From a juniper-based medicinal spirit invented by the Dutch in the 17th century and typically drunk before battle (hence ‘Dutch courage’) to the so-called ‘mother’s ruin’ that caused 18th-century women to behave in an unladylike manner and neglect their offspring in London’s gin joints, gin had a somewhat cheap and dubious reputation.
 
Refined distillation led to the spirit’s redemption as a classy tipple at 1920s gin palaces, and now your granny’s go-to G&T is just as popular with senior citizens and millennials alike. It even has the royal seal of approval – the Queen is reportedly particularly partial to a gin and Dubonnet and a dry gin martini on a daily basis.
 
For the uninitiated, gin is an unaged spirit usually flavoured with juniper and infused with a variety of botanicals such as spices, seeds, roots and citrus, even seaweed and echinacea! While typically associated with British brands, Australia is now making its name as a booming producer of award-winning, small-batch artisan gins, using our unique local flora for a distinctly Aussie flavour.
 
Whether you go for the classic G&T or whip up a gin cocktail such as the Strawberry Rhubarb Sour from Proud Henry Winebar & Ginoteca below, here’s how to raise your glass in the Valley for World Gin Day on Saturday 13 June.
 
Strawberry Rhubarb Sour
Ingredients:
·       50ml strawberry gin (we use Poor Toms Strawberry Gin or Winston Quinn Pink Fit Gin)
·       25ml lemon juice
·       20ml rhubarb syrup (mix 1 cup water, 1 cup castor sugar, 1 cup rhubarb and reduce by about half on the stove)
·       10ml egg white, or 10ml aquafaba (canned chickpea liquid) for a vegan version
 
Method:
·       Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and dry-shake vigorously (no ice!)
·       Add ice 
·       Shake for a few more seconds
·       Double strain and pour in a coupette glass
·       Garnish with freeze-dried raspberries and/or edible flowers.
 
Dutch Courage Officers’ Mess
 
Of all the gin joints in all the world, Dutch Courage is Brisbane’s first gin bar and restaurant. The award-winning Alfred Street bar is draped in colonial plantation-style decor and has more than 140 gins on offer, including Aussie tipples with bush tucker ingredients. Order your G&T short or Spanish-style in a copa glass and ask the bartender for a gin recommendation, or opt for a shareable cocktail creation, such as the Hendricks Bathtub that is served, yep, in a little bathtub. 
 
Proud Henry Winebar & Ginoteca
 
The mixmasters at Proud Henry have access to Brisbane’s largest collection of gins with more than 300 types, including small-batch, artisan and rarities, sourced from all around the world. The impressive gin wall is the key to unlocking your gin journey, best savoured within the fairy-lit courtyard or the secret garden that is the Birds Nest. Bookings essential via info@proudhenry.com.au

Savile Row
 
Savile Row on Ann Street may be synonymous with whisky, but the stylish speakeasy also has more than 900 spirits on hand, too, making it the perfect place for a posh gin cocktail or two. While we wait for Savile Row to reopen in mid-July, you can order take-home gin cocktails, such as the classic Italian Negroni, or Ever Effervescent – a mix of two gins with vanilla and Davidson plum. Cocktails are $15 each and can be ordered via the Savile Row Facebook and Instagram accounts for pickup from Thursday to Saturday between 3-7pm.
 
Valley Wine Shop
 
If you’d prefer to give your vintage bar cart an outing, stock up on your preferred gin or try a new style at the Valley Wine Shop. Open from 10am to midnight daily, ask the staff about the different gin styles available, or go for eye-catching bottles such as the floral-infused, ruby-hued Ink Sloe & Berry Gin from northern NSW, or Birmingham-based Whitley Neil small-batch flavoured gins.

 

Image Source: Proud Henry Winebar & Ginoteca 

 

— June 2020