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
· 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
· 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 email@example.com
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