There are – were – some hard and fast rules in the booze world: red wine should never be served chilled, the best whiskeys are from traditional grains like barley or corn, rye or wheat. But we head into the entertaining season, things start getting silly, and rules tend to get broken.
Here, we meet three Australian makers in the wine and beverage world who aren't afraid experiment. From chilled grenache, whiskey made from native Australian grains, and an umeshu-like liqueur made from native plums, these are three drinks brands that are doing these a little differently.
Tempus Two, Fleur Series
Just in time for summer, innovative Australian wine brand Tempus Two has a new collection perfect for any occasion. The Tempus Two Fleur Series is designed to push the boundaries of wine serving expectations, resulting in drinkable, approachable and distinctive drops. Breaking free from the traditional varietal and regional constraints with a range that tastes as good as it looks—and enjoyed the way you like.
For white-wine lovers, Fleur Fiano is classic but flexible white, the kind you can bring to a party or stock in your fridge for those times that call for a glass with friends. It balances the zest of lemon with the roundness of pear and melon fruits, topped off with an energetic floral note. Then, breaking the mould of expectations, comes Tempus Two's Fleur Grenache – an adaptable red that can be served chilled during a warm summer's eve, with or without food. The Fleur Grenache has a vibrant palate of red berry fruits with subtle, soft tannins and an overarching refreshing quality. These wines are designed to be enjoyed on your terms, not what the rules tell you. The perfect bottle to take with you anywhere this summer, from barbecues to birthday parties.
Adelaide Hills Distillery, Native Grain Whiskey, Weeping Grass
Scotch whiskey is made from barley, bourbon from corn, rye from rye. But what if the brown stuff was made from native grains growing in our own backyard? The second release from Adelaide Hills Distillery's Native Grain Whiskey is made from weeping grass, a native plant that produces plump, rice-like cereal grains. The result is a whiskey with a cereal and brown rice characters, with hints of apricot kernel and toasted chocolate.
What's more, weeping grass is a perennial plant, making it a more sustainable crop compared to more traditional whiskey grains that need to be removed and resown every harvest.
But be quick – it's a super-exclusive drop, with only 150 bottles produced. This is the second release from the distillery's Native Grain Whiskey range – the first, released in 2019, used wattleseed in the mash.
Headlands Distillery Company, Spirit of the Illawarra Plum
The distillery, based in the New South Wales Illawarra region, claims toe be the first in the world to produce a spirit made exclusively with Illawarra plum, a native grape-like fruit found along the New South Wales east coast. The fruit is fermented and distilled, steeped with more Illawarra plums, and left to barrel age for nine months. The result is a sweet liqueur that's similar to umeshu, but made without sugar. Try it neat, or poured over ice, for a uniquely Australian nightcap.
This article is sponsored by Tempus Two