Adelaide Food Central was generously invited to Restaurant Blackwood for Applewood Distillery’s pop-up Adelaide Fringe Bar on Rundle Street this weekend to sample some limited edition gins. Making waves in Adelaide, and interstate, Applewood’s gins are popping up in bars and restaurants all over the country. Brendan and Laura Carter, the South Aussie masterminds behind Applewood Distillery in the Adelaide Hills, have introduced a daring – but exceptional – new gin to their distillery. Renowned for showing immense pride in locally sourced Australian produce, their unique range of spirits scream Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! The newest addition to their gin line, intriguingly, is a Green Tree Ant infused gin. You read that correctly, it is infused with squashed ants. At first we were baffled too, but don’t knock it ’til you try it. There’s nothing really more British than a glass of gin and tonic, aside from tea of course, but Applewood’s Green Ant Gin is about as outback Australian as you can get.
Gin is an exciting spirit to try, because unlike vodka or tequila it varies so much in flavour from distillery to distillery. Aside from the undertone of juniper berries, the recipe for gin is not set in stone, and can be moulded to the distiller’s own preference. Applewood Distillery has literally ventured into unchartered territory with their limited edition Green Ant Gin, but I’d say this gamble has paid off.
The gin itself has a very pungent citrusy, earthy flavour profile with an equally as sharp kick of alcohol. It will taste like a sucker punch to the face, so there’ll be no drinkers dozing off after a shot of this. However, if the shot seems too much to tackle, the Green Ant Gin and Tonic is refreshingly served with ice and kaffir lime leaves. It’s difficult to describe the ant’s flavouring because it is so unlike anything else; but it’s not too far off the acidic flavours of lemons or limes. In the distilling process, the ants are accompanied by more Australian ingredients like finger lime, strawberry gum, lemon myrtle, anise myrtle and pepper berry. So basically, it’s the perfect drink to start of a summer weekend.
Also, a fun fact about the Green Tree Ant is that it is used in Indigenous Australian communities for their associated health benefits, mainly in relation to the immune system. Even more interesting, and this is probably something you’d want to remember, I found it to be an excellent hangover tamer. After drinking only gin, and plenty of it at the tasting, I woke up surprisingly refreshed. I’m going to thank the ants for that one!
If the Green Ant Gin is a little too daring for you to start off with there is a selection of seven other flavours that will surely appeal to you. The Cherry, which tastes like Christmas, Limoncello, and Coffee liqueurs with a splash of gin are perfect for summer, and are absolute must tries. What’s more, is that a 500mL bottle of the Coffee flavour is only $35 – I’ll take ten please!
Applewood’s cosmopolitan pop-up street bar is located on the street outside of Restaurant Blackwood on Rundle Street, and will be there for the duration of the Fringe Festival.
The specific times you can visit them are:
– Fridays 7pm – 1am
– Saturdays 5pm – 1am
– Sundays 5pm – 12pm
Words by Erin Gear
WHERE: 285 Rundle St, Adelaide