Finally there's a gin Sydney can call its own. The team at Young Henry's, not content with brewing international award-winning beers and a knock-out cloudy apple cider, is branching into the spirit world at the end of the year.
Punters will have a chance to sample the gin on Saturday, September 20, at the Young Henry's Small World Street Festival in Marrickville.
Oscar McMahon, a Young Henry's brewer and ambassador, says moving into gin is a logical step for Young Henry's.
"It came about after a drunken conversation one night," he says.
"We did a test batch and everyone was pretty psyched on it.
"Gin has similar principles to beer in that it's all about balance. You start with something sweet and malty and add acidity, bitterness and aromatics via hops. London-dry-style gins like ours are made with a base alcohol and that's distilled after adding botanicals."
Young Henry's Noble Cut gin achieves its aroma and flavour through hops, cascara (the cherry-fruit skins of the coffee plant), an Australian-grown green tea, native pepperberry, coriander, bush tomato, juniper, coriander, angelica root and other botanicals.
"It really sings in a gin and tonic when the hop notes come through," McMahon says.
Once the gin is released commercially, Young Henry's also hopes to release a "white whisky".
"It's a whisky made to be drank young," McMahon says. "To create a barrel-aged product like Jack Daniel's you make a sour mash, but what we're doing is a sweet mash. You get a sweeter spirit that doesn't taste like the whisky you're used to. Whisky picks up colour and flavour from the barrel it's aged it in, so with a white whisky not seeing the inside of a barrel, you can taste the flavours of the grains used. It's more vegetative and hot. A really nice sipper or shooter."
Young Henry's gin made its first public appearance at TEDx Sydney in April. The Small World Street Festival on Saturday, September 20 will be the gin's second outing.
"It's our first festival. We're blocking off a little street in Marrickville near the Factory Theatre, erecting an outdoor stage, and putting on the kind of music we want to listen to," McMahon says.
Artists in the lineup include Aussie hard-rockers Tumbleweed, the Brylcreem-loving Snowdroppers, and the gritty, bluesy Delta Riggs.
Expect burgers from Mary's, a seasonal spring salad from Cornersmith and polenta with gorgonzola sauce and barbecue squid from Bloodwood. In the Porteno corner there'll be a choice of chorizo or blood-sausage rolls served with barbecued peppers, onions, and chimichurri.
Child-friendly attractions include a face-painting booth, ice-cream stand and soft drinks.
"A cool part of curating this festival was being able to choose the restaurants and choose the bands," McMahon says. "Pretty much everyone we've chosen are not only awesome, inspirational inner-westies, but they're all friends. The day's going to have a really nice vibe. A celebration of the inner-west lifestyle."
On top of its endeavours into spirits and music festivals, the Newtown business is also setting up a new brewery in West Australia, at an old dairy farm in Margaret River.
"It's going to be the Young Henry's beer farm," McMahon says.
"It'll have the same sort of attitude, ethos, philosophy and excitement as the Newtown brewery but also sympathetic to the location.
"The idea is that instead of building some kind of colossal brewery we can ship beer all over Australia from, why not set up another smaller site and start feeding the beer into Margaret River and Perth so the beer is still fresh? Beer is best consumed as soon as you can - it's also pretty fragile and doesn't travel well.
"The whole Young Henry's ideology is about beer for your community. I go to local bakeries like Luxe, Sonoma or Brickfields to get my bread, and in that sense locals come to us to get their beer."
The team hopes to be brewing beer out of the Margaret River site by November.
The Young Henry's Small World Festival will be held on Jabez Street, Marrickville (near the Factory Theatre) on Saturday, September 20. Tickets are $59 and are available at younghenrys.com/smallworld