Gin Society Designer
We chat to Gin Society member and resident designer Tori Gibson, who shares some intriguing gin-sights.
What do you like about gin as a spirit?
I love its durability, its versatility in cocktails and how it’s an all-seasons spirit. I love entertaining and offering friends a G&T over the usual wine or beer. It’s a simple no-fuss cocktail that always goes down well with guests and lends to me being able to share my gin knowledge – any excuse! Great conversation starter too.
What draws you to a gin?
Firstly, the look of the bottle and its design. They say don’t judge a book by its cover but I guess I’m totally guilty of that being a visual designer. With the immense market choice I think you really need to have both now – not just an exceptional gin but also a beautiful bottle to stand out from the crowd.
With COVID and no overseas travel I have found myself being drawn to international gins. I guess I’ve been travelling in spirit! The gin’s botanicals really help guide me with my decision process too as I like different gins for different seasons. Hearts Afire by Brogan’s Way was the perfect winter gin with its flavour profile based on mulled wine. So warming and I’ll be picking up another bottle next winter.
What does your personal gin collection look like?
At the moment I’ve probably got around 40 bottles. There’s Citadelle Original Gin from France, Four Pillars Christmas Special ‘Prawns & Pavlova’, Opihr Oriental Gin, Plymouth Sloe Gin, St. George Terroir Gin, ROKU from Japan, Never Never Juniper Freak, Banks & Solander’s Signature Gin from Sydney, Hendrick’s – for the staples.
I love all my Gin Society bottles, especially Bobby’s Schiedam Dry Gin for the Indonesian flavours, Pink Pepper for being the most sippable tipple just over ice (a regular dessert), the delicate Garden Grown for G&Ts and the juniper-forward Juno for my Martinis. Not only delicious gins but beautifully designed bottles too.
Do you have a go-to garnish or mixer?
My go-to garnish at the moment is fresh rosemary. It’s always in the garden ready to go. I love a smoked rosemary G&T in the cooler months. Setting the rosemary sprig on fire makes for a comforting and warmer tipple – you get a whiff of the smoked rosemary with each sip. I love to sprinkle Olsson’s Rare Dry Gin Salt (a collaboration with Four Pillars) which takes away some of the bitterness of the tonic in my G&Ts. A fresh wedge of orange and cloves is a great combination too.
I’m always experimenting with garnishes. I’m keen to up my cocktail game with dehydrated fruits, which make cocktails look so pretty. I need to buy a dehydrator though – my last oven experience dehydrating citrus was a massive fail!
I love the Fever-Tree range. You can’t go wrong with any of their tonics really. For something different I love their Ginger Beer in a Gin Mule and recently I discovered their Italian Blood Orange Soda in Woolworths which made a refreshing summer mixer. I paired it with RIVO Gin and dreamt of summer nights in Lake Como.
What are your 3 gin desert island gins?
Audemus Umami Gin, for the Martinis. After falling in love with Pink Pepper with its unique ingredients (pink peppercorns, vanilla, tonka beans) I just had to try more gins from them. Umami is produced using hand-picked Sicilian capers, capsicum and parmesan cheese – quite niche but very cool!
Bobby’s Schiedam Dry Gin, for the exotic Indonesian flavours like lemongrass and cubeb pepper. The bottle design is gorgeous too – a pattern inspired by their Indonesian heritage. Plus, they have some really unique cocktails on their Instagram (@bobbysdrygin).
Joadja Barrel Aged Gin, for the love of local. Handcrafted in an old abandoned mining town of Joadja, where I live in the Southern Highlands of NSW, the gin is matured in ex-Tempranillo barrels sourced from La Rioja, Spain. Not too woody – a spicy London Dry style – it’s perfect over ice as a digestif.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to sample gin, where would it be?
I would be heading over to the Audemus Distillery in the Cognac region of France to meet the geniuses behind Umami and Pink Pepper. They operate a vacuum distillery out of the distiller’s (Miko’s) living room in the centre of Cognac, which would be pretty cool to see. They also do a range of French-style bitters and liqueurs that I would love to try. Then I’d probably head over to Netherlands to the home of Bobby’s and sample some quality ‘Jenever’ gins.
G&T, Martini, Negroni – what’s your go-to cocktail?
I love a Gin Sour. They look luxurious and are fun to make at home experimenting with different syrups. I recently made a cardamon syrup for a Spiced Gin Sour – delicious!! If I’m having a girls’ night in, they love it when I make Clover Clubs. When I’m in a bar I like to order a Martini – a sophisticated cocktail that always tastes better made by the pros!
What do you like most about the Gin Society?
Everything! I love being part of a club with people who share my passion. The gin boom has meant there is a lot of choice right now, so having experts source my gin has really taken some of that pressure off.
As a creative, hearing the stories behind the craft is special to me. I’m a big believer in supporting small businesses too, so I like hearing about lesser-known gins. So much is digital these days, so I love that the gin and magazine is something I can keep, collect and cherish. My friends love my gin shelfie too.
Lastly, I love to sit down on a Friday night, after my delivery arrives, pour myself a gin and read the Gin Journal – bliss!