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By Elizabeth Gracie, Social Media & Content EditorISSUE #032 CELEBRATING OUR POLLINATORS AND HONEY MAKERS THIS WORLD BEE DAY | Education

Honey Is At The Heart of our Distiller’s Strength Gin

In celebration of World Bee Day, we thought we would take a trip down memory lane and revisit our Distiller’s Strength Gin, featuring honey harvested from our very own bees, housed originally at our Rosebery Distillery and now at our new distillery in Botany, Sydney.

Conceived as our boldest, yet most elegant gin, our award-winning Distiller’s Strength Gin features sixteen botanicals that have been uniquely infused and individually distilled in our copper pot still to create distinct clarity and flavour.

Featuring NSW pear, rose, elderflower, and of course honey from our onsite hives, this gin is a true testament to our desire to feature raw ingredients.

So how does our harvested honey come into play in the distillation process of our Distiller’s Strength Gin? Hear from Archie Rose Master Distiller Dave Withers himself.

When we started making Distiller’s Strength Gin we were keen to use Urban Beehive as they are local. It was phenomenal to be able to use their honey and it was transformational to learn more about the stuff.

The distillery team, like most people, had taken for granted that honey all looks the same, tastes the same, and can be bought in a jar from the supermarket. The reality is that honey from different hives, in different parts of the year, tastes very different.

I recall that our apiarist Vicky from the Urban Beehive brought about five jars of honey to the distillery one day and had me try them. They each had their own unique flavour and I remember thinking just how wrong we had been about honey. In my mind, all honey is uniform with perhaps slight differences in flavour and colour based on what type of flowers were used to make it. But there were five different kinds of honey in colours ranging from deep bronze to pale straw.

There is a diversity in flavour of honey when the ingredient itself is respected. The flavours matched the appearances too with a wide swing of flavours with everything from roasted nuts and leather to floral and fresh fruit. This is an ingredient that we could use to highlight different flavours. That is what Urban Beehive taught me a great deal about.

With these learnings, we began to experiment and look at how to harness this flavour in our gin. When constructing Distiller’s Strength Gin we wanted to give a fantastically floral but deep flavour to the gin. The honey's role in the flavour profile was to attenuate the other flavours of elderflower, pear, and rose.

To achieve this we used a blend of two kinds of honey. Perhaps the lightest and most fragrant of the honey would deliver the aromatic lift we wanted but it lacked the boldness of richer honey so we mixed them together, creating a delightful honey with so much character.

We still use this process but need to be careful. We learned our lesson that not all kinds of honey are the same and so we still are diligent to make sure that we get the balance of aromatics and depth just right.

Not all kinds of honey are created equal. The decision to go with local honey like Urban Beehive's is often a decision to go with a characterful product.

To celebrate World Bee Day we are giving away a complimentary jar of Archie Rose’s own Distillery Honey with all orders (not including experiences, gift cards, bar reservations, and merchandise). T&C's apply. This complimentary honey offer is not valid on orders being shipped to Western Australia due to the state’s biosecurity laws.