Drinks News

Unique spirits to add to your home bar

Take your liquor cabinet to the next level with these four unique drops.
Andrew Finlayson

Thought about drinking distilled ants? Adding kelp to your Martini? Swapping rum for aged shochu? We have. And we’ve found four fun spirits that will ensure your liquor cabinet stands out.

Ants – green ants. Unlike the acrid black ones you ingested as a toddler, these particular insects taste like coriander and kaffir lime. Adelaide Hills Distillery, in collaboration with bush-tucker specialist Something Wild, is using them to make Australian Green Ant Gin. The ants are harvested in the Northern Territory and distilled along with other Australian plants, including lemon myrtle and boobialla, a native juniper. It makes a G&T that’s big on citrus and spice, which works well garnished with finger lime.

In Tasmania, meanwhile, James Broinowski of Small Island Wines uses saffron to make the bright yellow Brocken Spectre Tasmanian Summer Gin. It’s highly aromatic and Broinowski says it works well in a G&T garnished with fresh chilli and a sprig of thyme to enhance the gin’s savoury notes.

On Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Vanessa Wilton-Whittaker and her husband, David Whittaker, have been foraging for seaweed. Their distillery, Manly Spirits, has released Marine Botanical Vodka, a brew made using sea parsley and kelp collected from Whale Beach. “The vodka has a briny taste so it’s perfect for making a Dirty Martini,” says Wilton-Whittaker.

Shochu, the Japanese spirit typically made with rice, is usually clear, diluted and not aged – unless it’s Suginishiki Shochu, imported by Black Market Sake. Cellared for 14 years in a European sherry cask, the shochu has a colour and taste similar to whisky. Drink it neat and enjoy the complex spice, caramel and fruit flavours.

Australian Green Ant Gin, $97.50 for 700ml, adelaidehillsdistillery.com.au; Brocken Spectre Tasmanian Summer Gin, $89.99 for 500ml, cerbaco.com.au; Manly Spirits Marine Botanical Vodka, $75 for 700ml, manlyspirits.com.au; Suginishiki Shochu 14YO Sherry Cask, $149 for 500ml, blackmarketsake.com

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