Discover your next favourite cocktail during a trip to Australia’s most celebrated distilleries
Whether you’re a fan of a botanical-infused G&T, a hardcore whisky aficionado or prefer your drinks with a splash of spiced rum, you can discover your perfect drop without travelling halfway across the globe.
Australia has an impressive selection of distilleries to delight, from the established champions to a recent boom of smaller, family-run craft distilleries. Read on to discover some of our favourite Australian distilleries and their signature cocktails. Our top tip: stay nearby and you won’t need to appoint a designated driver!
Tasmania’s pure air and clean water have a hand in producing some of the world’s most celebrated spirits.
Lark Distillery, Hobart
Paving the way for the Apple Isle’s single malt whisky is Lark Distillery in Hobart. Enjoy a guided tasting of Tasmania’s very first single malt whisky at the cellar door, which doubles as a whisky bar, featuring over 250 premium varieties and a selection of Tasmanian beer, wine and cider. Hobart’s bar and restaurant scene is thriving, so you’ll have no shortage of places to try afterwards.
Signature cocktail: Try the ultra-smooth De Rigueur, made with Lark Distillery’s SYMPHONY Nº1, ruby grapefruit juice and leatherwood honey syrup.
No designated driver needed: discover our Hobart escapes.
McHenry Distillery, Tasman Peninsula
Along the Tasman Peninsula, on the way to Port Arthur, is the family-run McHenry Distillery, Australia’s southernmost whisky distillery. It’s not all about whisky here; the distillery also prides itself on its selection of award-winning gins and vodkas. Become an expert distiller for the day and take part in the gin-making workshop or enjoy a tasting flight to unlock the secrets and flavour profiles of the distillery’s top spirits.
Signature cocktail: Nothing surpasses a classic martini, stirred (not shaken) using McHenry Classic Dry Gin, vermouth and olive of lemon peel to garnish.
In every corner you can discover countless artisanal distillers producing reinvented classics and one-of-a-kind drops.
Four Pillars, Yarra Valley
A growing number of small-batch craft gin distilleries are cropping up across Victoria, but it’s widely agreed that the crème de la crème is Four Pillars. Plan a weekend to the Yarra Valley and make a stop in Healesville, where you can grab a paddle of award-winning gins for a tasting out in the brand-new, leafy gin garden. Be warned: Four Pillars’ navy-strength gin is not for the faint hearted! If you fancy something with a lower alcohol percentage afterwards, the Yarra Valley is teeming with excellent wineries and restaurants to line your stomach.
Signature cocktail: Get your hands on Four Pillars’ world-famous Bloody Shiraz Gin, best enjoyed with bitter lemon tonic over ice, garnished with a fresh orange slice.
Plan ahead with our Yarra Valley escapes
Loch Brewery & Distillery, Gippsland
For those who prefer a darker liquor, Loch Brewery & Distillery’s long-awaited single malt whisky is worth the 1.5-hour drive east of Melbourne to Gippsland. So, if you’re enjoying a Melbourne city break, this makes for a delightful day trip. Distilled in hand-beaten alembic copper pot stills, Loch Distillery’s whisky has been over a decade in the making, with owners Craig Johnson and Mel Davies meticulously developing and refining their knowledge of the distilling process. Be sure to visit the historic cellar door, where you can enjoy a dram of the renowned whisky.
Signature cocktail: Loch Distillery’s pre-mixed negroni is here to make your life easier – all you need to do is pour over ice and garnish with an orange slice.
New South Wales
Discover a gin distillery producing sustainable sips with a minimal carbon footprint.
Lord Byron Distillery, Byron Bay
Along the laidback, sunny streets of Byron Bay, Lord Byron Distillery has perfected the craft of producing sustainable artisanal spirits with minimal environmental impact. Family run, carbon neutral and zero waste, this is a distillery with a clear conscience. Take part in a bespoke gin-blending class, where you can craft your perfect gin with an individual blend of botanicals, before bottling and labelling your concoction to take home.
Signature cocktail: Try the Land Walker, a refreshing combination of Lord Byron Gin, Lord Byron Limoncello, fresh lime juice and elderflower cordial.
No designated driver needed: discover our Byron Bay escapes.
This sunny state’s flourishing sugar-cane fields help produce some of Australia’s most celebrated, top-notch rums
Milton Rum Distillery, Brisbane
If you’re after great Australian-made rum, you’ve come to the right place. You won’t have to travel far from your Brisbane’s CBD city break to find Milton Rum Distillery, where traditional distilling methods collide with the latest innovations to create award-winning spirits infused with the passion of its makers. Be sure to drop into the distillery’s Malecón Rum Bar to try craft rum cocktails and rare rum flights with a side of hip-shaking Cuban salsa.
Signature cocktail: The Hurricane is the perfect summertime sip: Spiced Cane Spirit shaken with passionfruit syrup and lime juice.
Plan ahead with our Brisbane escapes.
While Australia’s southwest is renowned for its wines, an increasing number of stellar distilleries is another reason to holiday here.
Margaret River Distilling Company, Margaret River
In the gorgeous southwest corner of Western Australia, surrounded by native peppermint trees, is the Margaret River Distilling Company. This celebrated gin distillery is home to Australia’s only ‘Giniversity’, where you can learn the history of this herbaceous spirit, take a tour of the working still and blend your very own bespoke gin, taking home your personalised 500ml bottle after you graduate. You can celebrate your gin ‘degree’ at one of Margaret River’s award-winning wineries or chef-hatted restaurants,
Signature cocktail: Feel like something zesty? Try the Lady Marmalade, a blend of Giniversity Barrel Aged Gin, marmalade and grapefruit juice, garnished with a dehydrated orange slice.
No designated driver needed: discover our Margaret River escapes.
Hoochery Distillery, Kununurra
For a dose of history (chased with a sip of rum), head to Hoochery Distillery in Kununurra, birthplace of the legendary Ord River Rum. This historic distillery is proud to be the oldest operating legal rum still in Western Australia, crafting high-quality drops from nothing but Australian sugar cane, rainwater and yeast. Set among the Kimberley’s stunning landscape, Hoochery Distillery is the perfect place to drop by for a rum tasting before enjoying a slice of cake at the café.
Signature cocktail: What could be better than a refreshing, minty mojito made with Hoochery rum to combat the Kimberley’s sweltering heat?
Venture to Australia’s third largest island off the coast of South Australia for an out-of-this-world gin tasting.
Kangaroo Island Spirts, Kangaroo Island
There are countless reasons to visit Kangaroo Island – its pristine, rugged wilderness, the emerging island food scene, the wildlife. Adding to that list is Australia’s first dedicated gin distillery, Kangaroo Island Spirits. This small-scale, family-run distillery has been producing creative, botanically focussed gins since 2002. Almost 20 years on, this is a must visit destination during your King Island stay. Head over to enjoy a gin tasting flight in the sunny gin garden or take part in a cocktail masterclass, where you can create three of the distillery’s popular cocktails.
Signature cocktail: Get your hands on a lip-smacking Rhubarb Gin Sour, made using KIS Rhubarb Gin, sugar syrup, egg whites, lemon and a sprig of rosemary.
Hero image credit: Tourism Australia