Walking down St Kilda’s grand old Esplanade. A quick detour into the front bar at The Espy. The carpet sticky with a thousand spilled pots. Above us the sound of Venom P. Stinger warming up. It’s all a bit of a blur as we sip on those first cold beers.
Here at Four Pillars, we love Melbourne, we love St Kilda and we love The Espy. Just as we love the great front bars of hotels across Australia.
So we were thrilled when the legends at Sand Hill Road, proud new custodians of St Kilda’s Hotel Esplanade, said they’d like to make a gin with us to celebrate the reopening of this Melbourne icon.
And here it is. Sticky Carpet Gin. A tribute to Australia’s great hotels and their front bars, the carpets sticky with beer and thick with stories. And the first in our occasional series of gins to celebrate Melbourne icons.
We added a few litres of a local roasted dark stout from Watt’s River in the Yarra Valley to our base spirit, giving the gin some malty, toasted characters. We then filled the stills with juniper, coriander, honey, roasted barley, cassia, green pepper, orris root and Cascade Hops. Into the botanical basket went fresh lemon peel and ginger.
After coming to the boil we kept all the heads open for the first half of the distillation before closing the plates and introducing some reflux in the latter half of the gin. This allowed for the hops and honey characters to come through early, and the darker characters late.
It’s an unusual and delicious gin. Lovely depth from the stout, barley and cassia. Spice from the pepper and ginger. Brighter tropical flavours and citrus from the hops, lemon and the coriander. It’s a gin for beer lovers, Australians and anyone who loves a good front bar as much as we do. Now who needs a cold one? We’re thirsty.
Sticky Carpet Gin is available exclusively in brilliant cocktails via the bars of The Hotel Esplanade. Do yourself a favour, and get on down there for a Shaky Pete.