Itinerant Spirits Masterclass: A distillery experience worth the travel

Stationed in a gloriously repurposed, 160 year old train shed in Ballarat, Itinerant Spirits is a new destination distillery that’s calling out to anyone that loves an adventure.

For a spirit that was inspired by wanderlust and worldly journeys, it was only fitting that my plus one and I decided to hop onto the V-Line train at Southern Cross Station for our own rail journey directly to the new distillery to check out their spirit masterclass and distillery tour for ourselves.

While the new distillery is only 6-weeks old, owners Brad Wilson and Craig Ryan say it has been years in the making. The team behind the new venture are by no means fresh to this world, with alumni from Little Lon Distilling in Melbourne and Four Pillars Gin in the Yarra Valley coming together to help craft what is set to be another world-class name in spirits.

When entering the beautiful new distillery and bar space, you’ll instantly be wowed. The huge open ceilings, leather and bronze touches and a stunning back bar with glistening bronze distilling equipment are all designed to impress. There is an attention to detail in the design of the venue that translated into the spirit and bottle design flawlessly.

When it was time to try the vodka and gin for ourselves, we made our way upstairs to take a seat and be guided through what makes Itinerant tick. Gallivanter Gin is their signature gin, a botanical masterpiece that features botanicals from Victoria’s Grampians. Delightfully juniper forward, it has bright citrus, grapefruit, and a unique Australian bush vibe.

After sipping on some Gallivanter Gin neat, we then tried it as a classic G&T with some lime, as well as in their signature cocktail; the Hopeless Wanderer.

This super fruity and fun cocktail is made with Gallivanter Gin, strawberry & pink peppercorn syrup, rosa vermouth, lemon and a touch of soda. We could easily get lost in a few of them on a hot summers day.Next we tried Itinerant’s signature Vansetter Vodka.  Using only local grains, the vodka is surprisingly viscus and flavourful, with a rich, smooth, and well-rounded taste.

Proofed with locally sourced volcanic spring water, it delivers a clean, crisp finish with a hint of vanilla that is just as tasty neat as it would be in a classic dirty martini. After sampling the spirit near, the bar team prepared us their signature drink using the spirit: The Valiant mandarin sour (yes, it’s just as good as it sounds).

Ballarat has always had a heart of gold, and in just a few short years it will also have some beautiful golden whisky too. Itinerant Spirits worst-kept secret is that they are also in the process of crafting their own whiskey which will be known as the Wayfarer. Crafted using the grains-on distilling method in a German-made Kothe still, the craftsmen behind the whiskey are aiming to produce a unique expression of Ballarat in a glass.

Using local Victorian grains, complemented with a hint of rye, the raw spirit is currently maturing in barrels in their nearby warehouse, with some very special community-owned barrels that once filled will be proudly displayed in the distillery.

Locals (or travellers) will be able to purchase a barrel of their own, then join the team over the next 2-3 years to taste the spirit as it slowly matures, as well as try different hard to find whiskeys from around the world that have inspired the team.

Itinerant Spirits Distillery is a goldmine of good times and we’ll be back.

– Tomas

Itinerant Spirits Masterclasses are held at their brand-new distillery in Ballarat. Book online here.
This venue is accessible.

Photo Credit: Jake Roden.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Sandi Sieger Co.