Tasmania: an island of mountains, crisp air, clean water … and booze. Tasmanian whiskies, pinot noir and chardonnay have put the state on every imbiber’s map. More recently, though, it’s gin’s time to shine. It’s World Gin Day on June 12, and we’re proud to be celebrating it on the Apple Isle this week!
The juniper-driven spirit is enjoying a resurgence, and its presence in the Tasmanian distilling industry continues to grow. Even King Island, the pristine land mass off the north coast of Tassie’s “mainland”, is making gin! Proud King Island native Heidi Weitjens launched King Island Distillery in 2020, and is passionate about sharing the magic of her island home and the spirits it’s producing.
“My goal is for you to discover your next drink of choice through experiencing the taste and sensation of King Island Distillery spirits,” she says.
King Island Distillery is already making waves to rival those of Bass Strait, with Heidi’s Native Gin winning a silver medal at last year’s Australian Gin Awards. It earned high praise from the grandfather of the Tasmanian whisky industry, Bill Lark, who described it as “a gin that races across the tongue to a juniper finish, which is smooth with a good alcohol balance.”
Handcrafted with a collection of King Island and Australian native ingredients, some of which Heidi harvests by hand, the Native Gin is traditionally distilled in 55-litre copper pot-stills.
“I tried and tested a mix of native botanicals many times, to discover a blend that works harmoniously together to create the right recipe for a classic dry gin,” Heidi says. “I distil in small batches with my ‘Copper Angels’, fulfilling the dream of capturing the taste of our King Island spirit in a bottle.”
There’s also a newly-released barrel-aged gin, which is matured in coopered barrels aboard a working lobster boat.
“The gin matures around the seas of our lovely island and looks like liquid gold,” Heidi says.
Liquid gold on World Gin Day? We’ll drink to that!