As Willy Wonka once said, “Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker.” That’s kind of the thinking behind World Gin Day, an international celebration of our favourite botanical-based spirit. It’s on this Saturday 10 June, and (in classic Melbourne style) bars all over the city are giving themselves over to gin-based frivolity, paired with some pretty tasty nosh.
Gin used to be the spirit synonymous with grandma’s G&Ts and crying on stairs, but in the last few years it’s had a serious credibility revival (led, in part, by boutique local labels like Four Pillars and Melbourne Gin Company). If gin is your thing, these are the events you need to check out on Saturday.
Wilson & Market Gin Lunch
New kid on the Prahran Market block, Wilson & Market, are throwing a special gin and seafood lunch to celebrate the big day. First up is the cocktail: an autumnal treat from Sam Ng (previously of the Black Pearl). Think Four Pillars dry gin, infused with sweet mandarin and fennel pollen. The chefs at Wilson & Market then take the botanicals from the gin-making process and use them to smoke a fillet of blushing Petuna Ocean trout. It’s the Gin & Trout Luxe Lunch, and tickets will set you back $25. Book through the venue.
Gin Degustation At Bohemian
Who doesn’t love a decadent degustation every now and then? Even better when it's paired with award-winning gins and artesian cocktails. Bohemian’s head chef Gerard Rodriguez is handling the Spanish-inspired menu, cooking up gin-studded dishes like mackerel ceviche and steak tartar. Drinks-wise, there’ll be a limited edition gin, courtesy of Archie Rose and acclaimed tattoo artist Horisumi, plus a new blend made from (just go with it) green ants, from the team at Adelaide Hills and Something Wild. The night kicks off at 6:30pm and bookings are essential.
Hendricks Tea Party At Gin Palace
Leave it to Gin Palace to dominate World Gin Day, right? They’re actually hosting a collection of events on Saturday (saucily titled the ‘Harem of Juniper Pleasures’) but we’re gonna focus on two in this roundup. The first is the Hendricks Tea Party, an Alice In Wonderland-themed takeover of Gin Palace’s Swamp Room. There’ll be surrealist mayhem, gin-inspired cupcakes and lollies, live music and 2-for-1 martinis, Negronis and G&Ts from midday until 8pm. Just follow the white rabbit...
Gin Martini Massages At Gin Palace
The second Gin Palace event you need to etch into your diaries and tattoo on your brain is the Plymouth Gin Martini Massages. Let us clarify. You’re not actually rubbed down WITH gin (although that sounds kind of interesting...let’s delve into that another time). Basically, Gin Palace will mix you the ultimate Plymouth martini (dirty, straight up, however you like it) and you get to drink it while being massaged by lithe and sinewy people in the purpose-built ‘Harem’. Sounds like something that’s two drinks away from a B-Grade porno, but who cares—we’re there.
Four Pillars Shiraz Gin
This is actually the third iteration of Four Pillars’ quest to perfect the ultimate ‘Bloody Shiraz Gin’. What began a few years ago as a whim (and a bit of a joke) has snowballed into an annual phenomenon. Last year’s batch of shiraz-spiked-gin sold out in months, and the early signs are that this year’s bottle is even better. Think the spice and pepper of a good shiraz, mixed with the citrus and juniper of gin. Yeah, science! The new bottle was released on June 1, but you can get it direct from the Four Pillars website, plus select liquor stores around the country.
Let The Gin Begin At Taxi Kitchen
A gin-based brunch? Why the hell not? Artemis Gin are teaming up with the crew at Taxi Kitchen to bring you Let The Gin Begin: a 5-course tasting menu, paired with five bespoke gin cocktails. It kicks off at 11:30am and promises to be boozy as sh*t. And to put a juniper-flavoured cherry on top, every guest gets to take home a bottle of Artemis Gin, distilled especially for the occasion. The event will be hosted by Seb Raeburn and Derv McGowan, the barman and the scientist behind Artemis Gin, and tickets will set you back $150 (factor in a free bottle of gin though). Get all the info here.
Want to keep the gin kick going? We've rounded up the best gin joints in town.
Image credit: Four Pillars Gin