I always look forward to November in Australia because for the last few years I have been attending Gourmet Escape, an event in the marvellous wine region of the Margaret River. This year I am cooking at Howard Park winery and really looking forward to working with the team there.
2016 however was a little different.
Last year I hooked up with the guys at Limeburners distillery - they make fantastic gins and whisky’s. My good buddie Tony Conigliaro from The Drinks Factory in London was with me. Tony and I have been working together for many years on the drinks offering at the bar in Dinner. Our creative process is quite special. I explain all our cooking techniques and approach to our dishes and then we make cocktails together following those same principles. The result is that our drinks really connect with our menu.
Following that same process, whilst we were at the distillery, we started to explore the different botanicals we found there. The region is pretty unique. The scents and aromas of the forest contrast with the breeze from ocean and together create an incredible bounty of wonderful tasting produce. I was impressed by the subtlety of the local lemon myrtle and that oceanic freshness that is always constant in the Margaret River.
So after a further play and a bit more exploration we made a gin.
Limeburners Gourmet Escape gin, by a chef.
It was great working with the team at the distillery, they really embraced everything Tony and I wanted to explore. The inspiration for our gin was taken from our coastal trip through the Margaret River and the distillation represents my taste of Australia. With soft citrus flavours of lemon myrtle balanced with coastal herbs, eucalypts and a dash of mountain pepper for spice, our gin was designed for G&T’s. Ideally to be enjoyed as a refreshing gin and tonic served with lots of ice and a slice.
We serve it exclusively at the bar in Dinner, Melbourne or those attending Gourmet Escape in November will also get to try. Who knows what we will cook up this year.