From a juniper-based medicinal spirit invented by the Dutch in the 17th century and typically drunk before battle (hence ‘Dutch courage’) to the so-called ‘mother’s ruin’ that caused 18th-century women to behave in an unladylike manner and neglect their offspring in London’s gin joints, gin had a somewhat cheap and dubious reputation.
Refined distillation led to the spirit’s redemption as a classy tipple at 1920s gin palaces, and now your granny’s go-to G&T is just as popular with senior citizens and millennials alike. It even has the royal seal of approval – the Queen is reportedly particularly partial to a gin and Dubonnet and a dry gin martini daily.
For the uninitiated, gin is an unaged spirit usually flavoured with juniper and infused with a variety of botanicals such as spices, seeds, roots and citrus, even seaweed and echinacea! While typically associated with British brands, Australia is now making its name as a booming producer of award-winning, small-batch artisan gins, using our unique local flora for a distinctly Aussie flavour.
Whether you go for the classic G&T or a gin cocktail, here’s how to raise your glass in the Valley for World Gin Day on Saturday 12 June.
Of all the gin joints in all the world, Dutch Courage is Brisbane’s first gin bar and restaurant. The award-winning Alfred Street bar is draped in colonial plantation-style decor and has more than 140 gins on offer, including Aussie tipples with bush tucker ingredients. Order your G&T short or Spanish-style in a copa glass and ask the bartender for a gin recommendation, or opt for a shareable cocktail creation, such as the Hendricks Bathtub that is served, yep, in a little bathtub.
Sweet and petite, Finney Isles is your cocktail joint with a neighbourhood vibe and a flair for eye-catching gin concoctions. Go behind the blue door on Ann Street and discover the stylish seasonal menu of colourful cocktails to slake your thirst and fire up your Instagram. Gin lovers, try the Pearl Necklace with gin, raspberry, grapefruit and rhubarb bitters; or Red Riding Hood with bloody shiraz gin.
The mixmasters at Proud Henry on Wickham Street have access to Brisbane’s largest collection of gins with more than 300 types, including small-batch, artisan and rarities, sourced from all around the world. The impressive gin wall is the key to unlocking your gin journey, best savoured within the fairy-lit courtyard, historic cellar or new secret garden. The gin shop is also open for online orders, including gin-tasting flights.
Savile Row on Ann Street may be synonymous with whisky, but the stylish speakeasy also has more than 900 spirits on hand, including more than 80 different types of gin, making it the perfect place for a posh gin cocktail or two. Slide in for a High Noon, featuring a rockmelon-infused Tanqueray Gin; pull up for a Grand Central Station with Whitley Neill Blackberry Gin and whole basil infusion, or perhaps the Comings and Goings cocktail is more your taste? It’s all good if you ask us!
If you’d prefer to give your vintage bar cart an outing, stock up on your preferred gin or try a new style at the Prince Cellars within The Prince Consort complex. Open from 10am to midnight daily, ask the expert staff about the different gin styles available, or go for striking bottles such as the floral-infused, ruby-hued Ink Sloe & Berry Gin from northern NSW, Giselle Pavlova Gin, or Birmingham-based Whitley Neill small-batch flavoured gins.
– June 2021