With Easter holidays just around the corner, I thought I might put forth a suggestion for some adult entertainment of the gin kind…
I love discovering what a region has to offer, and love even more when that discovery involves gin. I admit it. I love gin. I know I am not alone, so I thought I would share one of my favourite gin discoveries in the way of Cape Byron Distillery, located on range at McLeod’s Shoot, just out of Bryon Bay… just incase you were scratching for things to do over Easter…
Cape Byron Distillery is quite unique as far as distilleries go, and it’s origin, one of those wonderful stories.
It is the home to Brookie’s Dry Gin, but that is not where it all started. The story goes like this…
Pam & Martin Brook, founders of the Cape Byron legacy, yearning to secure their little piece of heaven away from the city, purchased a run down dairy farm back in 1988. Initially they planted some 4,000 macadamia trees. As Brookfarm, they went onto create a range of mueslis, as a way of maximising the bounty of their harvest, which has grown into an expansive range of mueslis, granolas, muesli bars, nut blends and oils that are now sold Australia wide and beyond.
The genius, and natural beauty of Brookfarm, was the decision to plant 30 acres of the property with over 30,000 sub tropical rainforest plants that have now reached a stunning maturity becoming the foundation of Cape Byron’s uniqueness.
However, the part of the story that I am particularly fond of, is the part where now, adult son, Eddie Brook, decides that he might like to foray into the world of making his own gin… and no less, a gin with macadamia nuts as an ingredient.
And so Cape Byron Distillery was born.
Driving into Cape Byron is like entering a magical secret garden. The distillery is perched on the crest overlooking the macadamia orchard, surrounded by a serenity that sings and beckons one in… and there it is… the ultimate reward… a gin and tonic, complete with native fingerlime, to make you feel welcome and at home.
When visiting Cape Byron Distillery, leave yourself time to do a tour – it will give you a wonderful understanding of not only the story of Cape Byron, but a direct connection with some of the native botanicals used in the production of gin, how they are grown, and the whole gin making and gin ‘enjoying’ process.
You are led through the wonderful, now mature, gardens, touching, smelling, and occasionally tasting some of the aromatic native botanicals grown and used in making Brookie’s Gin. Native raspberries, Davidsonia plums, native ginger, cinnamon myrtle, aniseed myrtle, white aspen, riberries and so many more. Native beehives are scattered throughout the path that eventually meanders in a loop back to the distillery, where all the magic happens.
26 botanicals are used to make Brookie’s Dry Gin. 18 of those botanicals are sourced with in the Byron Bay region, with many of them coming from their own rainforest. Under the guidance of award winning master distiller Jim McEwan, Eddie came to produce a an exceptional gin, where the use of macadamia nuts gives the gin a beautiful smooth feel, making the gin drinking experience even more pleasurable.
Surrounding the majestic copper pot still, we hear more stories and we work our way through the various botanicals that go into making Brookie’s Gin so good. Oh, and not to forget the Slow Gin (yes, Slow, not Sloe), using Davidson Plums grown on the property, for a gin that really is their own.
Cape Byron Distillery is a must visit when visiting the Byron Bay region. Even if you are not a gin fan (what’s wrong with you??) the tour is a great way to understand native regeneration, and that native harvest that ensues. It is a great day out. The guides are entertaining and informative, and the G&T on the deck breathing in the fresh rainforest air is worth the trip alone.
So that’s Easter sorted for you all… Enjoy!
To find out more about Cape Byron Distillery and book your distillery tour visit:
This story was written by Petra Hughes – Pebbles + Pomegranate Seeds
Photographs by Petra Hughes – © Copyright 2018 – All rights reserved.
Images may not be reproduced, downloaded or used without written permission from the copyright holder.