As heady, salty fog is burned by dawn rays, billowing sails and circling gulls dance above, morning breaks on rolling seas and the promise of a new frontier begins.
For the daring seafarers who sailed to distant lands, none is etched into our patriotic hearts more than Captain James Cook.
As navigator, surveyor and astronomer Cook mapped the new world with naturalist, Sir Joseph Banks, the discovery of botanicals, flora, spices and herbals from faraway lands gave way to a passion for Terra Australis Incognita; Australia.
Two hundred and fifty years since Cook’s epic journey to settlement, Settler’s Gin is pioneering new frontiers and flavouring the time-old spirit with a uniquely Australian twist. At the helm of it all is modern-day Captain Cook; Master Mariner Rowland Short, and his first mate Shelley.
Rowland also shares a passion for botany, which has seen him collect and curate specimens from his travels on land and sea. Botanicals, he says, are the natural world’s language of joy and splendour; arousing human senses of smell, taste, sight and sound. The perfect antidote to an endless horizon of blue ocean.
In the spirit of Cook and Crusoe, Rowland has navigated the Earth’s oceans as both ship’s captain and aboard his self-made yacht with Shelley at his side, making landfall in faraway ports in search of exotic and native botanicals that would marry seamlessly with his other great passion: gin.
Settler’s Gin combines botany, exploration and maritime trade routes synonymous with the traditions of gin to produce the Free State’s grape-spirit based gin collection.
Atop the soft mouthfeel of grape-spirit, think rose petals and raspberries in a blush-hued beauty; fig, ginger, cinnamon and clove in a festive fantasy or the citrus circus that is Settler’s Yuzu gin - made from Australia’s first commercial crop of Japanese citrus Yuzu, discovered during one of Short’s sea faring journeys.
A respect and understanding of provenance, aroma and flavour sees the voyage-weathered sailor and creator hang and steam each botanical individually, slowly and thoughtfully working over his still to blend unique flavours that sail into the sunset.
This is not a practice that harks back into the history of gin, but a modern twist on technique that produces a distinctly brighter, crisper and more defined palate profile.
It has even borne the G & Tea Breakfast Gin; infused with Earl Grey tea, native bush honey and a smack of Mediterranean citrus. Garnish with lemon, add toast and marmalade on the side and enjoy as Cook did; as the tonic of life from port to oceans vast.