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Recipe: Pomegranate and lime spritzer

Spritzer recipe (image supplied)
Spritzer recipe (image supplied)

A refreshing non-alcoholic beverage to counteract all those heavy reds you’ve been indulging in!

INGREDIENTS

½ pomegranate, pulp and seeds
½ lime, juice
Handful mint leaves
1 tablespoon honey
1 cup crushed ice
1 ½ cup sparkling water

Garnish
Pomegranate seeds
2 lime wedges
Mint leaves

INSTRUCTIONS

In a large jug, muddle the pomegranate pulp and seeds, lime juice, lime, mint leaves and honey together.
Add the ice and top up with sparkling water.
Pour the spritzer into two glasses and garnish the glass with the pomegranate, lime and mint.
Serve immediately.

Obviously, to make an alcoholic version, just add a shot of your favourite gin or vodka.

For more great recipes by Gold Coast local Caralee Caldwell, check out her page here.

Husk Farm Distillery

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

 

Recipe: Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookie (image supplied)
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookie (image supplied)

Have a bit of spare time on your hands? Make these simple and delicious cookies. They are as healthy as cookies get. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
1½ cups almond meal or ground almonds
1 cup dried dates
1 cup shredded coconut
2 tablespoons cacao powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons natural crunchy peanut butter
¼ cup water
Extra peanut butter for garnish (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees and line a baking tray with baking paper. In a food processor place the almond meal and the dried dates. Whizz until the dates are a very fine crumble. Add the cacao, shredded coconut and baking powder. Stir until combined. Add the peanut butter and water and mix together until the mixture is moist and all the ingredients are fully combined. Roll the dough into 16 balls and place in a row on the baking try. With a wet fork, press each ball down to form the shape of a cookie. Place the bikkies in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool. Garnish with a small dollop of peanut butter.

For more great recipes by Gold Coast local Caralee Caldwell, check out her page here.

Paul Messenger

Paul Messenger - Founder of Husk Distillers and Wife Mandaley Perkins (image supplied)
Paul Messenger, Founder of Husk Distillers and wife, Mandaley Perkins (image supplied)

Correct us if we are wrong, but most of us would be pretty well versed in knowing the taste and look of the famous purple liquid that sits behind most bars. And of course, we are referring to none other than the renowned Ink Gin. And ahead of International Gin Day (yes it’s a thing) on the 9th of April, we thought it would be only fitting we interviewed the man behind Ink Gin. Founder of Husk Distillery, Paul Messenger gives us an insight into how Husk came about and what the once-Goldy-local loves about the Coast when he does make the trip up north from his home in Northern NSW.

How long have you been a Northern New South Wales local?
I grew up on the Gold Coast and have fond memories of visiting Tumbulgum as a ten-year-old when the chain ferry ran people and cars across the river. When we realised we wanted to make agricultural rum, Tumbulgum was the first place that came to mind with its fertile soils, abundant water, rich sugar cane history, picturesque river village and close proximity to some of the world’s best surf beaches. It was with enormous satisfaction and a great privilege that we were able to buy Husk Farm in 2011, finally moving here in 2012.

Tell us how Husk came about.
It’s a long story. I was flying over the Nullarbor Plain on my way to a drill rig in the West Australian goldfields in 1998 when I read a story about how a fella by the name of Bill Lark, the Godfather of Tasmanian whisky, lobbied to change the law and allow small craft distilleries to operate legally. That story captured my imagination and over the next 10 years I followed the success of Tasmanian Whisky and wondered how I too could follow this dream. But it was during a Caribbean cruise in 2009 that my distilling ruminations started to take form during an afternoon sipping 20 year-old Rhum Agricoles in a small bar next to a small distillery on the small island of Martinique. While reflecting on the vast fields of sugar cane back home, my dream took on a clarity quite at odds with the relaxed rum haze that became the rest of the afternoon in that charming place. The locals explained to me that rum made from fresh cane juice has “terroir” – the taste and soul of the place where it’s made. As a geologist, the idea of capturing the provenance and spirit of the place where I grew up made my heart skip a beat and that was where our journey began.

Ink Gins from Husk Distillery (image supplied)
Ink Gins from Husk Distillery (image supplied)

What’s your proudest entrepreneurial moment?
Everything we were doing was novel or innovative and it was clear that it would take many years of devotion to perfect our rum and reveal the true spirit of this place. It was also clear that we needed an income fast, and with the early signs of a gin renaissance taking root in England we started looking for quirky gin ingredients. I actually found the colour changing butterfly pea flower early in the journey and had been experimenting with it in liqueurs, vodka, even rum as well as with a range of gin botanicals. I was mixing these concoctions with lemon or lime to make the colour change, but the “eureka moment” came when I mixed an experimental butterfly pea gin with tonic water. The magic of seeing that deep blue liquid transform into a bright, sparkling blush pink colour sensation will stay with me forever, I knew we were onto something big and that butterfly pea gin and tonic would be a match made in heaven.

What’s the most popular Husk Spirit you sell?
At the moment, at least, Ink Gin is by far our most popular spirit, even though we continue to invest heavily in developing a unique Australian expression of a French-style fresh cane juice rum. Ink Gin came about because of the need to generate cash flow and because cane juice rum is seasonal and can only be made during the harvest (August-November). The fact that we spent three years developing the recipe and getting the infusion right meant we had to keep our day jobs for a few more years, but we wanted to make sure that people would buy the first bottle because of the colour but they’d then buy their second for the taste. Ink Gin hit a nerve with people at the right time, when the craft gin boom was about to take off and people were thirsty for something new and different.

Paul Messenger & Quentin Brival from Husk Distillers (image supplied)

What’s your personal favourite Husk Spirit and why?
No question, Husk Pure Cane. This is how all our rums start – it’s the most pure, unadulterated expression of our ‘terroir’, our provenance. Call it what you like, agricole, fresh juice rum or Cultivated Australian Rum, this is a style not well understood in Australia and unaged rums even less so. But in the French Caribbean, where it is as much a part of their heritage and identity, this is how people drink rum – clean, fresh and full of flavour. Drink it in a short ti’ punch, a daiquiri, caipirinha or mojito, but it must be Pure Cane.

What’s a Gin Cocktail recipe you would recommend to all Gin-lovers?
The Southside is one of the classics, that’s also really easy to make at home. Otherwise, you can’t go past the simple G&T. I like simple drinks where you can really taste the quality of the spirit.

What does the next 5 years have in store for Husk Distillery?
The next 5 years will be just as adventurous, bold and busy as the last 10 years. We are investing in the future of Australian rum with a new sugar mill onsite at Husk. This is a complicated project which will take up a lot of my time this year and next. We are also finishing up a new tank farm and barrel storage and we are planning additions to our fermentation capacity and an upgrade to our wastewater treatment. As always we are very focused on quality control and process improvements and we are committed to making Husk Distillers, Tumbulgum one of the safest, most efficient and sustainable distilleries in Australia. You can also expect to see plenty of new product releases, a new Husk Rum brand identity and bottle (shhh…), and lots of new experiences at the Husk cellar door.

Ink Gin from Husk Distillery (image supplied)
Ink Gin from Husk Distillery (image supplied)

When you visit the Gold Coast, what are your favourites…

Café: Café D’Bar after a surf off the rock wall is always a favourite.
Coffee spot: Zephyr Coffee in Kirra is fantastic. And they roast their own beans!
Restaurant: Jimmy Wah’s in Burleigh is great.
Bar or pub for a drink: Rainbow Bay surf club. Best view on the coast.
How do you choose to spend your weekends? 
Surf as much as I can, catch up with work, spend time with my beautiful wife. BBQ with family and friends and share a few Botanicals & tonics. We also enjoy cruising down the coast and catching a show at Bruns Picture House. Ending up in the Brunswick pub also makes for a great Saturday night.

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