Juniper Rising at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards

The winners are in for the 2022 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards, with a heap of homegrown talent and local botanicals on display. Gin lovers are in luck. Of the 863 entries in this year’s competition, an incredible 431 were Australian distilled gins. Whisky lovers also have cause to raise a glass. With more barrel-aged Australian whiskies maturing, the whisky category grew to 131 entries this year.

Now let’s get down to the winners.

For the third year in a row, Never Never Distilling Co  won Champion Australian Distiller. They also took home the prize for Best Contemporary Gin with their Southern Strength Gin. Channeling the strength of their South Australian home, the Southern Strength Gin is a boozy, juniper-forward gin recommended for classic cocktails.

For a twist on a classic, try the Champion Victorian Gin — Naught Sangiovese Gin. Its eye-catching vivid pink colour comes from infusing Sangiovese grapes with their Australian Dry Gin. Not a bad showing for a distillery that just launched two years ago.

The Best Liqueur went to Kilderkin Distillery’s Bramble and Apple Pie Gin Liqueur. Blended with syrup from Pink Lady apples cooked in cinnamon and nutmeg, it’s easy to see how this sweet and spicy liqueur won over the judges.

Penni Ave Distillery and The Packing Shed Distilling Co. also showcased local ingredients in their winning spirits. Penni Ave’s Wattle Seed and Burnt Honey Vodka is distilled with Mornington Peninsula orange blossom honey and roasted native wattle seed. The Packing Shed’s Limoncello combines locally grown lemons from WA with lemon myrtle for a tangy Australian twist.

St Agnes XO is becoming synonymous with award-winning brandy. This is St Agnes’ sixth win for Best Brandy at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards. The 15-year-old brandy combines aromas of stone fruits and citrus with alcohol warmth.

Family owned and operated Backwoods Distilling won the Best Single Malt Whisky. The Yackandandah distillery aims to capture the flavours of Victoria’s High Country. The winning White Oak Expression whisky was made using 100% Australian grains.

As much fun as sampling over 863 spirits sounds, I’m raising a glass to the judges for their hard work tasting and scoring hundreds of entries. Cheers to the best of Australian distilling!

– Jenny
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.
Visit the Melbourne Royal Australian Distilled Spirits Awards for a complete list of winners. 

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Zilla and Brook
Images: Supplied by Zilla and Brook