The Ink Gin Story

Husk Distillers first fired our hand-beaten copper pot still in 2012 when, after a trip to the French Caribbean, distiller Paul Messenger had a vision to create a unique Australian expression agricole rum.

Authentic agricole rum can only be made during the sugar cane harvest, which in our case is between August and November. So, with the first harvest maturing on oak, it was time to venture forth and explore the Kingdom Botanica for further inspiration.

The discovery of a curious flowering Thai legume, known as the butterfly pea, would become the inspiration for Ink Gin. Ink extracted from this remarkable flower has a curious colour changing property, owing to it’s pH sensitivity. Knowing that tonic water has a pH of 3, Paul realised that the floral ink would change from deep royal blue to blush pink when mixed with tonic. The effect was so beautiful and intriguing that we knew we had to build a gin recipe around this unusual flower.

We started with around 25 botanicals including including the roots, leaves, flowers, bark and seeds from selected Australian natives as well as more traditional and some rather unusual plants sourced from around the world. In the lab we extracted the essence of each ingredient. We then graded each ingredient based on aroma and intensity. Then began the art of mixing different ratios of the various ingredients to get the right taste and mouthfeel. Because of the flowers sensitive nature, it was important to ensure the selection and measure of the final ingredients were very much in balance with the floral ink.

The final recipe is a combination of 13 of these botanicals, with locally grown lemon myrtle and Tasmanian pepper berry at the front with traditional juniper berries. Organic coriander and freshly sun-dried Australian orange peel then pave the way for a suite of minor ingredients that provide perfume, body and balance.

The floral ink itself contributes far more than just its stunning visual appeal. Its modest obscuration makes for smooth sipping neat, and its subtle astringency leaves the palate crisp and clean allowing the dominant citrus and floral notes to carry through for a satisfying finish.

Ink Gin – two parts tradition, one part innovation – perfect straight on ice, as a dry Martini or mixed in your favourite cocktail.

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