Four Pillars distiller Cameron MacKenzie found inspiration for the distillery’s first ever Christmas gin from a 1968 Australian Women’s Weekly pudding recipe.
When he stumbled across the recipe a few years ago, he remembered how his late mother, Wilma, would spend Derby Day every year making her puddings, filling the house with Christmas aromas.
“I first thought about making the pudding with my kids, but when I looked more closely at the recipe, it struck me how well the ingredients would work in a juniper-driven gin,” MacKenzie says.
He spent the next few years perfecting the drop at the Healesville distillery, using a botanical basket to steam ingredients such as nutmeg, raisins and peels, before storing the gin in 100-year-old Rutherglen Muscat barrels.
“The final process was taking the gin we’d created and tweaking it with Rutherglen Muscat to give it a richness on the palate and a hint of sweetness.”
The special-edition gin has an aroma of pine needles and flavours of cinnamon, spices, currants and citrus with darker, drier fruit characters.
“The Christmas-tree aroma blends with the lovely fruitcake flavours and more subtle coffee characters,” MacKenzie says.
“It still smells like an interesting, complex, juniper-driven gin, but it tastes like a mouthful of Christmas pudding.”
Cameron MacKenzie’s top-three ways to enjoy Four Pillars Australian Christmas Gin:
Sip it neat and add an ice cube depending on the weather.
Use a couple of shots to make a Gin Egg Flip with grated nutmeg over the top.
Pour generously over Christmas pudding.