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Australian Craft Spirits in 10 Top Stories

Between sips of your Aussie craft gin, whisky, rum or vodka, and to help you get through the ad breaks during Die Hard and Home Alone, here are 10 stories on the amazing spirits from around the country to keep you entertained this Christmas.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but Nip of Courage is just a flat out bloody great company to work for. Not only are the crew here some of the finest people you’ll ever meet, NOC deals with simply the best Australian spirits out there.

So while Christina and I have tried our best to make it look like we’ve slaved over every story these last 12 months, it’s actually been pretty good fun.

To show you what I mean, we’ve put together 10 articles we enjoyed creating the most since January, and ones we think are the best of the 55 we’ve written in 2021.

We hope you agree.

Thank you so much for supporting the Australian craft spirit industry.

Jimmy and Christina from Mr & Mrs Romance

Probably our most popular story - and our most interesting - this is an interview with Blue Valentine and her brand Bad Bartender.

She began cathartically drawing her super cool sketches of the hazards of bar work during lockdown and has since found a cult following with like-minded hospos and sympathetic (polite) punters.

She also designed the awesome artwork on the back of our Nip of Courage hoodies, which you can also buy here.

One of the finest fellows in Australian distilling, Josh produces fantastic single malt whisky from his stunning stills in Timboon, VIC.

We've talked quite a bit about Josh's spirits this year. We reviewed his beautiful Port Expression Whisky here, his special edition gin Ruby Seven here and most recently his brilliant Smoky 1881 peated whisky here.

Australian distilling has had a huge impact over the country's history since colonial times and winds its way through a surprising amount of our culture.

We've managed to sum it all up in about three minutes!

At 57%ABV, navy strength gin packs a real punch and has a strong connection to the history of spirits, but there's also good reason to make (and drink) gin at this high ABV.

We talk about both elements and also give you some ideas about how to best use this formidable yet complex style of gin.

The true enemy of the distiller (well, that and the taxman), distillery angels magic a huge amount of spirits from distillers' barrels long before bottling.

We look at where the whisky goes, how much distillers lose in Australia compared to many other countries and also why these angels are actually a necessary evil.

Australian whisky famously took out world's best whisky a few years ago - the first non-Scottish whisky to ever win that award. Since then, Aussie whisky has gone from strength to strength.

Here are 5 of the best of them.

There are so many weird and unlikely steps that go towards making whisky. From having to make barley germinate before roasting it, turning it into beer and then distilling it to the important roll copper plays in the flavour of your dram.

But with a bit of help of master distiller Peter Bignell from Belgrove Distillery, we've narrowed the distilling process down to just 7 fascinating steps.

Perhaps a bit of a cheat, our ongoing Taste Test series has so many of our favourite stories within it.

And it's not just because we get to try what we write about.

Every bottle is an expression of how much time, love and hard work each distiller has put into making the spirit.

Reviewing various spirits from around the country, we've written over a dozen reviews this year, but here are a few of our favourites:

I honestly thought a mojito was about the best rum cocktail out there... until I discovered what you can do with Illegal Tender's Spiced.

Rather than making a mojito, its predecessor the El Draque, which dates back to Sir Frances Drake's time, suits this fascinating spirit perfectly. Here's how you make it.

Stone Pine and its distiller Ian Glen produce probably our favourite spirits out there.

Ian's gins are amazing and his liqueurs are just as good, but his spiced rums are off the charts. He brought out Dead Man's Drop - a black spiced rum and the first of its kind in Australia - a few years ago.

It's a delicious drink, but its golden brother Dead Man's Gold is even better.

And apart from drinking it, we have used Dead Man's Gold in this crème Brûlée and I tell you what, it's something special!


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