For Today’s Cocktails and Tonics, Flowers Are So Much More Than a Garnish

Hibiscus, borage, violet and other blooms are showing up in cocktails and nonalcoholic beverages, reminding us of the alchemical, centuries-old allure of floral-infused drinks.

Article by Diana Abu-Jaber

A champagne coupe full of peony, cherry blossom, linden, verbena and violet next to a pitcher stuffed with marigold, hibiscus, linden, peony, verbena and cherry blossom, which is also arrayed on the base. Photography by Anthony Cotsifas.A champagne coupe full of peony, cherry blossom, linden, verbena and violet next to a pitcher stuffed with marigold, hibiscus, linden, peony, verbena and cherry blossom, which is also arrayed on the base. Photography by Anthony Cotsifas.

All is dark as the bartender slides across a peach-coloured cocktail balanced on a slim glass stem — a Lauren Bacall of a drink. There’s something called a buzz bud, a little furled blossom, on top. I sip and taste notes of lemon and honey. Then, as instructed, I eat the tiny bud, and something strange happens: my mouth feels shivery, almost numb. It’s disconcerting. Acmella oleracea, also known as buzz buttons or electric daisies, are known for their potent tingling effect. I’m not sure I like it. I’m not sure that’s even the point. When I take the next sip, the cocktail seems altered, almost pixelated — like shifting from animation to high-definition. I taste the drink more clearly and cleanly. Lemon. Honey. All of it melted into a near-buttery dissolution.

“That’s a functional garnish,” says Chevy Farrell, the beverage director at No Man’s Land in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Since long before the first swim-up bar plopped an orchid atop a frozen daiquiri, petals have been rimmed around glasses for visual appeal. But blossoms can add so much more: they can be sweet, earthy, umami, funky — “a flavour,” Farrell says, “that you can’t put your finger on. It’s the mystery that takes it higher.”

A glass decanter filled with layers of marigold, hibiscus, linden, cherry blossom and peony, which is also scattered on the green taffeta. Photography by Anthony Cotsifas.
A glass decanter filled with layers of marigold, hibiscus, linden, cherry blossom and peony, which is also scattered on the green taffeta. Photography by Anthony Cotsifas.

Flowers are transporting: magical agents that attend our great transitions, from weddings to funerals; symbols of purity and fresh starts. We collect them, wear them, crush their fragrance against our wrists and necks. They elevate our rituals and communicate love and grief. They’re the bridge between body and spirit, heaven and earth.

And there is something transgressive about drinking them: it’s extravagant and excessive — an echo of Nero’s peeled grapes. Perhaps it’s slightly offensive in a world in which there is so much deprivation. It’s too much. Yet a world such as ours hankers for too much because one response to suffering is to smother oneself in beautiful forgetting, to become a lotus-eater, a drinker of nepenthe — the magical drug of forgetfulness referenced in Homer’s “Odyssey” — which the first-century Roman writer Pliny the Elder believed was made of borage. In this sense, blossoms signify not only pleasure but healing. No wonder they’ve long been used as ancient remedies.

Take hibiscus, which now appears in everything from ginger beers to infused waters. My Jordanian aunties added sugar, lime and toasted pine nuts to their karkade (hibiscus) tea, which aids digestion. The flower’s jewel-toned petals have always been especially popular in Mexico, in preparations from agua de Jamaica to aromatic mole. Ruby Hibiscus Water, a bottled beverage made in New York, conveys the plant’s signature tartness, in a richer, more berrylike brew. Noah Wunsch, the company’s founder, was looking for something to help him curb sugar cravings when he learned about the benefits of hibiscus tea. It seems counterintuitive to think that something sour would counteract the desire for sweetness, but that’s one of the shape-shifting qualities of flowers.

On TikTok, young people freeze nasturtiums, pansies and geraniums into ice cubes, which melt colourfully into spritzes; others are reviving the ancient Chinese tradition of rolling green tea leaves into jasmine-scented pearls, which bloom in hot water. For centuries, rosewater and orange blossom water have infused syrups, candies and pastries, from England to Iran. A recipe featuring borage in Alyson Brown’s “The Flower-Infused Cocktail” (2021) mentions John Gerard’s 1597 book, “The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes”, which claims that syrup made of the plant “comforteth the hart, purgeth melancholie, quieteth the phrenticke or lunaticke person”. Violets were popular with ancient Romans, who, Brown says, wove them into wreaths to ward off hangovers.

Flowers may never become as commonplace in drinks as fruits or herbs, but their exotic nature is part of their appeal. Teri Gelber, the owner of T Project, an organic tea studio in Portland, Oregon, frequently includes lavender, linden and Oregon cherry blossom in her blends but advises a judicious balance, so as “not to overwhelm the other flavours”. It’s true, some recent experiments of this ilk from other purveyors aren’t all chardonnay and roses: a wine infused with marigold tastes thin and slightly vomitous; a cornflower tea is reminiscent of peat moss. Using flowers this way requires care and luck. Chefs must respect their “element of surprise”, as Gelber puts it.

But when life on Earth feels too heavy, the moon and stars beckon. We want lightness and escape. Enchanting and wild, flowers take us out of ourselves: they’re familiar yet unearthly, and to drink them is to touch the ground and to be lifted, body and soul.

This is an extract from an article that appears in print in our fifth edition, Page 104 of T Australia with the headline:
“A Glass Full of Flowers”
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Australian agave and cane spirits (but don’t call them tequila or rum)

Australia’s polyglot distilling culture is becoming increasingly fruitful as a fresh crop of distillers-cum-farmers spin sugar cane and agave into distinctive local takes on agricole rum and Mexico’s national drink.

Article by Fred Siggins

Australian tequilaYoung agave plants at Top Shelf International’s North Queensland property. Photography courtesy Top Shelf International.

To date, Australia’s craft spirits boom has been driven largely by gin and whisky, both of which have cultural associations with our forebears from the British Isles. But as the industry matures, distillers are beginning to produce spirits that have a strong connection with other parts of the world, and to exploit Australia’s immense range of terroirs to create entirely new styles.

Mention tequila to an average Aussie and you can expect either a screwed-up face accompanied by stories of a misspent youth or a wide- eyed recounting of their Mexican travels. Like Scotch is to Scotland or Cognac is to France, tequila is indelibly, and legally, tied to the national identity of Mexico.

But it turns out that agave — the spiky succulent from which tequila is made — grows well in certain Australian microclimates. And so Sebastian Reaburn, the head distiller for Top Shelf International (the maker of Ned whisky and Grainshaker vodka) is taking a punt and producing a local version.

Australian agave
Top Shelf International's agave spirit is being developed to include honey, lime peel and a fresh herbaceous mid palate with cut grass, then moving into mineral structure and complexity. Photography courtesy Top Shelf International.

“Agave spirits like tequila and mescal are the fastest growing category in the world,” says Reaburn. “And while Australia only has a small population, we’re the world’s biggest consumer of those spirits after the USA and Mexico. I’ve also been lucky enough to make every other kind of spirit in my career, so something made from agave was like a final frontier for me as a distiller.”

After an initial testing phase, Top Shelf’s Australian Agave Project has started a farm in North Queensland, taking advantage of the region’s dry-tropical microclimate. The distiller has almost half a million agaves in the ground, specifically for making spirits, and plans to build a million-litre-per-annum-capacity distillery run entirely on hydrogen and solar power.

While the liquid is not available at the bottle-o just yet, the company aims to release a limited edition by the end of this year, with a full launch planned for mid- 2023. In the meantime, tequila enthusiasts can purchase Australia’s first agave NFT, which includes 10 plants and the resulting spirit.

Reaburn says that while the business hasn’t come up with a brand name yet, he’s committed to respecting Mexico’s claim to the spirit. “We can’t legally call it tequila because we’re not in Mexico,” he says, “and we wouldn’t want to. We’re not pretending to be Mexican. It would be really disappointing if there were an Australian agave product that was marketed as faux Mexican. But we’re also pushing the boundaries of what this spirit can be in the Australian context.”

Australian rum
A bottle of Husk Distiller's Spiced Bam Bam. Photography courtesy Husk Distillers.
Australian cane
A daiquiri made on Husk's Pure Cane 50. Photography courtesy Husk Distillers.

Unlike tequila, rum has a long history here. As a former British colony, Australia tends to make rums that are similar in style to those produced in former British colonies of the Caribbean, such as Barbados and Jamaica. That is, rums that use molasses as their raw material and have a big, funky, rubbery quality.

But on the French-speaking island of Martinique, a different kind of rum, known as rhum agricole, is the norm. Not often seen outside their homeland and France, agricole rums are produced from fresh cane juice rather than molasses and have a brighter, grassier and drier flavour profile than their cousins.

At Husk Distillers in the hinterland of New South Wales’ Northern Rivers region, the Martiniquais expat distiller Quentin Brival is bringing an agricole-style “cane spirit” to Australia (according to an outdated law, cane spirits in Australia can only be called “rum” if they have been aged for a minimum of two years). “Australia is one of the biggest sugar cane producers in the world,” he says, “so it makes perfect sense to make rum here. But when I arrived, I was struck by the fact that it’s just one style, and no-one had thought to make rum the way we do in Martinique.”

All cane used in Husk’s Cultivated Cane Spirit range is grown and processed on site. “We’re farmers as well as distillers,” says Brival. “We call our spirit Cultivated because, like the term ‘agricole’, it means it came from an actual agricultural operation.” The cane grown at Husk is distinct from the kinds most commonly used for white sugar production. “It’s short, dark and thick, and the taste is completely different,” says Brival. “You can taste the terroir in this style of rum because it’s not overly processed. We wanted to create a truly Australian version and not just a copy.” The distillery, which runs tours to introduce drinkers to the spirit, recommends mixing the product in a ti punch, the preferred way to drink agricole rum in Martinique.

From Chinese-style sorghum spirits (baijiu) to regional European brandies, like rakia and grappa, as well as Scandinavian aquavit and American-style corn and rye whiskies, Australia’s craft spirits speak every language like a boozy Tower of Babel. These transportive products reflect Australia’s bowerbird-like penchant for taking flavours and techniques from far-flung lands and reconstructing them in our own image. They are also evidence of the country’s incredible diversity of climate zones. From apples and barley grown in the south to mangoes and sugar cane from the north, local distillers have a world’s worth of flavours at their fingertips.

And it speaks to Australia’s fundamental multiculturalism; it’s a place where people and ideas from all over can flourish. We are all the richer — if not slightly more inebriated — for it.

A version of this article appears in print in our fifth edition, Page 58 of T Australia with the headline:
“Spirited Away”
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5 Australian Brandies To Try This Summer

With the nuance of wine and the power of a spirit, brandy is as intriguing as whisky yet has a lighter texture and a lifted, floral perfume.

Article by Fred Siggins

St Agnes XO 15 Year Old was named Champion Brandy at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2020.

The word “brandy” comes from the Dutch word “brandewijn”, meaning “burnt wine”, and encompasses any spirit distilled from fermented fruit, though most brandies are made from grapes. Some spend decades in oak, layering on rich, earthy tannins.

The most famous brandies come from the Cognac region of France and have long been associated with opulence and wealth. But high-quality brandy is often very reasonably priced and is common in wine- and fruit-producing regions the world over, from Peru’s ubiquitous pisco to America’s applejack and the grappas of Italy. And now Australia.

Bass & Flinders Distillery Ochre Fine Aged Brandy

This distillery takes a handcrafted, small-scale approach to its brandy. Ochre is distilled from single- vineyard Mornington Peninsula chardonnay grapes using traditional methods and matured in oak barrels previously used to age Cognac. The result is a connoisseurs’ spirit that reflects the terroir of Victoria. $230, 700ml, 41% alc/vol bassandflindersdistillery.com

Charles Oates Apple Brandy

This uniquely Tasmanian brandy is made from apples that are grown, harvested, pressed and fermented at Willie Smith’s orchard in the Huon Valley. Matured in fortified wine barrels for more than four years, this sweet, delicate spirit is perfect paired with an after-dinner cheese plate. $90, 700ml, 40% alc/vol williesmiths.com.au

St Agnes XO 15 Year Old

Despite the gaudy bottle, this is arguably the best value spirit being produced in Australia. It’s a favourite among experts and was named Champion Brandy at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards in 2016, 2017 and 2020. Soft, silky and complex, if this doesn’t convert you to brandy, nothing will. $114, 700ml , 40% alc/vol stagnesdistillery.com.au

Sullivans Cove Double Cask Brandy

Much like its whiskies, Sullivans Cove brandies are high-quality and boast serious accolades. The Double Cask Brandy is made from a range of Tasmanian wines distilled and aged for a minimum of eight years. Despite its advanced age, this spirit is lively with fruit and floral notes, and has a strong backbone of oak and Christmas spices. A brandy for whisky drinkers. $190, 700ml, 48% alc/vol sullivanscove.com

36 Short Gold Rakia

Rakia is the traditional brandy of the Balkan region, made from fruits including plums and apricots, as well as grapes. Most are unaged and many are infused with herbs and other flavours. 36 Short distillery crafts its Gold Rakia from South Australian shiraz and matures it on oak for a smooth tipple with warm spices and hints of aniseed. $54.95, 500ml, 45% alc/vol 36short.com.au

A version of this article appears in print in our fourth edition, Page 58 of T Australia with the headline:
“The Hot Shots”
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The Hot Shot, the Revival of Brandy

In the lead up to Christmas celebrations, brandy probably deserves a second chance. Here, T Australia’s drinks expert makes the case for a much-maligned spirit: brandy.

Article by Fred Siggins

Brandies by 36 Short rakia, Seppeltsfield apera, St Agnes and Charles Oates brandies and Marionette curaçao. Cocktails, from left: Boomer Things, Jack Rose and sidecar. Photography by Edward Urrutia. Styling by Aleksandra Beare.

Loud rock pumps from a dim basement venue heaving with Sydney’s young and hip. Inside the deliberately gritty, red-carpeted Ramblin Rascal Tavern, tattooed ’tenders sling tinnies and line the bar with shots of… brandy?

Yes, the spirit of choice at this coolest of bars is not whisky or rum but brandy, a drink more often associated with Nanna than Nirvana. Asked why he’s made this decidedly un-trendy tipple a signature of his bar, the co-owner Charlie Lehmann says, “Brandy is just delicious.” And while some hesitate at first, the good vibes at Rascal make it hard to say no to Lehmann and his crew. “Folks who would never order brandy are surprised how good it is,” he says. “Brandy kicks for everyone on some level.”

Universal Appeal

Savvy drinkers are exploring the experimental like never before — natty wines, farmhouse beers and gins infused with green ants — and Australia’s booming craft beverage industry is all too happy to oblige. It’s given rise to an obsession with “authentic” products that has drinkers exploring the trends of yesteryear. Lehmann and his old-time tipple are a case in point, the green shoots of a nascent brandy revival sprouting like a vine in springtime.

The word “brandy” comes from the Dutch word “brandewijn”, meaning “burnt wine”, and encompasses any spirit distilled from fermented fruit, though most brandies are made from grapes. With the nuance of wine and the power of a spirit, brandy is as intriguing as whisky yet has a lighter texture and a lifted, floral perfume. Some spend decades in oak, layering on rich, earthy tannins.

The most famous brandies come from the Cognac region of France and have long been associated with opulence and wealth. But high-quality brandy is often very reasonably priced and is common in wine- and fruit-producing regions the world over, from Peru’s ubiquitous pisco to America’s applejack and the grappas of Italy.

Much like the wines of those countries, brandy represents its terroir. As Heather Tillott, the distillery manager at Sullivans Cove in Hobart, explains, “The grape has a certain magical knack for being able to capture the essence of a place and its people.” Though it’s known for single-malt whiskies, Sullivans Cove also produces brandies from Tasmanian wine in very limited quantities. As Tillott says, “What better way to express our regional character than to carefully distil and frame it in spirit form?” (Full disclosure: I worked at Sullivans Cove for several years.)

Multi-tasking Wineries

If you’re producing wine, it makes sense to make brandy, too, as most grape brandy is distilled from the leftovers of winemaking. In Australia, we’ve been doing it for well over 100 years. In the past, almost all wineries would have had a still in the shed for this purpose, and they would use the resulting spirit to fortify the sweet wines (sherry, port, muscat) that were popular for most of our post-colonial history.

Some of these spirits were also laid down in oak casks to mature into high-quality brandies in the French style, giving rise to labels like Black Bottle and St Agnes that have been around since the early 20th century. Richard Angove is a fifth-generation brandy-maker at St Agnes distillery in Renmark, South Australia. “Brandy was probably first made in the Hunter Valley in the mid-1800s, when some of Australia’s first grapevines were planted,” he says. “My great-great-grandfather Dr William T Angove first started distilling in the late 1800s and the St Agnes distillery was built in 1910. We’ve been making brandy here ever since.”

As with many things, in brandy, patience is  a virtue. “We’re lucky to have old batches that were distilled by my grandfather in the 1970s that we draw on today,” says Angove. “It’s amazing to think that some of the spirit we’re making now won’t be sold for another 40 years or so.” And at good prices, too. You can pick up a bottle of outstanding 15-year-old St Agnes for $114.

Spirits made from other fruits also have great potential in Australia. The Smith family in Tasmania’s fertile Huon Valley has managed apple orchards for four generations and built a thriving cider business, Willie Smith’s, using apples not pretty enough for the supermarket as well as varieties grown for fermentation. By double distilling a specific style of sulphur- free cider, the family also makes an excellent apple brandy, Charles Oates.

Much like distilling the leftovers from wine production, the pulp from juicing can also be fermented and distilled into brandy (known as “marc”), a technique long employed in the fruit-growing regions of Europe where brandies are common. It’s an approach that has historical precedent and represents the low-waste future of agriculture, ripe for exploitation by Australia’s fruit growers.

Brandies by Sullivans Cove and Bass & Flinders, 36 Short rakia, Seppeltsfield apera, St Agnes and Charles Oates brandies and Marionette curaçao. Photography by Edward Urrutia. Styling by Aleksandra Beare.

So why don’t Aussies drink brandy?

A few decades ago, knowing your brandy was considered a mark of refinement. Take, by way of example, a scene from 1964’s “Goldfinger” in which Sean Connery’s 007 quips to M that the brandy they’re drinking is “a 30-year-old fine, indifferently blended, sir… with an overdose of Bons Bois”. (“Fine”, by the way, is a French term used to describe high-grade French brandies, among them Cognac and Armagnac.

Varieties include Fine de Bordeaux, Fine de Bourgogne and Fine de la Marne. Bons Bois refers to Cognac that is made from grapes grown in the Bons Bois region; the cru is considered to be less ordinary than Bois Ordinaires but not as fine as Fins Bois.) But the 1980s and ’90s were a bad time for brandy as Generation X turned to vodka as its drink du jour and increasing spirits taxes led many Australian wineries to decommission their stills. In the 2000s, French brandies got a bump in sales thanks to American rappers calling out famous Cognac brands in their lyrics, but the cultural impact was far less in Australia.

While Busta Rhymes was passing the Courvoisier, the Hilltop Hoods were in the front row all covered in beer. By the time the Australian craft spirits industry started to gain traction about 10 years ago, brandy had been relegated to a few dusty bottles of overpriced Cognac on the top shelf and most Aussies thought of local brandy as the cheap stuff used for cooking.

Expert Attention

But ask an Australian bartender or sommelier how they feel about brandy and their eyes will light up like flames on a crepe suzette. “Brandy is nostalgic for me,” says Shanteh Wong, the head sommelier at Sydney’s Quay restaurant. “I will never forget the experience of drinking a Tesseron Lot 29 XO Exception. It was no more than a couple of drops — the dregs from the spirit measure — but I could detect more aromas and more emotion in that single moment than anything I had experienced before. It sent me on a path of wonderment for brandy that continues to this day.”

Along with whisky and gin, brandy plays a key role in Australia’s thriving cocktail culture. It’s a favourite of Ollie Margan, the co-owner of the Adelaide cocktail institution Maybe Mae. “The various personalities in the brandy space allow for exciting drink-making possibilities, be it a richer barrel-aged style or a crisp eau de vie,” he says. “It has the ability to stand up to citrus in a sour or works beautifully stirred down into a deeply aromatic cocktail.”

Holly Klintworth of Bass & Flinders Distillery on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula thinks the future is bright for local brandy, as renewed interest from drinkers and distillers alike drives innovation. “In Australia, we’re not bound to working with certain grape varieties sourced from certain regions, as they are in France,” she says. “This affords us great flexibility and creativity, which is really exciting for the future of the industry. It’s just a matter of time before brandy is well and truly back in fashion.”

Turns out, when it comes to brandy — as with a lot of things — Nanna was right.

A version of this article appears in print in our fourth edition, Page 58 of T Australia with the headline:
“The Hot Shots”
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Five Australian Amari to Try

Not only is it both bitter and sweet, amaro is not too high in alcohol so a splash won’t throw off the balance of your drink.

Article by Fred Siggins

Photography courtesy of Økar Island Bitter.

 

Adelaide Hills Distillery Bitter Orange

A light and citrusy aperitif-style amaro, this sits somewhere between Aperol and Campari in bitterness and palate weight. It features lots of bright orange notes with the complexity of Australian native thyme and sunrise limes, plus rosella flower for a beautiful red colour. Perfect for sunny-day sipping in a spritz or before dinner in a lighter-style Negroni. $60 – 700ml – 20% alc/vol adelaidehillsdistillery.com.au

Økar Island Bitter

Darker and richer than Adelaide Hills Distillery’s Bitter Orange, Økar Island Bitter gets its character from native red fruits, including Davidson plums and riberries, as well as strawberry gum for a woody and bittersweet palate with a long finish. Sip this on the rocks or mix it into a more complex Negroni to linger over. It’s an acquired taste, but an addictive one at that. $55 – 750ml – 24% alc/vol okar.com.au

Maidenii Nocturne Vin Amer

Vermouth maker Maidenii is a dream-team made up of the French expat winemaker Gilles Lapalus and the Australian bartender Shaun Byrne. They make Nocturne Vin Amer (French for bitter wine) on a base of aged Victorian wines spiced up with wormwood, quandong, muntries, riberries and black truffle. This complex amaro/vermouth mash-up is best enjoyed chilled in a wine glass. $69.95 – 750ml – 21.5% alc/vol onlybitters.com

Mr Black Coffee Amaro

Mr Black has capitalised on the Australian obsession with coffee like no other spirits company, producing a hugely popular coffee liqueur using locally roasted beans. Its amaro is a nod to the Italian tradition of serving after-dinner digestifs and the influence Italian migrants have had on Australian food and drink (coffee in particular). Made with arabica coffee, grapefruit peel and bitter, floral gentian, this is perfect for settling the stomach after a big meal, with a nice hit of caffeine to boot. $80 – 700ml – 28.5% alc/vol mrblack.co

Never Never Distilling Co. Dark Series Black Juniper Amaro

Known for its outstanding gins, Never Never Distilling Co. produced this limited-release amaro in collaboration with the Melbourne cocktail bar Black Pearl. Close in style to the dark and intensely bitter Italian amaro Fernet-Branca, this sensationally complex after- dinner sipper has roasted juniper berries for a burnt toffee and pine character, as well as traditional bittering agents such as wormwood and gentian. Sweet tooths need not apply. $54 – 500ml – 29% alc/vol neverneverdistilling.com.au

A version of this article appears in print in our launch edition, Page 64 of T Australia with the headline:
Bitter and Twisted
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Three Cocktails With Amaro to Lift Your Spirits

Bittersweet, complex and delicious, amaro is a spirit as diverse and fascinating as anything in the wide world of drinks.

Article by Fred Siggins

Amaro can add a floral, bitter twist to traditional cocktail recipes. Photography by Edward Urrutia

Not only is it both bitter and sweet, amaro is not too high in alcohol so a splash won’t throw off the balance of your drink. It will, however, lend a massive hit of flavour and complexity. Here are three easy cocktails you can make at home with Australian amaro.

 

Australiana Spritz

A homegrown take on the classic Aperol Spritz, this drink is super easy to make either in single serves or big jugs for groups.

30ml Adelaide Hills Distillery Bitter Orange
60ml Australian sparkling wine
60ml soda water

  1. Add all ingredients to a chilled wine glass, top with as much ice as you can fit
  2. Garnish with a slice of orange and some brined Sicilian olives.

 

Locally produced with an Australian twist: amari by (from left) Adelaide Hills Distillery, Never Never Distilling Co., Applewood Distillery’s Økar label and Mr Black. Photography by Edward Urrutia

Aussie Negroni

With all the amazing spirits being made in Australia these days, you can now mix the world’s most popular aperitif cocktail with 100 per cent Australian ingredients.

30ml Økar Island Bitter
30ml your favourite Australian dry gin
30ml Maidenii Sweet Vermouth

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker, fill with ice, stir until chilled and slightly diluted
  2. Then strain into a chilled rocks glass. Add fresh ice and garnish with a twist of orange peel.

Mallee Cocktail

This is like a Manhattan but with a more bitter and herbaceous edge. It’s named for the region where The Gospel (based in Brunswick, Melbourne) sources the grain for its rye whiskey.

50ml The Gospel Straight Rye Whiskey
15ml Never Never Distilling Co. Dark Series Black Juniper Amaro
10ml sugar syrup

  1. Add all ingredients to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker, fill with ice, stir until chilled and slightly diluted
  2. Then strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lemon peel.

A version of this article appears in print in our launch edition, Page 64 of T Australia with the headline:
Bitter and Twisted
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