse, keeps himself occupied perfecting his award-winning spirit, Three Cuts Gin. Take a tour of the distillery and follow the process to a taste-test, or book a full gin, wine and tapas tasting in partnership with neighbouring Tamar Ridge Wines, plus tours of the distillery and vineyard.
The distillery is at Grindelwald, a 20min drive north-west of Launceston.
Pure spring water, a temperate maritime climate and elevated position on the side of Mount Arthur make McHenry Distillery an ideal spot for distilling (and sampling) gin. Book a tour and tasting with resident makers and stay the night in an eco-friendly cabin with expansive views of Turrakana / Tasman Peninsula.
Port Arthur is a 90min drive from Hobart.
In central Hobart, Gin(bar) pours special and hard-to-find gins from Tasmania and beyond, though its focus is Forty Spotted Gin – named by Lark Distillery for the forty spotted pardalote, one of Tasmania’s rarest birds. The modernist-inspired bar offers gin-blending workshops during the day and transforms into a bar at night. Bookings are required.
Gin(bar) is easy to find on Argyle Street in Hobart CBD.
Western Tiers Distillery
The foundation of Western Tiers gin is icy water drawn from nearby highland lakes and botanicals from Tasmania's windswept central highlands. Sample the gins and learn about the distilling process on a tour. For a drop just as bold as the landscape, sample the label’s poitín, based on a traditional Irish moonshine.
67 Meander Valley Rd, Westbury, a 25min drive south-west of Launceston.
Southern Wild Distillery
Food scientist turned distiller George Burgess sources produce from small growers and foragers across Tasmania to produce his Dasher + Fisher gin. Take a gin flight at Southern Wild Distillery to sample gins evoking six Tasmanian landscapes, including mountain, ocean and meadow.
On Oldaker St, Devonport, the distillery is a 10min drive from the Spirit of Tasmania ferry terminal.
Taste the world’s first gin distilled from sheep’s whey. Ryan Hartshorn took what is normally a waste product in the cheese-making process at this family’s dairy and turned it into award-winning vodka, and now gin. Take a scenic drive to Grandvewe Cheese and Hartshorn Distillery on the family farm at Birchs Bay, and taste sheep’s cheeses and Hartshorn’s distinctive gin. Among the Ewenique tasting experiences is the Spirited Alchemist, in which guests taste and mix botanicals to create and bottle their own unique gin.
Birchs Bay is a 40min drive south of Hobart.
Take a seat at the long white-marble bar and order the signature Antarctic dry martini, based on one of the gins distilled by Sud Polaire. This glamorous inner-city bar takes inspiration from the Southern Ocean and proximity to Antarctica, pouring cool-climate wines and “cold-hearted liquor”. It acts as a cellar door for Sud Polaire spirits and sister wine label Domaine Simha. Join a martini masterclass or settle in for a cheese and gin (or whisky or wine) tasting.
1/7 Murray St, Hobart, near Salamanca Place.
This is a rare paddock-to-glass distillery, in which all ingredients in its gin – grains, foraged botanicals and water – are found or farmed on historic Lawrenny Estate on the River Derwent. Stop by the cellar door to sample 1818 Settlers gin, named for the year the estate was established, one of four gins, plus whisky and vodka distilled on site. Be sure to allow time to wander the English-style garden.
The estate is near Ouse, a 1hr 10min drive north-west of Hobart.