Looking for a fun gift or to spice up cocktail hour at home? The Canberra Distillery has released a cocktail cube box designed as a night of cocktails with 4 different types of spirits and liqueurs with garnishes. Mix up the cocktails designed by Martini Whisperer Phillip Jones and enjoy "cocktail night in a box".
The person behind Canberra Distillery is Tim Reardon who traded in life as a Canberra lobbyist for that of a distiller, "I’m actually an economist by profession. Distilling was my occupational therapy. A quiet place to tinker and make things rather than the more destructive and less tangible world of lobbying. " He tinkered for 7 years transforming his garage into a distillery. Now they have an official location in Mitchell, ACT where customers can come for tours and tastings.
While online sales surged during lockdown, a key element of the experience was missing: markets. "We definitely miss the local market scene, normally it’s the beating heart of the distillery. We just love getting out there and meeting people. Some of our products, like the Sloe Gin in particular, are somewhat unfamiliar but, in a market environment where people can taste it, it sells like hotcakes!" says Tim.
The Martini Whisperer Cube is a collaboration with "Martini Whisperer" Phillip Jones and follows the popularity of their Gin Cube that contains four of their most popular gins (French Earl Grey Gin, Sloe Gin, Dry Gin and Blood Orange & Gin). Tim explains, "This Martini Whisperer Cube takes it a step further by giving you an entire experience: cocktail night in a box. It’s all there, the recipes, the garnishes, even the instructional videos [via QR Code] that will have you mixing like a pro. We’re quite proud of how it all came together."
To create the cocktail recipes they enlisted Phillip, "It was exciting to have him on board for a formal collaboration. One day we invited him in for a tasting and said 'Ok, come back to us with four of your favourites that would work well in combination together. Let’s make it easy for customers to whip up some unique and delicious cocktails with combinations of those four products.' He did a wonderful job. There was a moment that seemed crazy at the time – mixing passionfruit vodka and our basil-infused Winter Gin – but, my goodness did it work! The enthusiasm from that one powerful combo really drove the excitement around the project," says Tim.
The box is cleverly designed with the bottles showing on the outside and the garnishes and instructions in the centre. It is $110 per cocktail cube with free shipping within Australia. There are four 200ml bottles of Sloe Gin, Winter Gin, Butterscotch Schnapps and Passionfruit Vodka along with four recipe cards for bespoke cocktails Summer Vibe, Sundowner Spritz, A Sultry Number and Taijitu Spritz. The recipe cards have QR codes that take you to helpful videos of Phillip making each cocktail.
Mr NQN and I have fun making these one Saturday night. You do need a few ingredients to be able to make all four cocktails which would be good to know beforehand like sweet vermouth, white rum, Angostura bitters and Aperol. As it was we made two cocktails as we had those ingredients: the "A Sultry Number" with sloe gin, butterscotch schnapps, white rum (which we had) and soda as well as the "Taijitu Spritz" with Winter Gin, passion fruit vodka, Angostura Bitters and soda. We end up making cocktails for quite a few nights out of this and Mr NQN in particular really enjoys using this cocktail kit. And I may end up buying him the Gin Cube once this is done.
Outside of the cocktail cube they've produced the Canberra Fog, a liqueur based on a traditional Greek Ouzo. This is made with a mix of recipes from Tim's conversations with Greek migrants who settled in Canberra after working at the Snowy Mountains' Hydro Scheme. "Our tagline is ‘Handcrafted spirits with a sense of place and purpose’. We love Canberra and want people to know that we’re more than just politicians – there’s a lot of great culture here and we’re proud to be a part of the ever-evolving food and drink scene," says Tim.
So tell me Dear Reader, are cocktails a regular part of your life in lockdown? Have you ever ordered a cocktail kit?
The cocktail cube was sent to NQN for review but all opinions remain her own.
The Canberra Distillery