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November 21, 2019

Sparkke at the Whitmore and Applewood Distillery release Great Dames Gin collab

The two female-led companies released the citrus and spice-packed gin as a tribute to pioneering women in the food and beverage industry.

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  • Words: Johnny von Einem
  • Pictures: Supplied
  • Image 1: L-R: Rose Kentish, Megan Hume, Emilee Moore, Emma McCaskill, Katherine Sortini

Two companies at the forefront of empowerment of women in business, Sparkke at the Whitmore (the female-owned brewpub at the top of Whitmore Square) and Applewood Distillery (run by Laura Carter and her husband Brendan, and which also, through its sister wine brand, ran an all-female winemaking team during the 2019 vintage) have teamed up for a gin celebrating the pioneering women of the hospitality industry.


Great Dames Gin is available now at Sparkke at the Whitmore.

Called Great Dames Gin, the spirit takes cues from the Sparkke at the Whitmore kitchen, making use of finger limes, spent pink grapefruits and lemons, accented with subtle notes of curry leaf and watercress, and finished with a touch of palm sugar post-distillation.

The all-female collaborating team consisted of Sparkke’s co-founder and director, Rose Kentish, Sparkke at the Whitmore’s head chef, Emma McCaskill, hotel manager, Emilee Moore, and head bartender, Katherine Sortini, and on team Applewood, head distiller Laura and distiller Megan Hume.

Great Dames Gin: Available in many delicious forms



“We were so excited when Sparkke first approached us to do a collaboration as we were already great fans of their beverages,” Laura says.

“The combination of these flavours were new for us which made the process extremely creative for our distillation team.”

“We wanted to use ingredients in the gin that are signature flavours in our kitchen,” Emma says.

“We work a lot with spent citrus, so we infused the pure ethanol with this. Wild watercress with its pepper-y notes features too. We use a lot of Indian spices, such as coriander and curry leaf, which is a unique element that features strongly within my cooking and reflects my Indian heritage.”

The collaboration was also an opportunity for all the makers involved to see their own craft from a new perspective.

“We created this gin so our young makers could collaborate and learn from each other, encourage the cross pollination of ideas and learn a new skill base,” Rose says.

In addition to the gin, the Sparkke team has also created eight limited-edition cocktails, each a tribute to a different female hospitality forebear: Ada Coleman (one of the best-known female bartenders in history), Sue Binns (a well-respected South Australian publican); Sam Fuss (one of the first female brewers in Australia, Sarah Lark (Australia’s first female distiller), Abby Reonnfeldt (An Adelaide bartender and burlesque performer who made her first cocktail on the first day she opened her first bar, Hades Hula House), Maggie Beer (who needs no introduction), and Pam Dunsford (the first female to be accepted to study winemaking at Roseworthy).

Great Dames Gin was made in a short run of just 1000 bottles, so get it while it’s hot. The gin can be purchased online, at Sparkke at the Whitmore’s bottle shop, and at the Applewood Distillery cellar door.

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