You might have heard about the blue gin that turns pink. But have you heard about the rum that is produced in the same northern rivers distillery?
Husk Distillers are located in Tumbulgum, a region as beautiful as the gin. The keys to the local beauty are the Tweed River and Wollumbin (Mount Warning). The secret of the gorgeous gin is butterfly pea flowers, which give the blue colour as well as its capacity as an acid-base indicator – remember litmus tests from high-school chemistry? Lemon and lime juice, as well as tonic water, are options for providing the acidity that turns the gin pink.
A fortnight ago, Ink Gin won Best Innovation in the spirits category at the Australian Drinks Awards.
The rum is also different. ‘Ninety-nine per cent of rum is made from molasses,’ says Harriet Messenger, Paul’s daughter and Husk’s marketing and sales manager. ‘We are the only ones in Australia, and one of the few in the world, who make rum from sugar cane.’
Literally hot off the still (it was first available yesterday) is an un-aged (and therefore white) rum called Pure Cane. If you’re interested in trying it, you’d better get in quick, as Husk’s aged rum (also an awardee), released last year, sold out in three days.
Husk aims to be a sustainable distillery. This doesn’t mean that it will produce sufficient alcohol to sustain you through an entire night out. It means that Husk actively minimises the effect of their production on the environment.
In practice, this means growing cane within a short walk of the distillery, using the bagasse (the fibrous part of cane) to mulch new rainforest plantings, and having cows, which eat the left-over bits of the botanicals used to make gin as well as the yeasty distilling waste, which is wonderfully high in protein.
Plans are afoot for you to be able to see all for yourself, thanks to building works to enlarge the distillery as well to create a tasting room, cafe and information/museum area.
In the meantime, you can think of cows, cane and chemistry as you sip some award-winning, locally produced gin or some brand-new rum.
Info: Ink Gin can be found at every independent bottleshop in the northern rivers, Dan Murphy’s, online (huskdistillers.com) and in locally made cocktails. The new Pure Cane rum is available online and will gradually make its way into bottleshops and cocktails.