More and more these days we, the people, love knowing everything there is to know about local businesses. How they were created, how they operate, what goes into creating something that works.
Luckily for us, there are many an incredible local business popping up both on the Gold Coast and within the local surrounds that have interesting stories to tell, the latest of which is Husk Distillers.
Creators of Ink Gin (you know the magical purple elixir that changes colour), Husk Virgin Cane Rum and Spiced Bam Bam (spiced rum, love you), Husk Distillers was born in Tumbulgum, tiny little northern NSW town now home to a quite big, much-loved local brand.
Now, the impressive paddock to bottle brand have announced the opening of Husk Farm Distillery and it’s set to be an absolute must-visit destination.
Set on the Messenger family’s farmland with the stunning Wollumbin (Mt Warning) as the backdrop, the cellar door, bar and café will be open to the public in mid-June and, as you’d expect, there will be many a tasty treat.
The cocktail and café menus will showcase local produce, along with Blackboard coffee, gin and rum infused chocolates, local cheese/charcuterie boards and tasting paddles made from old barrel staves.
So all of the very best things. Plus of course, you can take home a bottle of Ink Gin or three for the cabinet slash that nights’ drinking shenanigans.
In case you haven’t heard the story; Husk is the baby of the aforementioned Messenger family, inspired by their love of all things rum and the culture of Caribbean, the family began their adventure in 2012, creating a plantation distiller on their cattle and cane farm.
Production began with their first paddock to bottle agricole rum, made with their homegrown sugar cane and capturing the flavours of the region.
The cane harvest is restricted to August – November and the months off over summer made way for the development of the ever-popular Ink Gin. Meanwhile, Husk Virgin Cane Rum and spiced rum, Spiced Bam Bam, quietly matured on oak in the background.
Ink Gin hit the market with a bang, with lucky sippers getting on board with the smooth Australian taste and quirky colour change of the butterfly pea (from blue to purple) when you add tonic. So great.
And now, after much hard work from the Messenger’s and much gin sampling from us, Husk Farm Distillery is set to be our new favourite destination drinking hole.
Bring on mid-June for bulk roadtrips down south.
LOCATION: Dulguigan Rd, North Tumbulgum
On June 13th each year we raise a glass to World Gin Day and the spirit that has certainly had its come up over the last little while. The Gold Coast boasts our very own gin distillery plus a host of bars making magic with local gins. All of which you won’t be surprised to learn we’re big fans of.
In honour of that, here are the best spots to get your gin fix on the Gold Coast this World Gin Day (or anyday for that matter). Happy sipping.
Tamborine Mountain Distillery
Tucked away on Mount Tamborine is one of Australia’s smallest and most unique distilleries with over 280 International Awards. Their gold medal award winning gin is the Lilly Pilly Gin, a pot still gin using botanicals such as Australian Lilly Pilly (Riberry), Juniper, Angelica root, Orris root, Citrus peel, Caraway, Coriander, Aniseed Myrtle, Elderflower, Mistletoe, Passionflower, Shepherd’s Purse and more. The best part about it, it’s got a delightful pink hue.
Where: 87-91 Beacon Road, North Tamborine
The Island Rooftop
It’s always a good time on the rooftop in Surfers Paradise, overlooking the city and with guaranteed good vibes. While all the sips are sweet, our recommendation is the Clover Leaf made with Beefeater gin, raspberry, lemon and egg white, so good.
Where: 3128 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise
Aloha Bar & Dining
How does a Saturn Juniper Uranus sound? Cool right. That’s exactly what you should order at Broady’s most colourful alleyway bar, Aloha Bar & Dining. It’s got Four Pillars gin, sloe gin, orgeat, passionfruit, lime and rosemary and it’s out of this world. The bar itself is decked out in full colour, with hidden rooms and moody, good time vibes aplenty. Follow the music down the alley and you’ll find yourself in a magical world of tiki goodness.
Where: 18 Main Place, Broadbeach
Fig & Frankies
Another delightful Broadbeach bar dedicated to exceptional sips and very good times is Fig & Frankies, also newish on the scene and also very well-loved amongst Gold Coast locals. Their cocktail list is tight and filled with delights made up of local spirits and you’ll want to try them all. Drinks are numbered rather than named and each is absolute perfection to be honest. We particularly loved Number One (aptly named) because it is made up of MAC by Brookies, clarified green apple and house lemonade and we cannot overstate tasty enough. Gather the crew and sip up a storm.
Where: 4/2707 Gold Coast Highway, Broadbeach
A must-visit cocktail bar in Broadbeach, Roosevelt Lounge is one of the city’s sexiest spots for a cocktail, capturing the seductive style and glamour of decadent New York. For World Gin Day try the Down the Rabbit Hole Signature Cocktail made up of Ink gin, in-house chimmer liqueur (pink moscato, pisco, peach & orange blossom), blueberry vinegar, citric acid and life of cha crystal tea. Delightfully served in a tea pot, this cocktail is an Instagram dream.
Where: 75 Surf Parade, Broadbeach
The Gold Coast’s first gin distillery Granddad Jacks are, quite obviously king when it comes to gin cocktails (and gin in general). Our number one on their list is the Seymour Street with their very own Greenhouse Gin plus Eucalyptus and fresh lime juice because it’s the ultimate in Aussie-inspired freshness and it tastes top notch too. Love your work mates.
Where: 45 Lemana Lane, Miami
Oh Rosella’s, little love of our lives. A refined Australiana bar in the heart of Burleigh Heads, Rosella’s is bringing all Aussie eats and tipples to the very appreciative people. On a list of cocktails that will 100% improve your life (especially the Pet Nat Slushie – love you) but for the purposes of this article let’s chat about the Kylie Minogue Martini with Vickers Gin from Beenleigh Distillery no less, vodka, elderflower, verjus and pink peppercorn. It’ll have you spinning around in no time.
Where: 6/1743 Gold Coast Highway, Burleigh Heads
Tucked away down Justin Lane behind a red velvet curtain is Lockwood Bar. They a serving up a sexy sip titled Brookie’s Aviation which fuses Brookie’s Dry Gin, lemon juice, Tempus Fugit liqueur de violette and Luxado Maraschino liqueur. Topped off with a maraschino cherry, you know it’s a goodie.
Where: Justin Lane, Burleigh Heads
An intimate little space down Palmy way is Suga, a cocktail and rum bar open until late and serving up cocktails that are quite unlike anything you’ve sipped before. On World Gin Day we recommend a Gin Lippy with Larrikin Gin, citrus syrup, housemade lemonade and a whole lots of tastiness. A very tasty tipple indeed. Pop on in for a few of those this weekend.
Where: 1142 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
The Collective Palm Beach
The Rooftop Bar at The Collective Palm Beach is a gin-lovers paradise with beloved gin-based cocktails including the Rose Hip Martini with Poor Toms Gin, hibiscus syrup, lime and grapefruit and the Unnamed Sympathy served Tiki-style with macadamia-infused Nobel Cut Gin, Bushfire Botanic Australis Gin and pine-lime allspice. Both of which are tried and tested by us and both of which are really very delicious.
Where: 1128 Gold Coast Highway, Palm Beach
Saint Helen’s Kitchen + Bar
If sipping cocktails seaside is your thing (and we know it is), you’ll love Saint Helens Kitchen + Bar signature slurp The Gin Thruster. It’s got gin, blueberry and tonic. It’s bright, refreshing and super Insta-worthy – if it lasts that long.
Where: Shop 2/78 Musgrave Street, Kirra
Words by Kirra Smith
The Gold Coast just keeps getting better and better and it’s all thanks to the passionate locals who want exactly that for our lovely little beachside city.
Some of the most passionate locals around are the Ridden family, owners of the Gold Coast’s first gin distillery, Granddad Jacks who are currently in the process of distilling their first batch of whiskey and have started brewing beer too. Busy bunch.
Their most recent offering to the lucky people of the Gold Coast though, is a Make your own Gin experience and let it be known, it is one experience you won’t soon forget. Only six people take part in each session and it’s $200 each.
Not only do you get to take home your very own bottle of gin, you will also have an absolute time making it exactly as Luke, Dave and the team at Granddad Jacks do. But in a miniature version you can take home.
From the beginning though, allow us to walk you through what will happen if you treat yourself to a spot at the bench.
If you aren’t aware, Granddad Jack is Dave’s Granddad, a man of many talents, after whom the distillery is named and for whom we are very grateful (because we got a sweet distillery due to his undying love of whiskey).
So the experience starts with a tour (and a gin and tonic), Dave takes you through, telling stories about Granddad Jacks entrepreneurial ventures trying to keep his family farm afloat and showing vintage images of the man himself with his beloved family. You’ll learn about the process of building the industrial-style space with ALL recycled materials, how the first batch of whiskey is coming along and you’ll see a few of Granddad Jack’s mementos and the stories behind his love of each one. It’s a beautiful story and one that will make you feel fully immersed in the families’ history. Which is, of course, the point.
Next up, Luke will show you the process of distilling spirits then he’ll get you to taste a few gins (straight up) to discern the differences in flavours and processes of production. Then it’s to the bench for science time.
You’ll be seated in front of your own still and Luke will talk you through the technicalities of what you’re about to do then you’ll pour ethanol into the still to begin the process. You then get to weigh out the botanicals you’ll use to flavour your gin and there are MANY options to choose from.
Just quietly, lemongrass, lemon rind and rosehip are a winning combination but you may choose your own adventure if you don’t like winning.
Several more critical steps then need to happen including adding the botanicals to the liquid, draining out the first part of liquid (the heads) getting to the hearts (actual term) which is the good stuff, measuring alcohol content, eating pizza (part of the workshop cost) and finally, bottling your precious gin baby, complete with the name you’ve chosen for your tipple.
There’s a couple more gin and tonics thrown into the mix and a tasting competition at the end of the night, and then you get to go on your merry way with your personalised bottle of gin under your arm.
Not only that, the winner of your night will be in the running to have a batch made and sold within the distillery.
To sum up; you get to enjoy one of the most fun nights ever with the Granddad Jacks crew, learn and practice the exact art of gin making and take home your very own concoction.
So great. Tickets to the first experience will be released this week so make sure you grab one.
LOCATION: 43 Lemana Lane, Miami
WHEN: One Thursday night per month from 6pm to 10pm
Words by Kirra Smith. Images by Desert Island Media.