Narrow Tracks Distilling | Dog Days Gin


Dog Days
noun [plural] 

1. Hot, sultry summer days. 

2. A period marked by lethargy, inactivity, or indolence. 


Doug Thorpe and Bec Zammit

Bec Zammit and Doug Thorpe have been partners in crime for 20 years, and had always dreamed of combining their love of travel with ownership of their very own business. In the mid-2000s they set off from Tamworth NSW to explore all that Australia has to offer. When visiting Cairns, they found themselves feeling quite at home – they decided to settle and have been there ever since. 

In 2020, like many others, Bec and Doug were majorly affected by the impacts of COVID-19. Doug was working as an aircraft engineer at the time, Bec as a travel agent. Their entire industry came to an abrupt halt; Doug was stood down and Bec lost her job all together. They were faced with a decision: either sit back and wait for the storm to pass, or be brave and follow their dreams.

Bec and Doug are certainly not the type of people to twiddle their thumbs and sit idly while waiting for things to improve. They had always loved cooking and entertaining, so transforming their budding hobby of distilling into something more serious made perfect sense. It also fit nicely with their love of travel. Exploring the globe allows them to bring new experiences home and build them into new flavour creations.  

Truth be told, Bec and Doug didn’t need to travel far for inspiration. Living in such a beautiful part of the world, surrounded by an abundance of fresh produce and sugar cane fields was more than enough inspiration to get them started. 

“Queensland is traversed by roughly 4000km of train tracks that are used solely for the transportation of cane, and it is these narrow-gauge tracks that were the inspiration behind our name” explains Bec.

With Bec and Doug’s passion for supporting local, they wanted to showcase their region’s sugar cane as much as they could. They began fermenting their very own cane-based spirit and now proudly feature this across their entire range of products. 

Nowadays they’re busy operating from a small industrial shed just north of the Cairns CBD. It’s predominantly a production space but they do occasionally open their doors for visitors to see where the magic happens. Guests can enjoy tasting flights, cocktails and a gorgeous view over Lumley Hill – all whilst surrounded by distilling equipment of course. The space is unpretentious; think makeshift furnishings of recycled pallets and large timber spools, comfy day beds and a simple game of cornhole in the courtyard. The tasting bar sits opposite ‘Yvonne’, their gleaming 400-litre stainless and copper still, so guests are fully immersed in the intricacies of the gin making process.

About Dog Days Gin

The term ‘Dog Days’ refers to the hottest and most humid days of the year. If you’ve ever spent any time in Far North Queensland, you’ll know this refers to most days! Bec and Doug wanted to create a bright, fresh gin that was perfect to beat the heat and humidity.

Whole oranges, juniper berries and cardamom are macerated in their boiler for 24 hours, then the gin basket is packed full of macadamia nuts, angelica root, cardamom, black pepper, orange flesh and peel, lime flesh and peel, finger limes and lemon aspen. These botanicals, many sourced locally, pack a real citrus punch that is perfect on a hot summer’s day, while the smooth mouthfeel and lingering oils make it equally as lovely to sip on during the cooler months. 

Although it only took the duo four attempts to hit the mark creating a sample recipe that they loved, it was more of a challenge to scale the recipe to suit Yvonne. The time spent scaling, tweaking and perfecting the recipe has clearly paid off; Bec and Doug have since collected some of the world’s most coveted awards for their Dog Days Gin. In 2022 they took home Double Gold from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Silver from the London Spirits Competition. Dog Days makes a cracking G&T when paired with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic and a slice of orange, and it’s especially delicious when served alongside Sweet Potato and Goat’s Cheese Bruschetta on a balmy evening. 

Other Products in the Range

The Narrow Tracks range is growing and not surprisingly, it’s expanding with other award-winning products. Alongside their incredible Dog Days Gin, Narrow Tracks have created a juniper-forward Dry Gin and a decadent Pink Gin by steeping strawberries in a soft London Dry base. You’ll also find two fun and delicious Moonshines available via their website and cellar door – Old School Lemonade and Apple Pie; sign us up! Come 2024, we’ll see the release of their recently produced rum. Like their Dog Days gin, all products are created using the beautiful column still, utilising many locally grown and harvested products. Whatever you try, you’re guaranteed a drinking experience that captures the heart and soul of Far North QLD.

Further afield, the sights, sounds and tastes from around the world are also continuing to inspire the Narrow Tracks Duo. Drawing upon her heritage, Bec is excited to be working on a brand-new Mediterranean Style gin featuring olives, thyme, lemon and basil. We haven’t yet tried anything similar that has been produced with a cane-based spirit – we cannot wait to see what she comes up with next! 

One last thing...

Tell us about the Narrow Tracks journey so far!  
“Working with cane fermentations can be interesting. Mid last year Bec arrived at the distillery to find a new ferment had fought its way free of its tank, creating a foam volcano that continued erupting for the next few hours. The clean-up was fun… and we learnt our lesson to not overfill our fermentation tanks...” 

Bec and Doug, what are your favourite parts about owning and operating a distillery?
“Owning a Distillery! We love the freedom to create a product and share it with people that love it. It’s rewarding to put in the hard yards and have people genuinely enjoy what you have created. We also love not having a boss… well kind of… we’re still undecided on who the real boss is…”

Gin type – Contemporary Dry

Appearance – Clear, bright

Botanicals – Macadamia nuts, Angelica root, cardamom, black pepper, orange flesh and peel, lime flesh and peel, finger limes, lemon aspen

Aroma – Intense bouquet of juicy fresh orange

Palate – Citrus at the forefront, with a smooth mouth feel and subtle hints of juniper

Finish – Hints of zesty bitterness, warm black pepper and lingering citrus oils

Our perfect G&T
• 30ml Narrow Tracks Dog Days Gin
• 90ml Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic
• Dehydrated Orange

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