Drinking gin just wasn’t good enough for south west food and wine writer Danielle Costley, so she decided to make her very own.
We talk to Danielle about using rare Iced Pressed Chardonnay barrels and foraged botanicals to make a gin that’s a true ode to the south west.
What’s the story behind the name?
SouWester Spirits is named after the SouWester sea breeze that roars across the bay in Prevelly, Margaret River, where we are based. Our barrel room is located directly opposite the Indian Ocean, so whenever the SouWester comes in, I open the room to give our maturing spirits further coastal influence. Place and provenance is everything to me and the SouWester brand. That is why I foraged for the gin’s botanicals myself (and have the cuts to prove it from those finger lime trees), distilled them in Margaret River rainwater, and aged the gin in Fraser Gallop Estate’s Iced Pressed Chardonnay barrels.
Tell us more about these barrels.
When I was writing an article on Fraser Gallop, I realised they were the only ones in Australia making Iced Pressed Chardonnay dessert wine. Once their wine barrels were empty, I quickly secured them for my own gin. I wanted to create a product that was unique, and these barrels help do that, not to mention give the gin a whole new level of complexity and texture.
So, what does SouWester gin taste like and how should it be served?
The colour of the gin is akin to a young Chardonnay. Believe me, you can taste the difference. It has all these wonderful savoury elements from the botanicals, along with hints of vanilla, pear and deliciously toasty characters that derive from the barrel. I like to serve the gin over a large ice cube with a dash of clean tonic such as CAPI dry or Fever-Tree light. It is also great in a martini with a sprig of rosemary. SouWester gin in a martini with Maidenii classic vermouth is sublime. When they are in season, I use slices of finger limes as a garnish, or you can smoke some salt and put it around the rim of the glass for something different.
What’s next for SouWester Spirits?
I’m quite excited about our single malt iced whisky, which is currently maturing in an Ice Pressed Chardonnay barrel (due for release next year). I have also just purchased some interesting new dessert wine barrels from Margaret River, so will be aging another gin and a single malt whisky in those shortly.