Gin Society Member
Meet Gin Society member Joel Holt. When the Sydney-based kitchen salesman isn’t spending time with his family, Joel likes to discover new and different gins while sharing the experience with like-minded individuals. Here, he talks to us about all things gin.
What do you love about gin as a spirit?
I love that no one gin is the same. It’s open to interpretation. It’s a bit like wine in that sense. One of the other things I love about gin is getting other people involved. I like referring gins to people and talking to them about the different ways to try them.
What draws you to a gin?
I look at the bottle and its design. I like it if it looks different. Like Monkey 47 Gin, which has a brown medicinal-style bottle and a cork top. I also try to stay away from mainstream gins. Those that are more difficult to get are what I am after. I don’t want to be drinking what everyone else is drinking.
Any particular gins you’re enjoying at the moment?
Pink Pepper Gin would be up there and 44 Degrees North. I drink both of them with one ice cube, just to take the edge off. I also really enjoy sloe gins as well.
What does your personal gin collection look like?
At the moment I’ve probably got around 28 bottles. There’s some Green Ant Gin, Pink Pepper Gin, Hendrick’s, KI NO BI, Jinzu, Sipsmith – which is my everyday gin – Whitley Neill Gin, and a couple of bottles of Brookie’s including their Byron Slow Gin, Dry Gin and one of their limited-edition ones. A lot from Gin Society too, like Juno, Jensen’s, the Melbourne Gin Company’s Single Shot Gin and Le Tribute, which was delicate but delicious.
Do you have a go-to garnish or mixer?
My go-to garnish at the moment is strawberry and lime. I use a big chunk of lime – I call it a dirty lime – you just squeeze it and dump it in. Then you muddle the strawberry up a little bit, so it’s all juicy, throw that in and stir it around with the ice. A Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic goes really well with it or even some of the Artisan ones, like the Classic London Tonic.
Any other garnishes you’ve been experimenting with?
I like experimenting and having a bit of a lolly at the end to chew on. I like pomegranate, lavender, rosemary, thyme and raspberries. But it depends as I try to follow the flavours of the gin. So if it’s fruity, I try something fruity. If it’s spicy, I try something spicy. Listen to the experts but then just experiment. There’s no harm in trying different things.
As a kitchen salesman, what do you think makes a great home gin bar?
First up, plenty of storage. You also need a good set of glasses. Ones where you can get your nose in and smell and taste the gin. A good shot glass – the bigger, the better. A stirrer, a muddler and something that’s unique to you to personalise it. I have a bit of Collingwood memorabilia in mine.
Any memorable gin experiences you’d like to share?
There have been a few but probably one of the most memorable was when I went to the Archie Rose Distillery. I had already tried their general range but I said to the bartender, ‘Can you show me gins that are a little different and that I probably haven’t had?’ He started me off with the Green Ant Gin, which could be a bit polarising for some people as it has insects in it and quite a unique flavour. I found it really interesting and refreshing. Then we tried Smoked Hemp Gin by Giniversity and a few others.
I also went out with my wife recently in the city and we did a bar hop. We just went to all these different bars and tried all these different gins. There were a few interesting places, like Christopher Hanna on Bridge Street in Sydney, which is a hair salon with a high-end lounge bar at the back.
If you were stuck on a desert island, what three gins would you bring with you and why?
I’d probably take a one-litre bottle of entry-level Sipsmith. Just because it is a cracking gin and great to have with tonic and lime. I’d also take a bottle of Audemus Pink Pepper Gin. It’s just phenomenal and one that you can sip on and savour all night. And, just for something different, the KOVAL Cranberry Gin Liqueur.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to sample gin, where would it be?
I would probably head down to Tasmania. With the amount of high-quality gin coming out of Tasmania right now I’d be hard pressed to go anywhere else. I know the UK is traditionally considered the home of gin but I think Tasmania is fast becoming the home of Australian gin.
What do you like most about the Gin Society?
I joined just after the Jensen’s release came out, around March 2019. My first delivery was Juno, which I loved. I really feel like I’m part of something with the Gin Society, especially after going to one of the VIP member events. I love the presentation of the box and how each gin is packaged and put together too.
Joel’s desert island gins
Sipsmith London Dry Gin
“A cracking gin that’s great to have with tonic and lime.”
Audemus Pink Pepper Gin
“It’s just phenomenal and one that you can sip on and savour all night.”
KOVAL Cranberry Gin Liqueur
“For something different.”