Tiny Bear's Doctor Gin
About Tiny Bear Distillery
Distilling is all about chemistry, the reaction of one chemical with another to create something unique. It is therefore rather fitting that many a distiller boasts a chemistry background - the industry is littered with chemical engineers, chemists and chemistry teachers with each one able to bring their own perspective and unique skill to their craft.
Damien Anderson, the founder of Tiny Bear Distillery is certainly no exception being a Biochemistry graduate turned high school chemistry teacher. With a penchant for good booze and good science, Damien took to experimenting with alcohol in his spare time. He enjoyed bringing his two passions together to create a range of uniquely enjoyable drinks. The manipulation of microorganisms to turn something fairly boring (essentially sugary water) into alcohol and then the process of turning that alcohol into something delicate, flavoursome and unique had him hooked. Although at that stage, it was all simply a hobby.
One day Damien had his light-bulb moment, and after eight years of telling kids to follow their dreams, he realised it was about time he took his own advice! So after much thought, and discussion with his very supportive wife, Manda (another member of the Tiny Bear Team), they sold their house to fund a passion and do something they loved every day.
The team has since expanded and includes Sally, the head distiller and production manager (who also has a background in chemistry!). Sally even runs her own wine and whisky bar when not working with the Tiny Bear team. Then there is Emma, who runs the Tiny Bear events and is also part of the distilling team. Finally, there is Cory who is another critical member of the distilling team and all-round magician assisting in just about every aspect of the goings-on at the distillery!
The distillery, in its current state is an interesting mish-mash of space. Along the back walls, you will see the fermenting tanks, constantly bubbling away to turn sugar, water, yeast and kale into their ‘alcoholic soup’ (or wash to use the correct industry term). This wash is then pumped in to one of three stills, which run down another wall of the building to produce what is essentially a high proof vodka. From here the final step is to add the botanicals and refine it again into a delicious gin.
Tiny Bear Products
Talking of stills, Tiny Bear actually has three distinctly separate stills in their distillery. All with appropriately Bear-esque names! The first and main still is used to create all of the Tiny Bear gin called ‘Boo Boo’, named after Yogi and Boo Boo. Boo Boo is a 200L copper column custom-built in Victoria that runs 6 days a week and has two jobs - first, to turn the alcoholic soup into vodka, and then turn that vodka into gin. The second column still is called ‘Bobo’ after Mr Burns’ teddy bear from The Simpsons, which also works to produce the extra vodka that is needed. The third still, ‘Grizzly’, is a gorgeous 500L copper pot still which has been designed as the Tiny Bear Whisky still and is currently busy making goodies to stash away for hibernation. (We are very excited about getting our hands on this when it gets released!).
Up the front of their distillery is the tasting lawn, a small space where the team have set up some tables and chairs so people like us can pop down to enjoy a cheeky gin or two. It is open for gin paddles and cheeseboards six days a week and is well worth visiting if you are in the area.
So, why the name Tiny Bear you ask? Well, ‘Tiny’ because they are simply a really small, niche craft distillery that does everything in house and by hand, including the small batch gin you have in your box this month! Why Bear? They say it’s because Damien looks like a bear… but if you want to know the real reason you’ll have to go visit and ask them yourselves!
The Doctor Gin
About The Doctor Gin
The Doctor Gin is packed full of flavour and fresh herbs including Vietnamese Mint, Basil, Sage and Dill. Floral notes follow from Hibiscus, along with sweet woody after tones and cinnamon. A subtle juniper spice blends it all together to create a unique gin that I would recommend first sipping neat and then over ice to really appreciate all the delicate, interesting flavours that pull through. The recommended tonic pairing this month is StrangeLove Coastal, with a slice of pear. The extra sweetness from the pear and this style of tonic brings out the floral notes of the gin. If you would like to change it up, you can also pair it with a good grab of fresh herbs. Now that sounds like the healthy addition the Doctor ordered!
Along with the Doctor gin, the team have a range of signature gins that make up their core offerings, the Gypsy and Sailor gins. They also tend to have a barrel-aged gin on offer that is produced in small batches that frequently change, giving plenty of variety for those of us who enjoy the heavier style of a barrel-aged gin and their delicious Brew Coffee Liqueur. Damien and the team are always playing around and experimenting with recipes and ideas. At Christmas, they release their superb seasonal Christmas gins.
As for interesting offerings in the pipeline, one thing that the team is excited about (and Josh too) at the moment is their whisky. It’s quietly lying down in barrels at this point in time letting time do what it does best. Other recipes that may reach us quicker than the whisky are their gingerbread barrel-aged gin and a special Easter gin that will be ready for Easter 2022. What we love about this fantastic bunch is that they are always experimenting and pushing boundaries to try new and exciting things. We can’t wait to taste them all!
Gin and Tonic Pairing
This month’s gin pairs with a light tonic, we have chosen Strangelove Light
- 30ml The Doctor Gin
- 90ml Strangelove Light Tonic
- Slice of fresh / dried pear of Apple
Pour ingredients in to a glass over ice and add a slice of pear
The Doctor Gin and Tonic
Modern Australian Gin
Clear and Bright
Herbaceous followed by a candied apple sweetness
Sweet, creamy and smooth with subtle floral hibiscus
Juniper, Coriander, Angelica Root, Fresh Vietnamese Mint, Basil, Sage, Dill, Hibiscus, Almonds and Cinnamon... to name a few!
Warm, spiced fruit burst
Cocktail of the Month
Doctor Hot Toddy
Picture - Doctor Hot Toddy
- 50ml the Doctor Gin
- 1 tsp Honey
- Juice of 1/2 Orange
- 200ml of Boiling Hot Water
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
Combine all ingredients into a mug or heatproof glass. Stir until the honey is dissolved.
Add a cinnamon stick (and pear, star anise, lemon or rosemary as preferred!)