The one in the clear bottle, he’s the little brother. A refreshing spirit, capped at 40%abv and lovingly washed in the waters of the Margaret River before being shipped out for your enjoyment. He carries a strong punch of citrus, shines in a Gin and Tonic, or in a Martini made with Lillet. Test him in an Aviation, hide a little Creme de Cacao behind him in a 20th Century, Lime him up in a Rickey or a Gimlet. This is a gin that can stand up against anything in the world and it’s being made right here in Australia, by Jason Chan and his band of merry men.
The dude in green, he’s the big brother. Slipped into the bottle at 100 proof (50%abv,) if you’re not careful he’ll knock your fucking block off. The higher percentage give’s “The Cutlass” a great punch at a first sip, what follows is again citurs forward, but with a curious difference. The addition of Australian natives wattle, lemon myrtle and the bush tomato craft a finish that is highly unusual and extremely tasty. Test it out in a Pink Gin, a martini with Noilly Prat, luxuriate over your morning rituals with The Cutlass in your Red Snapper, partner it with pretty much any savoury herb, think Basil, Rosemary or Lemon Thyme. Funk it up a little with any of the savoury teas, Lapsang Soochong goes great guns. This is a singular product that will be talked about and sought after all around the world. There’s also a signature cocktail, that I’ll be whipping up over the weekend.
Yes, those are wine bottles that it comes in, and their are no plans to change that. “The history of Margaret River is the production of really fine wines, we wanted to give a nod to that provenance as we start a new legend or premium spirit production” Chan explains. “We will be etching the bottles as production ramps up”
Distribution is being sorted out right now, it sounds as though Neil Perry is keen to add it to his Beetroot Snapper, Golden Monkey too will be an early Melbourne stockist and Flinders will be one of the first cabs off the rank for you Sydneysiders keen to get a taste too. One of Chan’s partners has connections to an online channel too, so those inside and out of Australia will be able to source a bottle, hopefully without too much trouble.
The Greenhouse, the upcoming pop up concept collaboration between Chan and Dutch born architect Joost Bakker will also be serving up Tradewinds, so get down and check it out when it opens in a couple of weeks time. They’ll be making the tonic water on site, so expect the best G&T’s this side of the Royal Geographic Society.
This is the start of a journey for Chan and his Margaret River Distillery, I hear murmurs of vodka and hopefully much more. The product is awesome, so it’s got to be a space to watch with interest.