May's Gin | Big Tree Elegant Dry
About Big Tree Distillery
At the heart of any craft distillery are the creators themselves. In the case of Big Tree Distillery it is Catherine and Gary, a husband and wife team who are passionate about their gin.
It all started when a stressful corporate life in the city and a life-threatening illness collided. It was time for a change. Catherine and Gary knew that now was the moment to take a step back and evaluate what was important to them.
A logical and pragmatic approach to was taken to find the right property, considering the commute to Melbourne and the desire for a rural lifestyle. Weekends were spent visiting properties that matched their criteria. Finally they found the right place and took the jump into rural country life on the idyllic Jack’s Springs Farm in the Macedon Ranges, Victoria. This was over 8 years ago and they haven’t looked back since.
The property initially started with little more than a water tank, some cattle and a shed. Three years later, with their life established on the farm, it was time for a new adventure. The idea of making a whisky was floated first, but the appeal of a 12 year process wasn’t a particularly strong one. The couple also loved gin! They had the space, the time and the passion - so why not they thought!
About Elegant Dry Gin
Catherine and Gary have very much enjoyed honing and perfecting their recipes. They work and experiment with the botanicals to get exactly the flavour they are looking for. Their criteria - create a gin they would be very happy to drink themselves. Finally two years later, in June 2018, they settled on what they considered to be their perfect recipe. Their time and care they invested certainly paid off. They recently picked up the ‘Best Classic Australian’ at the World Gin Awards in London, as well as heaps of other accolades along the way. They are continually producing different seasonal releases as well as infusions and the coveted Claude Navy Strength edition (a double gold winner at the San Francisco International Wine and Spirits Competition).
The distilling is completed on site using their beautiful still ‘Beryl’. ‘Beryl’ is a 300 litre copper pot still that was made in Tasmania by Knapp Lewer, a still company that is popular in the Australian distilling community because of its particular shape. Knapp Lewer has made a large percentage of Australian distiller’s stills over the years, something proudly Australian that contributes to the ever-expanding Australian gin collection.
The shape and size of the still from Knapp Lewer, with its large central pot allows the botanicals to be steeped over night to produce a deep and lasting flavour through the gin.
The process of distilling at Big Tree starts by using a neutral grain spirit that is combined with a mixture of dried and fresh botanicals and fresh rainwater. The majority of the botanicals are locally grown and foraged, although the main component of gin, juniper, is currently imported from overseas. Catherine and Gary have a preference for locally grown produce and as a result have recently planted over 60 juniper trees on the property, some which are already producing the required juniper cone, or berries needed in their distilling process. It is their hope in the future that all their juniper is home grown on the property.
Catherine and Gary aren’t just trying to source their ingredients and equipment locally, it is important that their whole process celebrates the resources and talent of the area. The commissioned artwork on all of their bottles is by local artist Sarah Gabrial. Sarah has created four illustrations in the series that showcase the botanicals and birds that can be seen on a visit to the area. The bird and botanical on the Elegant Dry Gin is the New Holland Honey Eater and the Tasmania Pepper Berry that grows in the Macedon Ranges.
The New Holland Honeyeater is a fantastic local bird, it is full of life and energy and is rarely sitting still! It is a lovely visual representation of the Elegant Dry Gin, which itself is vibrant and lively, yet smooth and silky. A gin that is beautiful neat but lovely with a tonic. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Gin and Tonic Pairing
This month’s gin pairs with a premium tonic, we have chosen StrangeLove No.8. The bitter lemon and orange notes help to pull out the citrus in the gin and make for a deliciously fruity and refreshing gnt.
- 30ml Elegant Dry
- 120ml Strangelove No.8
Pour in to a glass and add a wedge of orange and lots of chunky ice
London Dry Style
Clear and Bright
Floral, followed by citrus
Full bodied, balanced, creamy and spicy
Juniper, orange peel, orris root, orange peel, cardamom, cassia bark, coriander, pepperberry, star anise and angelica
Sweet orange and warm citrus
Cocktail of the Month
Picture - Marmalade Smash
- 45ml Elegant Dry Gin
- 1tblsp Marmalade
- 1tsp Lemon Juice
- 1tsp Triple Sec (Cointreau)
- Fresh mint leaves
Mix the marmalade, gin, triple-sec and fresh mint in a cocktail shaker, crush and mix with a spoon. Add the lemon juice and serve over crushed ice with more mint as a garnish.