On the road between Lobethal and Mount Torrens in the Adelaide Hills, a micro-operation has set about the ambitious task of creating the Adelaide Hills' first gin.
The finer things: Adelaide Hills Distillery
The cars whizzing back and forth on the Onkaparinga Valley Road outside provide the perfect Foley soundtrack to the “distilling for dummies” lecture Sacha La Forgia is currently giving CityMag.
“Alcohol boils at 78 degrees, water at 100,” says Sacha as he traces a line with his finger up the vertical copper pipe, known as a column still. “The process happens over and over again as hot water and cool alcohol vapour molecules pass by each other in the still, causing only the most pure spirit to reach the point where they come into contact with the botanicals.”
There’s been an explosion in boutique spirit operations here in Australia. It would seem bartending’s apparent renaissance has also created a parallel interest in new, interesting and, importantly, local spirits. And London style Gin are among the most prominent; The Melbourne Gin Company can be found on most good back bars now, so too can Four Pillars Gin. Sacha would like 78º to sit alongside them.
“I saw the briefest window for creating a small batch gin here [in Adelaide],” says Sacha, “I had to move fast.”
The speed at which Sacha formed a company and undertook the necessary legal requirements with state and federal governments was such that his original business partners began to peel off, one by one until it was just him left holding the coriander seeds.
Late nights watching the dials on the still, creating myriad batches to develop the perfect blend of botanicals and constantly having to adjust his plans as the size of his operation continued to impede his ability to access the right bottles, stoppers and labels.
Other SA gins include:
& McLaren Vale
But Sacha’sa perseverance has paid off and CityMag is happy to report that the finished product looks every bit the part.
So this Sunday, as part of Adelaide Hills Crush Festival, why not drive up Onkaparinga Valley Road and visit Sacha where he’ll be (very softly) launching his first batch of 78º Gin?