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International Women’s Day and Women of Australian Distilling at Bloodwood Newtown 2023

With a full house for dinner at Bloodwood Newtown, the trifecta supporters of International Women’s Day, Australian craft spirits and fine food filled the legendary bar and restaurant on King Street this March 8th.

Guests were welcomed with a delicious can of Four Pillars Yuzu Gin and soda—an RTD that was perfect for the warm evening and what will surely be a firm poolside favourite for summers to come.

Once seated, diners heard from host Christina Butcher from Mr and Mrs Romance, who was herself celebrating her wedding anniversary that night.

Christina spoke of this year’s theme for IWD: EmbraceEquity, aimed at getting the world talking about why equal opportunities aren't enough.

Pointing out the difference between equality and equity, Christina explained: “equality is when you give everyone a shoe; equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits.”

Between courses prepared by female chefs Deanne Paramaxidis, Sarina Fang, Yutthana Khunchomphu and Bloodwood owner Claire Van Vuuren, the sell-out gathering heard from a range of distillery owners, distillers and bar owners talking about their journey in the distilling industry.

It’s an industry that’s very male heavy, so learning about how these brave powerful women have navigated their way through to success in distilling is not only fascinating but inspirational too.

Food, Cocktails and Speakers

The first course of kingfish and apple wrapped in betel leaf, and a tomato, ponzu and yuzu sauce topped with a slice of silken tofu went perfectly with the evening’s first cocktail—a superb martini made with North of Eden’s groundbreaking Oyster Shell Gin.

With this drink came distiller Ruby Jay from North of Eden to tell her tale. Ruby’s first public speaking engagement was warmly received, and not just because of the quality of the martini.

Next to the mic was Nicola Thompson-Hancock, co-owner of Mother of Pearl. The cocktail, featuring Mother of Pearl’s exquisite vodka, was a clever blend of orange, ginger and soda.

The drink paired perfectly with the rich spicy garlic prawns and the mushroom and rice dolmades vine leaves.

Terracotta pots of Black Snake Distillery’s Pechuga, a mezcal-style agave spirit, landed on tables next. Australian agave spirit is growing in popularity, with more tequila-style spirits coming to market all the time. But this Pechuga is incredible.

It’s the work of Black Snake's owner-distiller Rosemary Smith, who was next to take the stage. While Rosemary told the crowd the complex method of making mezcal-style agave spirit, plates of porchetta and crackling, the most amazing crispy roast potatoes and salad were served.

Finally, accompanying vanilla custard puff profiteroles and the mandarine gimlets was Corinna Kovner—owner-distiller at Ester Spirits and maker of the scintilating navy-strength gin in this cocktail.

The evening was—as ever—so friendly and supportive; an opportunity for like-minded folk who appreciate fine food and brilliantly crafted Aussie spirits to come together and share their stories.

Thanks to Bloodwood, Women in Hospitality, Women of Australian Distilling, Australian Gin Distillers’ Association, P&V, Mr and Mrs Romance, Food and Beverage Media, Black Snake Distillery (NSW), Ester Spirits (NSW), Mother of Pearl (VIC), North of Eden (NSW) and ChefWorks for your support for the evening.


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