From Sugar Cane to Gin

The Journey of Neutral Spirits in Distillation

Gin is a spirit that has been enjoyed for centuries, and is loved for its unique flavour and versatility. While you may know that the key ingredient in this equation will always be juniper, you may not know that there’s plenty of other variables in the distilling process before it gets to the botanical basket! 

The starting base for making a gin is a neutral spirit, which by it’s nature is of high enough purity that it’s considered ‘neutral’. For this reason, it can come from one of many sources; typical raw ingredients include grains like wheat, barley, corn and rye, potatoes, grapes and in the case of Narrow Tracks, sugar cane.

Sugar cane is one of the oldest and most widely cultivated crops in the world, and it has been historically used to make a variety of different spirits like rum and cachaça. When used to make a neutral spirit for gin, the sugar cane essences add a sweet and slightly fruity flavour to the final product.

Potatoes are also a popular choice, especially in countries like Poland and Russia where potato vodka is a staple. Whatever is chosen, these ingredients are mashed, fermented, and then distilled to create a high-proof neutral spirit that serves as a base for your tasty gin.

While the exact ingredients used to make a neutral spirit can vary depending on the distiller’s preferences and the region where it is being made, sugar cane is becoming an increasingly popular choice for gin. It has a subtle tropical edge, making it an excellent option for those looking to experiment with punchier flavours more associated with a contemporary flavour profile.

After you’ve got your neutral spirit, it is then infused and distilled with a variety of botanicals; including juniper berries (of course!), and other usual suspects like coriander and angelica root.

Whether you’re a gin connoisseur or just starting to explore the world of spirits, learning about the ingredients that go into making your favourite gins – including their base spirits – can be a great way to gain a deeper appreciation for this beloved tipple.

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This gin is a nod to you, our members. We’ve tasted hundreds of delicious Australian gins over the years and every year our tasting panel has the (really terrible) job of choosing their 12 favourite gins to share with you. It’s tough competition and they’re a very picky bunch!

Twelve months ago, we floated the idea of making something exclusively for our members; something one off and never to be repeated. It needed to be something for the collectors to add to their gin shelves and moreover, we had to make a product we were proud to share, and one delicious enough to get past our tasting panel!