Long recognised as one of Victoria's finest boutique winemakers, Barney and Cam's foray into craft spirits was inspired by the idea of combining some of the coastal ingredients indigenous to the peninsula--samphire, saltbush and seaweed--with some of the spicy aromatic notes often found in their Pinot Noirs--fennel, cinnamon, clove and citrus peel.
To this end, Balcombe uses 20 different botanicals, including foraged ingredients such as local samphire, saltbush, kelp, wild fennel, and wild fennel pollen to impart the all-important coastal experience. The guys then use Java long pepper, blood orange, lemon verbena, as well as two types of coriander and ginger for complexity. Of course there are plenty of juniper notes to balance the powerful coastal character. Distilled under the experienced eye of Sebastian Reaburn, this 'winemaker's gin' is left deliberately cloudy as the boys choose not to fine or filter their spirit, leading to extra texture and complexity.
Great neat, with tonic or in cocktails. We prefer to serve Balcombe with a drier tonic as the iodine and saline character tends to enhance the tonic's sweetness. It makes a drop-dead gorgeous dirty Martini and it's one of the best matches we have found for a dirty G&T, paired with StrangeLove's Dirty Tonic. With its bright juniper punch, its spiced-salty-citrus background and umami texture, it's also a shoo-in for a very fine Negroni.