Last winter, Four Pillars distiller Cameron Mackenzie found himself with a quarter of a ton of surplus Yarra Valley shiraz grapes. So, he turned them into gin and the results were surprisingly - addictively? - good. Bloody Shiraz Gin sold out after just four months.
The good news is that the 2017 vintage is about to be released, and it's going to be bigger than last year's. Four Pillars sourced a whopping 10 tonnes of shiraz from the Warrandyte winery of Rob Dolan.
The potent purple liquid is made by steeping shiraz grapes in gin for eight weeks, pressing the fruit and then adding more gin. The result is an unfiltered, no-other-additives beauty that packs a punch at 37.8 per cent alcohol.
Its colour is reminiscent of sloe gin, but that's where the similarities end. "I've never been a huge fan of sloe gin," says Mackenzie. "It's incredibly tart and acidic and [the flavour of the fruit] overpowers the gin. It becomes a liqueur."
The spice of the shiraz grapes and the sharp citrus notes of the gin combine to create a highly smashable winter warmer best drunk straight, Mackenzie says, over ice. Or try it as a G&T - diluted with tonic, the gin's colour changes to a vibrant acrylic pink.
Bloody Shiraz Gin is available from 1 June 2017 online, from Four Pillars' distillery in Healesville, Victoria, and from select retailers. fourpillarsgin.com.au