What sort of gin do you get when you mix the back lanes of Sydney, a commitment to sustainability and a love of music?
From the vibrant back alleyways of Newton in Sydney comes a gin with all the personality of its birthplace.
Newtown is one of the oldest parts of Sydney, just a few clicks south of downtown and is famous for its working class and student vibe, cultural diversity and indie music scene.
On a recent visit to Sydney I took the opportunity to swing past Young Henrys which was quite an experience for a buttoned-up kind-of guy like me.
I wandered in after getting a bit lost in the laneways (the smell of BBQ helped me navigate) chatting along the way with some local graffiti artists, and I found myself in a cavernous warehouse heaving like the best garage party you could imagine.
Apparently that’s how they roll at Young Henrys.
They’re all about enjoying and respecting the craft, working as a team, and as they say there, serve the people.
About the Gin
Released earlier this year, Young Henrys have form as craft beer brewers of distinction. This matters, for when developing the gin they decided to incorporate a special hops from Tasmania, called Enigma.
They are also unique in Australia (I think) in distilling the base spirit for the gin themselves. Normally most gins here use a base spirit imported, or made elsewhere, the still required being somewhat massive in itself being one reason.
But wanting to do everything from scratch they imported a 2000 litre capacity, 20 plate still from Tennessee with bootlegger credentials (of course) and use a base of 100% grain, all locally sourced.
Using a double distillation process, the botanicals include the usual coriander, juniper, orange peel, cassia bark, and angelica and liquorice root. But they also use cascara (the skin of coffee pods), sencha tea, bush tomato and pepper berry.
The aim of the hops inclusion is to give the gin depth and roundness.
As with all small batch distilling there will be some variation in the final product depending on the seasons and ingredients.
The also posted a fun promo clip about the gin on their Vimeo channel.
- Neat: On the nose it presents a strong perfume and you can just make out the hops and spicier botanicals. I get a more alcoholic kick that some of the others I’ve tasted recently, but that settles down to leave a mildly spicy taste with some residual sweetness, with no one botanical dominating.
- Martini: I struggled on my first attempt I confess- until I figured that the better garnish instead of a classic olive was to go down the herbaceous or citrus route to bring out those botanicals. So I tried lemon and then grapefruit, and the latter really shone. I think Lemon Thyme would work a treat too. The result was a spicy and full-flavoured cocktail, and I think it would work a treat dirty, or as a Gibson. Light on the vermouth though.
- This gin would also make a great G+T with some big flavour garnishes and the base for an excellent Negroni.
The Take Home
Inspired by positive ethos of doing some new in a collaborative spirit, the team at Young Henrys are going from strength to strength. No pretence here, its all about creating things sustainably, inspired by their place and putting one big welcome matt out.
The Noble Cut is as complex and lively as the place it comes from. It presents a strong personality that isn’t trying to impress, its just being true to itself. Its very much an contemporary Australian urban interpretation of the London Dry Style.
Gin, good times, what’s not to love about that?