Gin has a lengthy history, its origins dating back to the Middle Ages. There’s a reference in a 13th Century Flemish manuscript to a spirit made from grains such as rye, malted barley, sometimes even corn that was the basis of gin.
By the 1600s, it were the Dutch who were producing the world’s greatest variety of gin, with hundreds of distilleries in Amsterdam alone.
Gin was primarily produced as a medicine since when consumed in large quantities, it helped numb the symptoms of ailment – like most alcohol would.
Once the liquor crossed the English Channel it went gangbusters, and by 1720 it was estimated that as many as a quarter of the households in London alone frequently produced their own gin.
Nowadays, the production of gin is widespread the world over, with gin distilleries having popping up from Scotland (for old-school) to Spain (just over a litre per person consumed), Belgium to Beijing, and in Australia from Margaret River to the Yarra Valley.
At the start of this decade, there were fewer than 10 gin distilleries in Australia; now there are more than 180.
Just in time for Christmas and the new year, the West Australian spirit market welcomes Perth Gin, an artisan small batch gin developed to capture the spirit of the W.A. capital.
While most gins see juniper berries or juniper extract stealing focus – indeed, gin gets its name from the Dutch word for juniper, genever – Perth Gin’s hero botanical is warming boronia, paired with lemon myrtle so as to linger on the palate, leaving a crisp finish… or zing!
The gin lends itself well to ice, tonic or a dry martini but also makes for a quality ingredient in cocktails. In martini form, it’s a great substitute for vodka and perfect with just a dash of vermouth. On the cocktail end, try mixing it with lemon juice, pear puree, apple juice and a pinch of cinnamon for something very refreshing.
The bottle itself is perfectly designed to represent Perth, with its main motif being golden rays of sunshine stamped on an azure blue label to connote surf, sun, sand, sea and, yes, a hint of affluence. There’s also a repeated design of roundish leaves to represent boronia and lemon myrtle flowers.
Perth Gin is distilled in Margaret River and created by Australian Distilling Co’s Michael Hickinbotham along with master distiller Dr Graham Jones.
“We wanted to create something that reflected the sunny disposition of this beautiful city,” says Hickinbotham. “The blue waters, gorgeous sunsets, something that captures what Perth is all about … with Western Australian flavours at the centre.”
We’ll drink to that!
Antonino Tati & Lisa Andrews
Perth Gin is available in quality liquor outlets, RRP $75.00 for 700ml.
Photographs courtesy of nowandthenphotography.com.au.