We distill Gingle Bells Gin and our Finger Lime Gin in our craft distillery at McGraths Hill about an hours drive northwest of Sydney in the beautiful Hawkesbury Valley. Chief distiller is Lee Etherington the creater of Gingle Bells who has consulted with over 100 distillers, brewers and wineries around the world helping them develop award winning products.
Lee has worked with specialty botanicals for the past 25 years. Our Distillation Engineer is Dave Bridger. Dave has over 40 years experience in distillation and is one of the most experienced and qualified distillation engineers in Australia.
We have 2 stills a 120L research still named Lina- the Little Dragon this is where our recipes and formulations are developed and perfected. Each gin may take many experiments to get right. Once it is perfect then we run the recipe on our bigger 380L production still.
This still's name is 'Iris', which means rainbow in Greek – Iris is named after Dave’s wife. Rainbow is also appropriate since we make such colourful and beautiful gin's!
Dave actually came out of retirement to help Lee and his brother Sam build the distillery. It is a fully customised design and very innovative in how it works. We can actually run the 2 stills together in a special way which nobody else does! we also use vastly oversized gin baskets so we can impart LOADS of flavour into our big bottles of gin!
The art of distillation involves vaporising and purifying pure alcohol as it travels up the column of the still. Each round window is another stage of purification.
The vapour then passes through our custom oversized gin basket which contains the specially chosen botanicals. This is where the magic happens turning the alcohol and water vapour into gin! After it picks up the aroma and flavour from the botanicals we condense the vapour into a liquid and out comes the gin!
Juniper from Macedonia, Corriander Seed from Western Australia and the world’s finest Madagascan Vanilla beans (over $2,000 per kg!) give our gin its wonderful smooth taste.
We grow many of the ingredients we use in our gin on our 80 acre farm at Kurrajong Heights where we have 1,500 10 year old finger lime trees, Davidsons Rainforest Plums, Kaffir Lime and Tahitian Lime trees.
We have specialised in creating intense flavoured brightly coloured all natural gins which are Made For Mixing!
Once the gin is finished it is aged and then we infuse the gin to give it its colour. This is done using:
- Snow Chrysanthemum from the Himilayan Mountains in Tibet
- Pepperberry which grows on our farm at Kurrajong Heights
- Wattleseed from the arid zone of South Australia
- Butterfly Pea Flower which is grown on our farms in Thailand
- Hibsicus Flower grown on our farms in Malaysia
- Finger Limes grown on our farm at Kurrajong Heights