Mercury (Hobart) - Magazine - - Travel - WITH TONY LOVE

There’s no deny­ing Tas­ma­nia’s lead­ing role in the story of Aus­tralian whisky. Now, there’s also some­thing even more gen­uinely lo­cal in the spirit world with the Abel Gin Co’s gins us­ing Tasmanian botan­i­cals and the log­i­cal next step with a pre-blended Ne­groni, which car­ries on the bot­tle as its sub­ti­tle “Na­tive Tasmanian Gin Cock­tail”.

Be­hind this proudly Tasmanian ex­er­cise are for­mer Jansz sparkling wine­maker Natalie Fr­yar and busi­ness part­ner Kim Sea­gram, of Launce­s­ton’s Still­wa­ter Restau­rant and Black Cow Bistro. What they’ve come up with is noth­ing less than as­tound­ing.

The gins are de­signed for two oc­ca­sions. Essence, with a more re­fresh­ing, cit­rus and floral note to the flavours, is suited to day­time gin-and-tonic-style sip­ping; while Quin­tes­sence is darker, spicier and richer, and suited for nightlife cock­tails such as mar­ti­nis and ne­gro­nis.

And then there’s the Abel Gin Co Ne­groni ($66, 375ml; equiv­a­lent to eight stan­dard drink pours), which takes the idea of an all-Aus­tralian cock­tail to a whole new level.

Abel’s Ne­groni, tra­di­tion­ally one-third each of gin, Cam­pari and ver­mouth on ice with a slice of or­ange, uses its Quin­tes­sence gin as its back­bone, made with Tasmanian Kun­zea bush and fresh pep­per­berry among its blend of botan­i­cals.

Next, in­stead of the im­ported Ital­ian Cam­pari bit­ter aper­i­tif, Fr­yar works with an Aus­tralian in­ter­pre­ta­tion known as “The Ital­ian” Bit­ter Or­ange liqueur made by Sacha La For­gia at the Ade­laide Hills Dis­tillery, a less bit­ter yet still de­light­fully aro­matic ex­pres­sion of the clas­sic amaro.

The Ne­groni’s Tasmanian se­cret, how­ever, is Fr­yar’s brave use of the is­land’s spiky hawthorn tree berries, which fruit in au­tumn, hedgerow af­ter hedgerow af­ter hedgerow.

“I har­vested the hawthorns be­cause I had a real be­lief they could do some­thing very spe­cial,” says Fr­yar, who blended the berries with in­fu­sions of Seville or­ange, an­gel­ica root, sloe berries and vanilla.

“In the spirit of ex­per­i­men­ta­tion I made the liqueur – it was so beau­ti­ful with an in­cred­i­ble spice and nut­ti­ness, and it be­came clear it could take the role of an Ital­ian ver­mouth in a Ne­groni and make this a truly Tasmanian ex­pe­ri­ence.

“It could marry my twin de­sires to make a Ne­groni and to utilise these sea­sonal wild plants of Tas­ma­nia.”

The ready-to-pour cock­tail is a taste­ful and ap­proach­able ver­sion of Ne­groni, not as ag­gres­sive as the clas­sic Ital­ian Cam­pari and ver­mouth mixes yet burst­ing with flavour.

Abel Gin Co Ne­groni is avail­able in good liquor stores and on tap at Saint John Craft Beer Bar in Launce­s­ton and Em­press Craft Beer Bar at Devonport.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.