More than 20 distillers from across the country have collaborated for the first time this year to take gin lovers and discoverers on a tour of Australia’s booming craft gin scene via an advent calendar for grown-ups.
The 2017 Australian Gin Advent Calendar contains 24 miniature bottles of gin to sample each day of December in the lead up to Christmas, including a range of styles to help you find your niche within this highly inventive spirits category.
Each collector-friendly bottle carries a compact version of the brand label and at 50ml offers a more substantial and shareable sip than the standard 30ml measure found in most spirits-based calendars. Featured producers include iconic brands such as Hobart-based McHenry as well as newcomers to the market this year from New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
Many of the gins are international award winners, some of them difficult to find because they sell out so quickly and others showcasing recipes that will be new to even the most knowledgable gin connoisseur. Whisky fans alike can look forward to a dry gin from Sullivans Cove made using the same barley-derived base spirit as the world-famous single malt.
The $295 calendar, which is illustrated with native botanicals and comes with distiller tasting notes and serving suggestions by Phillip 'Martini Whisperer' Jones, represents an affordable way to sample 24 of Australia's best and rarest gins – not least when compared with how much you would pay for the equivalent 40 measures in a bar or restaurant.
David Box, founder of Gintonica and driving force behind the calendar, says: “Like our winemakers, Australia’s gin distillers are at the absolute cutting edge when it comes to developing new expressions or recipes and are moving away from generic styles to ones that evoke terroir, including using botanicals like Tasmanian pepperberry or golden wattle to name just two.”
He adds: “The calendar is an exploration of what’s happening in our distilleries right now, so it introduces some surprising spirits you might never get to try otherwise as well as definitive examples of barrel-aged and navy-strength styles, sipping and cocktail-perfect gins.”
Whittling down the Australia-wide list of gins from around 85 distillers turned up some interesting trends according to David, including a number of gins with the perfect flavour profile for pairing with southeast Asian cuisine. Inspired by a feverish reception on social media and rapid early sales of the calendar, he now plans to launch a 'Gin-a-Month' subscription service giving spirits lovers the chance to taste four new gins and other gin-related goodies for around $45 per month.
Also coming soon from Gintonica is the 2018 Guide to Australian Gin, a compendium of stories about the people and methods involved in Australia’s booming gin industry.
Order your Australian Gin Advent Calendar at gintonica.com.au by November 27 to ensure delivery for December (limited stocks remain).
Next article: James Atkinson on a new wave of Australian spirits