Water of Life – Banks and Solander
While my DNA has me more geared towards whisk(e)y, my better half is all about gin, which enables me to sample new variants from around this earthround on a regular basis. What I really like is when gins are enhanced by local botanicals, which often add an idiosyncratic flavour profile that makes them distinct from other expressions.
In terms of gin, Australians are blessed with innovative distilleries mushrooming all over terra australis and the wealth of botanicals that can be tapped into in different locations. There is literally a new variant out on a weekly basis, plus limited seasonal and barrel-aged examples.
At that recent Christmas incarnation of the extravaganza that is the Gin Palooza festival, I came across distillers I had never heard of before and its location in close proximity of my digs intrigued me. Turned out that what I got to sample that day merited a dedicated instalment of our series.
Banks and Solander’s micro distillery is located at New South Wales’ Botany Bay, a history rich part of Sydney with an array of traditional and native Australian botanicals on offer.
Claiming that Banks and Solander’s expressions are artisanal in nature would be an understatement par excellence as their core expression is a tour de force in complex full-bodiness based on careful curation of ingredients and quality assurance of each step of the production.
Inspired by how Tasmanian distillers channel their alchemy, the husband and wife team started to build their own distillery from scratch to take things to the next level.
Their Signature Gin is a wonderfully citrus-forward drop with floral highlights,
nuanced by the most subtle hints of chocolate and culminate in a tingle courtesy of Tasmanian pepper berry and a hint of lemon myrtle.
While this is ideal for summer, their limited edition Endeavour Gin caters to the colder months of the year, with its melange of spices, orange marmalade and oak caramel, resting on a foundation of citrus.
Interestingly, Banks and Solander have recently created their own Limoncello, which traditionally is a classic after dinner digestive based on macerating lemon zest in grappa. Needless to say, Banks and Solander refined the traditional Italian recipe by adding local Australian botanicals to create their own naturally vibrant limoncello that will work beautifully in cocktails and punches.
image from company website