Overwhelmed by the array of gins out there? You're not alone. Curious concoctions are popping up across the country like meerkats at meal time. There are flavours and botanical medleys for every whim. These three gins, using Australian-grown fruit, hit all the right notes. From Victorian-grown citrus, to fresh strawberries and juicy Riverland mulberries – they're great straight, on ice or with mixers.
Four Pillars Fresh Yuzu Gin, Yarra Valley, Vic, $80
If you're not on the yuzu train, you should be. The citrus (originally from China, Tibet and Japan) looks a bit like an ugly lemon, and delivers kaleidoscope of lemon zest, grapefruit, kumquat and mandarin aromatics. They're all here in the latest addition to the Four Pillars list. The team sourced yuzu from grower pals in Victoria and added ginger, turmeric, sencha genmaicha (Japanese green tea made with roasted brown rice) to the mix. The result is edgy and inspired. Add soda water, ice, and a lemon wedge. 41.8 per cent alcohol.
Find it at the Yarra Valley distillery door and fourpillarsgin.com
Poor Toms Strawberry Gin, Sydney, NSW, $79
Fun fact: this strawberry delight was originally made for guests at a family wedding but proved so popular, the Poor Toms team added it to their arsenal. Like their Marrickville gin hall, this beverage is all character (starting with the salacious label art). On the eye, the liquid is Molly Ringwald's wardrobe, circa 1986 film Pretty in Pink. The gin was made using steeped fresh strawberries, fresh ginger, cardamom and hibiscus flowers. Pour a splash and sit with it (straight) for a while. It's like wild strawberries grow and burst from the glass. Mesmerising. 40 per cent alcohol.
Find it at poortoms.com
23rd Street Distillery Mulberry Gin, Riverland, SA, $80
The crew at this Riverland distillery are an imaginative bunch. Study the fine print and they'll tell you that ripe mulberries are so delicate they employed a specialist team of kittens to gently pluck fruit with their velveteen paws. It's almost believable. Breathe deep for evocative childhood memories of mulberry-picking adventures and lips and digits stained with juice. On the palate, it is sweet up front with a tart orange zest finish. Very pretty in the glass, if purple is your jam. Serve with soda water and sprig of rosemary. 40 per cent alcohol.
Find it at the Renmark distillery door and liquorland.com.au