As a Melbournite you’ll often find yourself in the situation of hosting interstate friends or family and, as you live here, and don’t see this fantastic city through outsiders eyes, putting pressure on yourself, wondering what you could possibly do to keep them entertained.
Just under an hour outside of Melbourne, in the Yarra Valley township of Healesville, you can spend a delicious afternoon (and a small fortune on gin goodness) at Four Pillars Gin Distillery.
Not necessarily new to the Yarra Valley scene, Four Pillars popularity has been on the up and up thanks to Melbourne’s love of boutique gin, fun little events like Juniperlooza 2015, Negroni Week and World Gin Day which have helped move gin drinking from its former hipster, bohemian scene to a more of a mainstream appreciation.
The team here live, breathe and love everything about gin. It’s really hard not to get caught up in their excitement and subsequently purchase everything put in front of you.
On arrival we 100% recommend paying $10 to enjoy a tasting with one of the crew. The really cool part about this is, if you keep your receipt, you can redeem that $10 back off any full size bottle purchase. And trust us, you’ll buy something.
If you can, ask for a tasting with Elton. This man knows his gin inside and out, and makes you so excited about gin you’ll want to keep coming back for more. I learnt a few little things about gin from Elton’s fabulous story telling like for example, gin is, in it’s simplest form, vodka plus juniper. The botanicals maketh the gin. Henceforth forever dispelling the myth of the ‘gin sads.’
They’ll tell you the story behind each product in their range (and trust us, each product has a story), plus all of those little ‘this-one-time-the-owners-were-discussing-this-and-from-that-this-product-was-born’ stories that make everyone feel like a VIP guest in this wonderful world of gin.
After your tasting you HAVE to have either a cocktail or Gin and Tonic tasting paddle. The Gin & Tonic tasting paddle comes with the rare dry gin, spiced negroni gin and the navy strength gin and you’ll be hard pressed to select a favourite – they’re all just as good as the other. For the cocktail we tried the Ginger Mule made with their Navy Strength Gin (a bottle of which may or may not have also been purchased) which was perfectly complemented with shared cheese board – the perfect finish to the afternoon with friends.
Four Pillars also have a really quirky, sustainable way of reusing the botanicals and flavors from their gin distilling process. They make marmalade from the orange peel and flesh once it’s done it’s job and, if you were lucky enough to attend Four Pillars during their World Gin Day celebrations, you might have heard about their gin pig project, and perhaps sampled some of the goods like we did!
Having previously spoken to the owners at Juniperlooza, we were looking forward to seeing the final product of this project, where all of the left over botanicals were feed to some free range pigs on a local farm, thus infusing them for the purpose of feeding the hungry hoards on World Gin Day, with juniper infused pork. Sounds a little strange, but we loved it.
Where: 2a Lilydale Road, Healesville VIC 3777 Australia
Opening hours: Seven days a week, 10.30am – 5.30pm and until 9.00pm on Friday and Saturdays (tastings only available until 5.30pm).
Call ahead and book for large groups.
Visit the Four Pillars Gin website.
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