15 of Victoria’s coolest gin distilleries
In the back streets of Richmond among breweries, bakeries and coffee roasters is one of Melbourne’s newest distilleries. Opening up in a former garage last October, daughter and father team Brogan and Simon Carr make a strong (57.2 per cent alcohol) Royal Blood Gin, Evening Light Gin and Everyday Salvation Gin. The latter is infused with mountain pepper berry, roasted wattleseed, strawberry gum, rose and lavender for a drink that reveals all its botanicals yet is enjoyably the sum of its parts. The bar, with its speakeasy feel and theatrically lit still, is open for tastings and cocktails Wednesdays to Sundays, with tours every second weekend.
61 North Street, Richmond
Bass & Flinders Distillery
Past the grazing emus and kangaroos at the foot of Arthurs Seat is Bass & Flinders Distillery. This Mornington Peninsula spirit maker was one of Victoria’s first small distillers, starting with brandy in 2009. Visitors come to this state-of-the-art facility to try the pink-hued Cerise Gin, which derives its colour from hibiscus rosella, cherries and raspberries. The Angry Ant Gin is made with native gravel ants from Western Australia. Join their excellent Gin Masterclass for a chance to blend spirits infused with single botanicals to create your very own gin.
40 Collins Road, Dromana
Loch Brewery and Distillery
Loch is a beautiful little town with a handful of cafes and is a short drive to wineries and the award-winning Prom Country Cheese. The cellar door inside the historic former bank carries the aroma of juniper as it soaks in the spirit inside the still. Inspired by the small distilleries of Islay off the coast of Scotland, distiller Craig Johnson started making single-malt whiskies but now makes impressive gin. Come here to taste beer and whisky, but be sure to try his gin liqueur, intended to be enjoyed neat. With just 32 per cent alcohol, the flavours of juniper, cinnamon, cardamom, angelica, licorice root, orange and ginger shine through.
44 Victoria Road, Loch
Four Pillars Gin
If you want to mix yourself a gin and tonic with the world's best, this is the place to do it. Four Pillars Gin, which was crowned the world's best at the 50th Annual Wine and Spirits Competition in London, completes the gastronomic picture in pretty Healesville, with its tree-lined streets, great pub, excellent cafes, cheese shop and small cellar doors. Standing at the tasting tables in this distillery, you overlook four stills named after the founders’ mothers. In front of you are glasses filled with botanicals. Sniff and try to name the leaves, seeds, bark and roots – gum leaf, cinnamon, juniper – then taste the gin and work out which botanicals are used. With tastings, cocktails and snacks, this is a great place to learn about gin and how it is made. Plus, RACV members receive a free gift with every bottle of gin purchased at the distillery door.
2a Lilydale Road, Healesville