We distill Gingle Bells Gin and our Finger Lime Gin in our craft distillery 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!
Our Juniper is from the Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria and we buy direct from the high altitude pickers and fly it to Sydney for ultimate freshness. Our juniper spends 7 months of the year under snow and takes 2 years to mature into large plump berries (actually cones) with an incredible depth of flavour and smoothness. Nobody else in Australia uses juniper from this origin. The Rhodope Mountains are so named after the Thracian Queen Rhodope was turned into a mountain (the very one our juniper grows on) by the Greek god Zeus!
We also use Corriander Seed from Western Australia, Cardamom from India and the world’s finest Madagascan Vanilla beans (over $2,000 per kg!) for our base gin recipe.
We grow many of the native ingredients we use in our gin on our 80 acre farm at Kurrajong Heights where we have 1,600 11 year old finger lime trees, Davidsons Rainforest Plums, Pepperberries, Kaffir Lime and Tahitian Lime trees. Unlike other distilleries who have a few herbs and a lemon tree growing in their garden and pretend to grow their own botanicals - We actually do! We also have our own farms & processing centres for wild hibiscus flowers in Malaysia and butterfly pea flowers in Thailand.
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