Get ginspired at P.S. Bar + Kitchen in Southbank with Tasmanian gin and the finest produce from the Apple Isle.
Tasmania has long been home to some of the best produce this country has to offer, but it’s only in recent years that the Apple Isle has exploded onto the Australian – and world – gin scene. Australia’s most southern outpost’s unique climate and lush pastures have produced some of the nation’s finest fruits and world-class dairy products, and now the locals are harnessing the natural botanicals of the Apple Isle to make a splash on the gin scene.
Pure South Dining and P.S. Kitchen + Bar have made their name on Southbank’s river front strip as the perfect people watching perch to taste the best food that Tasmania has to offer, and at their recent Ginspiration event, they shone a light on the Isle’s gin producers.
Pure South’s ingredient sourcing ethos is based around three core principles: ethical producers, sustainable practices, and provenance. Working closely with Tasmania farmers, they’ve spent the last thirteen years seeking out, supporting, and forming close relationships with small, specialist growers and producers to source only the best quality and most ethical produce to create their one of a kind dishes. Pure South is the restaurant’s fine dining venue upstairs, while P.S. Kitchen + Bar is a more casual environment, perfect for winding down as the Yarra flows by.
Having had the pleasure to sample three of Tassie’s finest and most decorated gins, paired with some awesome Tasmania produce, I’ve already been researching my next road trip.
We started our gin journey with Lark Distillery’s Forty Spotted Gin, a rich and aromatic gin that takes its unique spicy notes from the Tasmania Aromatica – or Tasmanian Pepperberry – native the to the region. Their gin is perfect for neat drinking but shines especially brightly when paired with a mild tonic water and some blood orange. I enjoyed a classic G&T with StrangeLove’s No. 8 Tonic and it created a delicious, spicy, and lightly sparkling drink that was the perfect refresher for a warm Sunday afternoon.
While their standard gin is perfect as is, their summer release gin is really a show stopper. In a gorgeous limited release pink label, the summer release gin in intensely fragrant with luscious, deep rose notes creating a drinking experience that will delight even non-gin drinkers. Unapologetically floral, it starts with wall of sweet, almost Turkish Delight-esque body and mellows out a gentle botanical finish. Forty Spotted can be found in chain stores, like Dan Murphy’s, or ordered directly from the distillery via the Forty Spotted online store.
Next up was Dasher + Fisher from Southern Wild Distillery. Their trio of gin really seeks to embody the beautiful natural environment of Tasmania, with an offering each representing the ocean, meadows, and the mountains.
We had their Ocean gin paired with its soul mate: fresh Tasmanian oysters from Craig Lockwood Signature Oysters. The Ocean Gin takes its notes from an interesting source, wakame seaweed harvested off the Tasmanian coast. I was a little nervous approaching a seaweed-based gin, but the wakame is a perfect and inspired choice, imbuing the gin with a unique umami hit and a light sea spray, tempered by floral notes courtesy of locally grown lavender. Paired with fresh, unadorned oysters, Ocean shines as a distinctive and delicious standout. I loved this gin so much that when I saw it out in the wild at a hotel the next night, I treated myself to another G&T.
Distiller George Burgess is equal parts mad scientist, artist, and perfumer. Originally studying science at university and still spending hours at a time in his distilling laboratory, the passionate ginsmith travelled to France to learn all about aromas, notes, and creative layering to pick the brains of some of the finest noses in the world. Taking this knowledge, he has endeavoured to create a gin that captures a moment in time and place, and one that varies with the seasons and the soil to capture a moment. Consistency is not key for Burgess, who wants to showcase the little irregularities that a cold spell or a different soil will bring to the latest batch. This anarchistic approach has led to what he calls his “Gin Rebellion”, and for a spirit with such a colonial and formal history, Dasher +Fisher is a breath of fresh Tasmanian air.
Our third and final gin experience came courtesy of Shene Distiller’s Poltergeist gin. I don’t know what’s going bump in the night at Shene, but whatever it is it’s producing a damn fine drop. And, as the only Tasmanian gin to be awarded the Double Gold at San Francisco’s prestigious World Spirits Competition, I can confidently invoke the titular film’s classic line: “They’re here”.
The estate itself is steeped in history, built in 1819 and with connections to King George III, it was left to crumble behind locked and dusty doors until it was rescued over a decade ago by Anne and David. With two children in tow, they sought to restore the homestead to its glory. “Poltergeist” is a German word that translates to “Rumbling Spirit”, and it’s in this playful and passionate spirit that the family have set about rebuilding the homestead and creating a gin that is making huge waves.
I was lucky enough to sample their unfiltered gin. The unfiltered variety retains all of the rich botanicals to create a full-bodied flavour and fragrance that pairs beautifully with citrus or – as the team at Shene recommend – paired with fine company and gossip in the dead of night.
Head over the bridge from Flinders Street Station to visit Pure South and P.S. Bar +Kitchen, and treat yourself to some deliciously memorable Tasmanian dining and drinking experiences.
Pure South Dining and P.S. Bar + Kitchen
GR2/3 Southgate Av, Southbank
Ph#: (03) 9699 4200