On the banks of the Yarra, sun shining in one of those ‘once a month’ beautiful Melbourne days, Pilgrim and Riverland Bars hosted a fun, laid-back festival affair – entirely dedicated to gin. I love gin, but I’m not what you would call a connoisseur – that’s what I really loved about Juniperlooza – you didn’t need to be going in, but, by the end of your experience you came out a little more cultured on the topic.
Split across the two areas were 14 drink stands manned by local bars like the iconic Gin Palace, plus international, local and interstate gin distilleries – each with their own signature cocktail on offer, or, for those who wanted to keep it simple – the classic gin and tonic.
The accessibility of chief distillers was a real highlight, listening as they proudly discussed their botanicals (one particular gin, from the West Winds Gin company – infused one of their navy-themed gins with Murray sea salt, one sip instantly made me crave seafood), the history of the term ‘Navy Proof’ and even side projects like a gin pig (true story) . You’ll need to visit the Four Pillars gin distillery in Healesville for the full story on that little venture.
The food on offer was perfectly matched with anything gin-related – oysters three ways, Negroni, Singapore Sling or Negroni ice-cream (yes… such a delicious mix really does exist) and light Asian fare from a trendy Bang Bang pop up.
Like kids in a candy store we tried the lot!
Hosted by a MC on a megaphone, and dotted with roving entertainment from jugglers to unicyclers – it was a fantastic way to spend a gorgeous sunny Melbourne day. If we don’t get a Junipalooza in 2016, there will be a lot of people out there with the genuine gin sads.
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