Rowland and Shelley Short, of Maximus Wines, have won awards for their wines in recent years but Rowland, it seems, has been keen on the idea of making his own, home grown, gin. He achieved this dream one year ago by making gin from grapes grown on his property, distilling it on his property and then bottling it on his property. The result is Settlers Gin.
During my onerous research, I learned that most gin is made from grain. Settlers, however, is made from wine spirit. Rowland explains this results in gin that is 'softer on your mouth', in other words it doesn't burn.
He has developed four types of gin; There's a Rare Dry, which is driven by aromatics and an Oak Aged which is more complex. The Old Tom has flavours of sweetness and aniseed and then there's a Sloe Gin, made from sloe berries which grow on a box thorn bush. And Sloe Gin is red in colour. Another new gin fact I have learned.
One of the main ingredients in gin is the juniper berry, which grows on the conifer tree. Conifers are not found in Australia and therefore the little junipers have to be imported. Rowland was determined that most of the other botanicals in his South Australian gin, were to be sourced from South Australia.
He now uses muntrie berries and saltbush from the Coorong and lemon myrtle from the Adelaide Hills in his range of botanicals.