Drinks News

Just in: Archie Rose to launch a new gin that’s distilled with a rare citrus fruit

And the star ingredient is in such limited supply the Sydney distillery had to liaise with restaurant Orana to share the year’s harvest.

By Yvonne C Lam
Archie Rose Distilling Co's Harvest Gin 2019
Some gin experiments can go very wrong. The first time Dave Withers, master distiller at gin company Archie Rose, tried distilling the spirit with a variety of finger lime, it tasted like mouldy fish rags. "That's not what you want for when you're reaching for a gin," he says.
Other times, gin experiments go very right. Archie Rose is set to release the first gin from its annual Harvest Series, a new product range that shines a light on Australia's produce and growers. The star ingredient of the current release is poorman's orange, a tangelo-pomelo hybrid with bright yellow skin.
Poorman's orange is not widely produced in Australia. Archie Rose sourced theirs from Peter Dryden and Elsa Payne, citrus growers in the New South Wales Hunter Valley. So did chef Jock Zonfrillo, who served up segments of the fruit at his Orana Sydney pop-up last year. "We were working with Peter to source the fruit when all of a sudden, he had limited quantities of the orange," says Withers. Then came the gentlemen's agreement: Orana only needed the flesh of the poorman's orange, and would reserve the peel for the Archie Rose.
As well as poorman's orange, the Harvest Gin is distilled with bergamot, emerald green finger lime, lemon-scented gum and orange blossom, resulting in a vibrant, citrus-forward gin with a yellow-orange blush. The tasting notes read like an excerpt from English Romantic Verse: a heady scent of citrus peel, fresh flowers and dewy grass on the nose, a syrupy texture on the palate, and lime zest and citrus pith to finish. It's best served with a pink-grapefruit tonic and garnished with an orange wedge.
Archie Rose Distilling Co's Harvest Gin 2019 Photo: Nikki To
There's a strong sense of time and place to Archie Rose's gin. Their website allows customers to track the origins of the botanicals used in their products. The Harvest Gin, for example, contains emerald green finger lime (fresh, cultivated) from Mavrick Native Farms in Red Gully in Western Australia; and juniper (dried, wild foraged by hand) from Macedonia.
It's a philosophy that resonates with Withers' background as a winemaker, where the journey from grape to bottle is paramount, and can vary year on year. "It's important to celebrate seasonal variation, and not to expect homogenised flavour from ingredients," he says. "We're always casting around for interesting stuff and working with growers – they're a source of inspiration."
The hospitality industry's support of local growers is more important than ever. The combined impact of drought and bushfires has burnt some 80 per cent of Dryden and Payne's farm, according to Archie Rose co-founder Will Edwards. "We view the raw materials we use in our spirits as paramount," he said in a statement. "We therefore feel very fortunate and humbled to be featuring the 2019 harvest of poorman's orange in this spirit and to be working with and supporting growers and providores."
Archie Rose Harvest Gin 2019, RRP $89 for a 700ml bottle, is available from 24 February at select bars, bottle shops, Archie Rose Bar, and online at archierose.com.au
Archie Rose Distilling Co., 61 Mentmore Avenue, Rosebery, NSW.