Posted: 12 Feb 2015

A distiller’s guide to
perfect gin cocktails

Cameron Mackenzie and Wilma the distillery for Four PIllars Gin

Pictures: Anson Smart

If you’re a fan of fine gin, get ready to clear your diary.

Four Pillars Distillery will open her doors on February 21 and March 28 for an up-close-and-personal experience with the distiller Cameron Mackenzie (right) and his giant copper still Wilma.

The $100 ticket might sound steep, but it’s a bargain. Cameron will spend 90 minutes explaining the gin-making process, sharing some of its long and colourful history while offering a taste of his three gins (with background on how he made them and how you should drink them). Even better, the ticket includes a goodie bag including a bottle of Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin (RRP $70).

Four Pillars will move from Warandyte South to fancy new digs in Healesville in June, so it will your last chance to see where it all began. For tickets and more information, go here.

And if you’d like to practice at home, these are Cameron’s five favourite ways to drink his gin (which you can buy online here).

1. Classic gin & tonic

Start with something classic, refreshing and easy. Use just about any glass and pour in 45ml of gin and 60 ml of high quality tonic (Four Pillars uses Quina Fina. Five of the Best recommends Capi). Garnish with a slice of orange or grapefruit (see picture, above).

2. Negroni

The ultimate blend of sweetness and bitterness. This is my favourite drink. Layer 45ml of gin, 45ml of Campari and 45ml of red vermouth (Cocchi or Maidenii are both excellent) over ice in a short glass. Squeeze in a twist of orange.Four Pillars martini

3. Martini

Such a great drink, but often so disappointing. This is our wet martini and it hasn’t failed us. Make sure you chill the glasses and fill the cocktail shaker with cold ice (sounds weird, but the colder the ice, the better). Add 60ml gin and 15ml vermouth (we use Dolin) and stire 12 times clockwise and 12 times anti-clockwise. Strain into a glass and garnish.

4. Corpse Reviver #2

I first had this at a bar in New Orleans.  There are a few variations and I’m not sure whose version this is but it works for me. Add the following into a cocktail shaker: 30ml gin, 30ml Cointreau, 30ml Lillet Blanc, 30ml fresh lemon juice and 2 dashes of Absinthe. Shake and strain into a chilled glass and garnish with a twist of orange.

5. The Keating

A favourite amongst the Four Pillars team.  It has some European sophistication but its a bit sour and a bit bitter….it’s a Keating! Layer these ingredients over ice in a chilled tall glass… 45ml gin, 30ml Campari, 30ml fresh lime juice and top with tonic water. Garnish with lime.

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