It’s no secret that Australian gins are making waves around the world. In the last few years, local distillers have been earning the country a blue-ribbon reputation for their interesting and original gins. One label in particular offers a different perspective.
Cape Byron Distillery is located on the Brook family’s macadamia farm in the hinterland of Byron Bay and has just launched a cellar-door program to the public, which includes a gin tasting and a rainforest tour. “What we’ve got in our area of the Northern Rivers is the ultimate pantry for making gin,” says Cape Byron Distillery co-founder Eddie Brook. “We want to introduce people to our sense of excitement for this area and this world unknown.”
Brook is committed to showcasing the work of his parents – who have planted over 35,000 trees as part of a rainforest regeneration project on their property – as well as the abundance of native plants that make his gin so special. “What we do is work with what my parents have done with the rainforest, picking the best native ingredients and connecting all that to the gin-and-tonic in your hand. I don’t think it’s ever been done before.”
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The ingredients that go into Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin are carefully chosen. There are more than 60 varieties of finger lime that grow on the Northern Rivers but Brook chooses one called the Byron Sunrise because it grows native on his property. White Aspen and Riberry also grow wild and impart notes of lemon-lime sorbet and watermelon on the gin.
“This idea that regeneration doesn’t take a lifetime,” is something Brook hopes people take away from visiting the distillery. “But we also want people to enjoy a few drinks and some good banter,” he says.
Tours are $35 per person. Bookings can be made at capebyrondistillery.com.