Gin Taste Test with Goodradigbee Distillery
With its heart in the Snowies and its soul by the sea, Aussie craft distillery Goodradigbee tells the story of Australia through its gins.
Pronounced ‘good-ra-dig-bee’ and named after the Goodradigbee River in the alpine regions of southern NSW, this distillery owes its existence to founding owner John O’Connor’s childhood.
John was brought up fly-fishing on the Goodradigbee, which aptly means ‘water flowing over rocks’ in the language of the Ngarigo people of the Snowy Mountains.
Its sparkling, quick-running currents inspired John to create a spirit that not only embodied the purity of its waters but also the rolling surf of the distillery’s home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
At the same time, John wanted to impart his gins with the flavour of the Australian wilderness with a host of native botanicals.
The result is a beautiful range of gins that speaks of a country full of flavour, from its northernmost rainforests, to its highest peaks, to the sandy shores of its endless coastline.
3 Aussie craft gins
John O’Connor has developed three very different gins, but all with a single focus: to portray the distillery’s journey… and to create bloody good gin.
Inspired by the waterway that runs nearby the distillery, Freshwater Gin is Goodradigbee Distillery’s bright and crystal clear classic dry gin.
Freshwater Gin was the first step Goodradigbee Distillery took in their gin journey, but it’s far from basic.
Botanicals range from quandong, Kakadu plums and native currants supplied by Indigenous farmers from Arnhem Land and Kakadu in the NT, and Cape York in Far North Queensland, to
native fingerlimes, and sweet southern herbs and spices.
Packed with juniper and citrus, this gin delivers bright eucalypt flavours, juiciness and a hint of sweetness.
Making an electrifying clean martini with a lemon twist or even an olive, Freshwater Gin also makes a refreshing G&T.
This ‘barrel-aged’ gin takes its inspiration from Goodradigbee’s other creation—their single malt spirit—and is also the reason for its bottle shape.
O’Connor has made timber hardwood cubes out of heartwood from native ironbark trees to age his spirits. These ‘barrels’ develop incredible flavour and colour in Goodradigbee Sweetwater Gin in only a few days.
This ironbark infusion has brought out a beautiful light gold colour in the gin, while a woody spice flows through the spirit marrying with the gin’s delicate botanicals.
The likes of anise myrtle, highland pepper berries, native citrus, Batlow apples and a firm juniper thrust make this an excellent sipping gin, perfect on the rocks with a sliver of orange peel, but also in a dirty martini.
This Goodradigbee iteration is called Celebration Gin for a reason. Its rosy pink colour from native Davidson and Kakadu plums makes it a party from the beginning.
Then the cacophonous combination of native currants, strawberries, desert limes, juniper, strawberry gum, and the aforementioned Davidson and Kakadu plums create a delicious zesty, bitter-sweet gin with a long fruity finish.
Freshwater Blush is made for a gin and tonic with plenty of ice and a slice of strawberry for garnish.
Its bright pink colour spreads out and dilutes throughout the drink to a beautiful light pearlescent hue, and the tonic adds a dimension that’s fresh and moreish.
It's worth pointing out that all three of these gins make an amazing negroni, with each gin bringing a different angle to one of our favourite cocktails.