Australian Dry Gin | Naught Distillery
The man at the helm of Naught Distillery is none other than Chris Cameron, former professional basketball player turned full-time gin distiller. We were lucky enough to sit down with Chris in his brand-new gin bar in Eltham, Victoria, to hear about all things Naught and their journey to date.
Naught’s story all started after a much-needed escape from the world of professional sport; the extensive travel schedule was not conducive to a growing family’s needs. Chris had taken the time to complete a degree in teaching whilst playing basketball in the States, which allowed him to take up a position in a primary school in Montmorency once they were home on Australian soil. Although he loved teaching, he still felt like there was something missing. A bit of research into distilling and alcohol production led Chris to purchasing his first still. He began experimenting just for fun, but after hours of honing his skills, it was clear that this was where Chris’ passion lay.
A separate dream of Chris’ had been to own a wine bar. He realised that this type of business aligned quite nicely with his newfound interest in distilling. With all signs pointing in the same direction, it was time for Chris to open his own distillery and gin bar.
The name ‘Naught’ came about from Chris’ love of numbers - after reeling through every number he could think of he always came back to naught. Why? Interestingly, he had found an old-world meaning of the number that lay separate to its modern definition of zero or nothing. It had a negative connotation to it, and was defined as ‘lost, morally bad or wicked’. To Chris this embodies what gin used to be known for; its reputation for being both desired and wicked. This is what eventually inspired Naught’s mantra; ‘playfully wicked but distinctly elegant’.
With the name locked in, Chris embarked on the next stage of his journey - to make great tasting gin. Hours and hours were spent in his kitchen distilling, measuring, weighing and blending (in his words) horrible tasting gin. After 300+ small distillations his final recipe was ready, and the next steps could begin.
This wasn’t a half-venture, in early 2020 the two partners were willing to commit both time and energy into creating the best distillery and bar that they possibly could. Unbeknownst to them, COVID was around the corner and would hit Australian shores just two months into their build. It was a nervous time for the team, without an end to the pandemic in sight, the partners made the decision to use the delay to ensure that every aspect of the bar and distillery was perfect. This pushed the build time out to 18 months, but the care used in their approach has paid off in dividends and is evident in every encounter with their brand.
Chris Cameron in front of Abigail the still
Simply put, the distillery and accompanying bar are stunning. The Naught team were fortunate to have Studio Y design their venue. Studio Y, in their own words, ‘create bespoke spatial experiences that are a potent mixture of constructive imagination and playful practicality’. What Studio Y has delivered is a high-end, classy and intriguing 1920s speakeasy seating 150 people both inside and out.
When first entering the distillery you will notice Abigail, a painting of a Spanish beauty who watches over everyone who crosses the threshold. There is, however, another (arguably more important) Abigail who you will see as you turn the corner into the main bar. This Abigail is of course the 800L Carl still that stands centre stage through a magnificent cut-through at the end of the bar. The still was made in Germany by one of the best still manufacturers in the world. She is a magnificent piece of equipment that makes an equally magnificent spirit. The team have purposefully made it easy to get up close and have a look at her because they feel she needs to be seen in all of her glory to be truly appreciated! We would have to agree, she is certainly one of the highlights of the show!
About Australian Dry Gin
Naught’s beautiful contemporary Australian Dry Gin is their hero product. It has juniper and citrus up front and is lovely and delicate on the nose. Warming cassia and pepperberry give a nice spice note mid-palate and then a lick of anise shows its head before a long, smooth and creamy finish. It is easy to drink, has a lovely mouth feel and pairs well with sweet citrus and a full tonic.
Naught Australian Dry Gin features ten botanicals in its recipe, not all of them for taste. Some botanicals are there to help give body to the gin, some help meld all the other botanicals together, and others provide the flavour profile. Botanicals that feature in the gin’s flavour profile include juniper, orange, lemon (from coriander seed), cassia, and wattleseed.
Other Naught Products
Naught are currently developing their product range. Their first venture after their London Dry is their Overproof (or Navy strength). This powerful spirit is a big, bold, citrussy number and is something that suits an Aviation-type cocktail, where you want a big, punchy juniper hit. This is available
Naught are currently developing their product range. Their first venture after their London Dry is their Overproof (or Navy strength). This powerful spirit is a big, bold, citrussy number and is something that suits an Aviation-type cocktail, where you want a big, punchy juniper hit. This is available both online and in the distillery.
I don’t need to spend any more time selling a visit to Naught Distillery. If you like a gin, which I am sure you do at this point, then Naught is a destination that I am confident is now on your map. Chris and the team are ready to welcome you with open arms, both Abigails are waiting and the drinks are on ice! We look forward to seeing you there!
Gin and Tonic Pairing
This month’s gin pairs with a full-flavoured tonic, we have chosen FeverTree Mediterranean.
- 30ml Naught Australian Dry Gin
- 90ml FeverTree Mediterranean Tonic
- A wedge of fresh / dried orange
Method: Add a heap of ice and serve in a nice big glass. For those who like it a bit stronger, a 2:1 ratio is also lovely!
Naught Gin and Tonic
Australian Dry Gin
Clear and Bright
Sweet and delicate on the nose
Juniper and citrus upfront, with warming cassia and pepperberry providing a mid-palate spice
Juniper, orange, coriander seed, cassia, wattleseed, star anise, pepperberry, chamomile, licorice root
Spice with a long, smooth finish
Cocktail of the Month
The Casino Cocktail
Picture - The Casino Cocktail
- 50ml Naught Gin
- 20ml Lemon juice (fresh)
- 10ml Maraschino
- 10ml simple syrup
- 2 dashes of orange bitters
Shake over ice for 30 seconds, strain into a chilled Nick and Nora glass.
Garnish with a wheel of orange.