Melbourne: your dedication to drinking gin knows no bounds. Thunder, lighting, and sideways rain won't stand in the way of a good gin and tonic. Juniperlooza, Melbourne's first gin festival, kicked off with sunny skies on a warm Saturday afternoon at the Boat Builders Yard. But a few hours later those skies opened up and let loose a torrential downpour. (When my soaking wet plus one and I finally made our way into the event, the first sight that greeted us was the band decked out in scuba gear.)
But the rain didn't dampen anyone's ‘spirits.' Brand reps and distillers managed to laugh about their predicament under the deluge of water. Kind souls even invited us under their umbrella for some serious up close and personal gin tastings.
With 22 gin brands on display (plus Colonial Brewing) there was a little something for everyone. I was fascinated by the Dasher + Fisher gin – with seaweed included in its list of ingredients?! The robust flavour just might covert a few whisky lovers to this white spirit. Conversely, East London's gin was cheerfully described as ‘super smashable.' The Botanist gin from Islay served up an Instagram ready floral cocktail and proved that whisky isn't the Scottish isle's only export. Archie Rose upped the ante and brought along not only their gin, but produced vodka and white rye bottles for tastings as well. Blind Tiger served up their organic gin and Bass & Flinders poured the eye catching pink Cerise. While West Winds (#MenaceToSobriety) represented after their Australian Distillers Awards win earlier this year.
In addition to classic gin & tonics, the stands also had cocktails ranging from negronis to gin espresso martinis available for purchase. Plus there were talk and tasting sessions each hour. Unfortunately, the downpour interfered with our masterclass plans. Much to my disappointment, as it's hard to imagine a better setting for drinking Navy Strength gin than on the deck of the Polly Woodside boat.
Melburnians proved that they have the hearts of robust sailors. The sold out crowd refused to let a little (or a lot) of rain stand in the way of a good G & T.
Jenny S. is an event adventurer. When she’s not attending live shows, you can find her sampling the latest craft beer or sipping a creative cocktail.
For future gin adventures, follow Juniperlooza here.