When the schedule for Tasting Australia was first released, one of the share sessions immediately stood out to me; Botanicals and Bootlegging - the art of Blending your own gin, run by the head of KISpirits, Jon and Sarah Lark. I expressed interest one night at dinner and found that my mum would also be keen on heading along…next thing I know, tickets are booked, time flies and suddenly it's May and time for our Gin session.
We rocked up, were directed onto the stage and given all of our ingredients and utensils for the session.
First part of the session was Jon Lark talking about Gin, his company, KISpirits and their history with Gin and just what he hoped we would get out of the session. Listening to him talk, it is clear to see how passionate he is about his spirits and that he hopes to change the stigma attached to Gin, in that people see it as "an older persons drink". The session itself proved this incorrect, as a majority of the class was under 30 years of age!
KISpirits are known for being "traditional" in their Gin making. They blend a combination of Juniper, Coriander and Angelica Botanical Distillates to make a base Gin, then proceed to add different flavoured Botanicals to achieve the taste they want.
And then we went off to do just that...
We got given 10 Botanicals to choose from; Juniper, Coriander, Angelica, Cinnamon, Lemon, Cardamon, Aniseed, Orange, Ginger and Mint.
We were then told that Jon and Sarah had provided us with enough Juniper Distillates to form the base for 250mL of our own Gin blend; 200mL for a take home bottle and 50mL to drink on the spot.
Jon recommended starting off with 70-75mLof Juniper as a base and then blending in our chosen botanicals and if we liked the taste of it after that, to then multiply that amount until we reached 250mL.
Looking back, I still don't know how I managed to make it all work and have it taste as good as it does….I'm terrible at Maths. Enough said.
And voila! I have my very own blend of Juniper, Coriander, Cinnamon, Cardamon and Lemon Distillates :)
If you're ever visiting Kangaroo Island, be sure to pop in and see Jon, Sarah and the gang at their Cellar Door at Cygnet River. If you're not a Gin fan, no need to worry - I visited them almost 3 years ago and feel in love with all their products - the Limoncello was my favourite back then ;)