Exploding into our drinking dens seemingly overnight, Australia’s craft spirit scene may still be evolving, but it’s certainly beyond its blossoming phase. From new-world whiskey to rum redefined, distilleries are popping up quicker than you can mix a G&T - and it’s in no small part to Andrew Marks asking, “what would Melbourne taste like if it were a gin?”
An accomplished alchemist by trade, Andrew didn’t just throw a haphazard hat into the spirit ring, mind you. Cutting his teeth in none other than the Yarra Valley, his origin story began with meticulously crafted, critically acclaimed bottles under the label of The Wanderer.
It was this one-of-a-kind skillset combined with a healthy dose of local love and loyalty that had Andrew pondering his own inimitable gin in no time – a gin shining with indigenous botanicals resulting in a spirit truly infused with the spirit of Melbourne.
However, as any winemaker would attest to, he certainly wasn’t a stranger to the unique challenges of creating unique handcrafted drinks – more specifically, Andrew was all too aware that the virtue of patience involved with the vine would be just as, if not more applicable to the art of distilling.
The Melbourne Gin Company name may have manifested in mind as Andrew moseyed on down Gertrude Street in 2009 (Fitzroy represent!), but going from concept to killer cocktail companion would take some time still for the ambitious craftsman.
So thus began the lengthy refinement of Melbourne Gin Company’s singular taste. Stovetop experimentation in the confines of his small flat eventually gave way to fervent copper pot fine-tuning at the winery… Ingredient trialing painstakingly progressed to rigorous ratio exacting…
In as many months as botanicals settled on – a hefty eleven, all in all – Andrew’s uniquely Melbourne medley was ready to not just make waves, but “the” wave in the Aussie spirit scene.
He’s more than happy to share the unique botanical blend of Melbourne’s very own gin. After all, it’s about how you blend, rather than simply what you blend – a tenet well and truly introduced to him in the early days of winemaking.
Juniper berries and coriander seed – the usual suspects – are all in tow, whilst the inclusion of local angelica root, orris root and lemon myrtle imbue a distinctively Melbourne flavour; one that’s simultaneously exotic, accessible and a noticeable nod to the best London Dries.
It’s the inclusion of ingredients truly putting the “home” in homegrown that give the gin it’s Melbourne taste, however. Grapefruit peel and rosemary grown in Andrew’s very own vineyard garden patch, along with pure-as-they-come Gembrook rainwater fill out each bottle – components taken from the very backyard of our beloved burg.
Melbourne. Fine dining, fine drinking and fine distilling. The latter hasn’t always been synonymous with Victoria’s cosmopolitan city, but thanks to Andrew Marks and MGC, you can confidently add it to our multifaceted metropolis’ mix.