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Things you only know if you're a gin distiller

By
Cassidy Knowlton
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... according to Cameron Mackenzie, chief distiller of Four Pillars gin

What makes gin, well, gin

“As long as there is a discernible juniper character you have a great deal of room to move. It’s like painting. The canvas is juniper, but what you choose to blend over and above this is unique. You have amazing botanicals that cover spice, floral, savoury or citrus. And within those categories there are dozens of options. Add to this the amazing local botanicals on offer, and there are thousands of possibilities.”

How to multitask while gin is distilling

“The stills have been filled the night before so we can start to heat them up. Oranges are freshly cut every day and loaded into the botanical basket as the stills are heating. Then [we do] coffee and emails, and we do a mountain of paperwork, dilute gins for bottling, look at various barrels’ blends, weigh out more botanicals. If we are bottling we are on and off the bottling line, pay tax (every Monday!). There isn’t much down time!” 

What to do with ginny fruit and botanicals

“All of our gin-steamed oranges are turned into the most amazing marmalade. We feed our spent botanicals to some local, rare breed Berkshire pigs. This has led to our Gin Pig Dinner series, where we work with great chefs. And Jack Holman, our local cheesemaker, uses some of the liquid from the stills to make a washed-rind cheese.” 

What absolutely does not belong in gin, ever

“Not everything sees the light of day. I always laugh at the asparagus gin attempt. Not sure what we were thinking, but it was a epic failure – there’s a surprise!” 

How to cure a hangover

“Dumplings. Just dumplings.”

Want to know where to make use of delicious gin? Check out the best cocktail bars in Melbourne. And if you are also in need of a hangover cure, we've got a list of Melbourne's best dumplings

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