10 Australian Craft Spirits to Know

Can a place be bottled? In wine, they speak of terroir that mix of soil, climate, and some intangibles that make a wine unmistakeably of its place.

But in spirits, which is, arguably, more scientific and consistent in its production compared to each year’s wine vintage, the final product is result of the makers vision and plenty of experimentation with the view of it being same every time its distilled.

That said, every maker I’ve met has started with an inspiration. A particular aroma or botanical, perhaps another spirit in the way a painter is moved by another art. Often its where they live.

Many Australian makers are expressing their spirit their love of where they live and our unique ingredients. We’re terribly spoilt for choice and quality right now, and there is plenty more coming our way.

So this Australia Day 2017, here’s my list of some spirits that, for me, leave you no doubt where they’re made.  The links below take you to either their website, or my review of the product.



The darling of the craft spirit craze, the best Australian gins are characterised by the intelligent use of native botanicals, locally sourced ingredients and distinctive voices. These two come from opposite sides of Australia, Sydney for the sophisticated Archie Rose, and Western Australia for West Winds who helped break open the export market for Australian gin.



You could say this is our national spirit (and the cause of our one and only coup) and you couldn’t be called a Queenslander without a bottle of rum in the house. These two are great examples of carefully crafted and locally inspired spirits.

Single Malt Scotch

If there was one spirit that made the discerning drinking world change its mind about the quality of Australian spirits, it was the superb products coming out of Tasmania. Sullivans Cove has been rated the best in the world, and we all owe a debt to Bill Lark (and his brother Bill) who helped make the modern spirit era possible in Australia.

Special Stuff

Partly a legacy of our multicultural society and their old world tastes and drinking culture (thank goodness), and typical Aussie ‘let’s make one of our own’ attitude to something traditional.  These two special drinks are world class, and proudly Australian in their ingredients and sustainable production approach.


These two spirits show very different approaches to the ancient spirit of Vodka- both from beautiful islands! Jon Lark (brother of Bill) handcrafted Vodka uses local ingredients to produce approachable and flavoursome spirits, whilst Fire Drum represents the perfect harmony of best practice distilling, first class ingredients and respect for the history of Vodka.

You can discover more Australian spirits via these lists I maintain:

Plus where to buy them online.

Happy Australia Day!