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Small batch distillery Wildflower Gin now open

Pop in for a bottle or make your own.

We the people of the Gold Coast are very much community-loving people. We’re all about supporting each other and having a very good time while we do it. Which is why it’s the very best news when a sweet, new space opens up and particularly one that creates their very own brand of gin.

Yes, Gold Coasters we have a new gin distillery on our hands and they are bottling up a very smooth, flavoursome drop indeed. It’s called Wildflower Gin, it can be found on Scottsdale Drive in Varsity Lakes and you’re likely to be visiting there quite a lot from now on.

Wildflower Gin is the work of James Greig and a team of passionate distillers who have over the past few years managed to create what they’ve deemed ‘Burleigh in a bottle’, a gin filled with locally grown botanicals including cardamom, lemon myrtle and coriander plus a little drop of honey from James’ own Burleigh backyard.

It’s a very easy drinking drop, a little bit floral and paired perfectly with either tonic (ask the team which is best) or solo over ice (tried and tested).

The brand came about as a hobby for James, who is quite the multi-passionate local business owner. He began with a very small Still to see if he could make it work and of course, he could.

Now the space boasts Walter, a beautiful copper Still that initially had the job of pumping out an unimaginable amount of hand sanitizer because Wildflower launched right at the beginning of lockdown time. Which may have seemed unlucky but actually allowed James and the team to both help the local community with something we desperately needed (REMEMBER) and make a few new friends along the way.

All of whom are now die-hard fans of Wildflower Signature Gin and for good reason.

At the moment, the space is mostly a cellar door affair so you can pop in, pick up a bottle and head on home again. If you’d prefer to stay a little longer and you probably will, you can book in for a make-your-own-gin class where the team will take you through the exact steps of making your own personal bottle of gin in a tiny little still and with an array of botanicals to choose from. You can book in for a class on the website right now.

Wildflower Gin Distillery cocktails (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)
Wildflower Gin Distillery cocktails (Image: © 2020 Inside Gold Coast)

What a time to be alive.

Either way, you’re going to want to sample Wildflowers’ initial offering ASAP and keep an eye out for upcoming limited edition releases in the future.

See, supporting local businesses and having a good time, we’re all about it.

LOCATION: 486 Scottsdale Rd, Varsity Lakes
HOURS: 2.30pm to 5pm weekdays and 11am to 6pm Saturday

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

11 of the best local gin cocktails

Granddad Jacks' Seymour Street via @shark4chipdrink
Granddad Jacks' Seymour Street via @shark4chipdrink

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

Number One and Two, Fig & Frankies
Number One and Two, Fig & Frankies

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

Roosevelt Lounge
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

Granddad Jacks
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

Rosella’s Bar
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

Kylie Minogue Martini
Kylie Minogue Martini

Lockwood Bar
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 Gin Parlour and Infusion Bar

Gin has quickly become the drink of choice for Coasties since a slew of local varieties began popping up and that is quite okay by us.

Especially when venues dedicated to the lovely liquid are also appearing. The latest of which can be found in one of our favourite art and event spaces, Miami Marketta.

That’s right friends, The Gin Parlour and Infusion Bar is open for business and we suggest you plan your weeks for the next little while around this fact.

The venue can be found at the back of Marketta, or the front depending on which end you’re at to be honest (the back from the Hillcrest Ave end) and it’s absolutely beautifully decorated as one would expect from the creative folks who gifted us the eclectic space.

Upon entry, you’ll see fairy lights strung across the ceiling in an undercover outdoor area that will have your name written all over it come summer. Inside, the space is decked out with stunning vintage pieces including velvet couches you will not want to get out of and antique goodies placed artfully around.

The bar itself is one of the best we’ve seen, with little hidey holes for each bottle of gin (of which there are 90 varieties), art deco chandeliers hanging directly above your head and a back wall carved with intricate patterns that will have you peering around in awe. The ceiling though, is the pièce de résistance with murals strung across the length of the room that are truly a sight to behold.

As you’d expect, the entire space comes together as a piece of art in and of itself, Director Emma Milkins and the team have truly outdone themselves here.

As mentioned, the gin selection is perhaps the most diverse around and it’s almost unbelievable that one little spirit can be home to so many unique flavours.

We recommend starting off with a gin tasting board, because there can never be too many types of gin in your life. The Ginny Hendrix (yes, the names are all this great) features Beefeater, Bombay Sapphire, Hendricks and Tanqueray and is served with paired condiments and Fever Three Indian Tonic.

At the more complex end of the scale, The Ginny from the Block features Herno Old Tom and Monkey 47 Sloe to name a couple and is also served with condiments and a variety of tonics.

Besides these, there are plenty more absolutely incredible varieties on offer including one you must sample that comes complete with green ants for a bit of a fun flavour. Of course if gin is not your thing, you may still sample tasty beverages in the form of uniquely flavour-infused spirits and of course, beer, wine and champagne.

The Gin Parlour and Infusion Bar will also feature incredible jazz bands every Thursday night that are sure to bring an absolute time to the Miami venue.

Of course, all the regular food truck business is still a goer so you can hang out at Marketta half the week and never get sick of the goodness!

LOCATION: 23 Hillcrest Pde, Miami
HOURS: Wednesday to Saturday from 5pm until late

Words and photos by Kirra Smith

Make your own gin

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.

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