Clean air, pure water and breathtaking scenery aren’t the only things on offer here in Tassie. After a long day of bushwalking or bird spotting (or after a short day of lazing around...we won’t judge), why not try a carefully crafted, native Tasmanian gin? The Tasmanian gin scene is now booming, with more than 130 different Tasmanian gins on offer, making good use of the state’s diverse botanicals to offer unique experiences for the taste buds. Image thanks to Samuel Shelley.
Take a tour around a distillery, learn the gin-making process and don’t forget to get your tastings in.
Tasmania is officially home to the cleanest air in the world and--no surprise--also offers the planet’s purest bottled water, from the raindrops over Cape Grim. Water as pure as this, is perfect for the distilling process of gin and also whisky and vodka. Tasmania’s diverse and interesting plant life makes for some tasty signature flavours, infused with botanicals such as native Tasmanian lemon myrtle, anise myrtle, wattleseed and pepperberry. Image thanks to Mitch Osborne.
Craft distilling wasn’t legal in Tasmania until 1991, when pub owner Bill Lark wanted to start his own small boutique whisky distillery. Luckily, the customs minister at the time had a penchant for whisky and immediately altered the legislation, sparking various distilleries to pop up across the state over the next two decades. Lark Distillery is still one of the most highly rated distilleries in Tasmania.
Poltergeist Gin, from the Shene Estate in Pontville, won gold at the World Gin Awards 2017. It also won a double gold medal at the 2017 San Francisco International Spirits Competition, making it one of the region’s most highly celebrated gins.
The best way to experience Tasmanian gin is to visit one of its distilleries. Not only can you try the products, you can learn more about how it’s made, the people involved and the environment surrounding it. Image thanks to Samuel Shelley.
Most distilleries have cellar doors that are open seven days a week. Many offer tours, workshops and tastings, of not just gin but also whisky and vodka. Holidaymakers may like to build it into a day out and enjoy a local hike before sipping gin and tonic or a gin cocktail while taking in the views. For a unique twist, distilleries often offer seasonal gin such as summer gin infused with orange blossom and saffron.
Alternatively, specialty gin can be purchased online on the individual websites for each distillery, and some can even be found in your nearby bottle shop. Also look out for farmers markets and events where seasonal gin, along with tasty organic food, are available.
Finally, if you’re looking for souvenirs, Tasmanian gin is a great souvenir to take home to loved ones - that is, if you don’t drink it before you make it back!