A fun and informative workshop with Four Pillars co-founder and distiller Cameron Mackenzie, who guides guests through the history of gin, its modern resurgence and the gin-making process. Since launching in 2013, the craft distillery has won medals and acclaim at home and abroad.
When guests walk into the industrial-chic-inspired former timberyard, they are whisked away to the distillery room, where Wilma, Jude and Eileen reside. These are the custom-made copper pots, named after the three founders’ mothers, that are used to create Four Pillars gin.
Cameron explains which ingredients are used in each of the six gin varieties we smell and sip. Each botanical – such as juniper, lemon myrtle and star anise – is placed in a glass along the centre of the table so guests can sniff and touch the elements.
“It’s not a wine-tasting, it’s not intimidating,” Cameron says. “It’s transparent and fun, and just a bit different.”
He also discusses gin’s colourful history and its comeback as a desired cocktail ingredient after spending decades in vodka’s shadow. “Modern gin is now so much more about innovative cocktails. It’s no longer nanna’s drink.”
The ticket price includes the 90-minute behind-the-scenes talk and tasting plus a goodie bag with a 700-millilitre bottle of Rare Dry Gin, a jar of Four Pillars orange marmalade and a cocktail recipe book so you can start experimenting at home.
The pain factor
As someone not accustomed to drinking straight spirits, the first sip was a baptism of fire. But each subsequent taste was more enjoyable than the last.
I left the class with a greater appreciation for gin – from the intensive and time-consuming processes required to make it to the interesting ways it can be used in cocktails.
Who should try it?
Anyone from those with a casual interest in gin and spirits to cocktail connoisseurs who want to know more about gin’s history.
Would I do it again?
I would love to do it again, and stay around for a negroni and some snacks at the bar.
NEED TO KNOW
Four Pillars Distillery
- 2a Old Lilydale Road, Healesville
- 5962 2791
A designated driver and an open mind when it comes to sipping spirits sans mixers.
Booking in for the next available session now, as they sell out months in advance.
- Chris Lucas on conquering Melbourne dining
- Give up makeup for a week
- 5 memorable overnight zoo stays