What to Serve with Bush and Coast Gins
Got your hands on a bottle of our Summer Gin Project twin gins? Here’s how to drink them.
When we start the process of making a new gin we begin with an idea. You have to start somewhere. With Archie Rose Summer Gin Project (the first release, Bush, is available now!) we began with two ideas: Summer and Australia. We set to work collecting ingredients we thought would make good distillates and made short runs on our pilot still. Some things didn't work, others required tweaking of methodology, and some things became all-time heroes of the still. I'm thinking back to peach, to pink peppercorn and to waxflower. As soon as waxflower came off the still you could hear approving murmurs rippling out across the distillery floor. There were arguments if the familiar note was that of tea tree or kaffir lime, if there were lemongrass undertones or if it was straight-up eucalyptus. It's all of the above. And it's a dominant beast. As we joined it in unholy union with juniper the two danced away inside the glass, doing something magical.
After weeks of blending, tweaking a drop here and a drop there, we finished Bush.
But that is not the end of the journey for the gin. This is when the really tough part of the job begins. First we mix every conceivable Martini possible until we find the sweet spot. Bush Gin likes a touch of brine - the salinity brings out the arboreal, piney notes of the juniper and the lush, dewy, slick of the waxflower. It delights in vermouth, benefiting from the sucrose roundhouse kick. You could say the ideal Martini for Bush is dirty and wet.
Next up we play with tonic. We line up dozens of glasses and splash some of the new gin across them, add ice and open one of every tonic on the market. We pour a 50:50 ratio of tonic to each gin and sample. This becomes the quick-fire knockout round. 80% of the tonics are rejected. Nothing wrong with the particular brands, they just don't make the most of our gin. Next we open another one of each of the remaining tonics. Another half a dozen G&Ts are made and matched with a different citrus garnish. One of these drinks will be magical. One of these drinks will be head and shoulders above the rest. And this is the tonic we'll pick for use behind the bar and to recommend to you, dear readers. Obviously we try other ingredients, we don't stick to citrus, we try herbs, flowers, vegetables and the odd shoe. But when playing this ultimate game of matchmaker with Bush and Coast something weird happened. I didn't want to knock the tonics out, these gins shone through. I found it harder and harder to pick a garnish. They worked with lime, with lemon, with grapefruit, with blood orange. They even worked with the sweetness of regular orange. It's not that weird, Valencia orange is an important supporting distillate in both gins. But the notable thing was Bush and Coast Gins love citrus.
These gins are versatile. Try them yourself and see. But most importantly play with your garnish. Ignore the old parental adage to not play with your food. As Forrest Gump taught the world, people are chocolates and we've all got different fillings. Which means what works for me might not work for you. By all means when you approach a new gin listen to the producer's advice, they'll have trialled a lot of garnishes in their quest for the perfect topping. But that still might not suit you best. So next time you meet a new gin, smell it neat, have a little think, poke around the local fruit shop and find something you think will suit. It's hard to make a mistake when you're combining gin and fruit.
When you reach for Archie Rose Summer Gin Project: Bush, you can enjoy it with most good tonics on the market and with all the citrus in the world. If you absolutely must be instructed I think you won't be disappointed with East Imperial Tonic Water and finger lime. You'll also find great joy and satisfaction with Capi Native Tonic, with Strangelove Light Tonic and with old favourite Fever-Tree Indian Tonic. It sings with grapefruit, both red and white, with blood orange, and with the iconic gin garnish: lemon.