New Tweed product ‘unconventional and absolutely Australian’
A TOP cardiologist and his neighbour have created a sophisticated gin they promise will get your heart started.
Stoken gin is described by creators Dr John Meulet and Gold Coast Airport general manager Brett Curtis as unconventional, refreshing and "absolutely Australian".
The Kingscliff locals started their gin journey by default about two years ago after initially wanting to create their own tequila.
However, the key ingredient in tequila is blue agave which takes about eight years to mature so the duo opted for a spirit which could be produced immediately - gin.
Dr Meulet said they drew inspiration from the abundance of Australian native botanicals that were growing on his Cudgera Creek farm.
"On the road to making tequila we thought why don't we make something with what we've got locally and pretty straightforwardly," he said.
"I've had this farm for about five or six years and we've got all these native botanicals growing here and we thought we would start with a gin."
He said Stoken's XII Apostles represented the number of botanicals in the gin including aniseed myrtle, bunya nut and lemon myrtle.
The pair were so serious about creating a high end spirit they completed a postgraduate diploma of Fundamentals of Distillation at the University of Adelaide.
"We went back to uni and we did this degree and part of it was to chase neutral spirits throughout Australia and taste every spirit," Dr Meulet said.
"You're in these white coats in the lab and in the afternoon you're distilling different spirits, it was really cool."
Dr Meulet said it was during their studies they settled on a neutral spirit, used as the base of Stoken gin, because it was unlike any other they had tried.
"Our white spirit is from the Barossa Valley … (the supplier) uses the excess grape crop from the Barossa, and the farmers sell it to them, and they have these 200ft distils and they triple distil it at 98 per cent," he said.
"And we found the grape neutral spirit still has some sweetness and some fruit. Whereas if you get a neutral spirit out of wheat it doesn't have any of the fruity aroma."
Mr Curtis said it took two years to perfect the formula because it was important Stoken gin could be enjoyed neat.
"Gins that are juniper heavy, I find it really hard to drink neat. We've paired back the juniper a bit and really highlighted the Australian botanicals," he said.
"I guess we're probably a bit self-centred in terms of everything we're doing is what we like to drink and then we'll just see if anyone else wants to drink it as well," he said with a laugh.
The hand made and bottled gin can be found at some boutique restaurants and bottle shops throughout northern New South Wales and the Gold Coast, or can be bought through their website.
"We don't want to be the next international seller and that's why we're keeping low key and local," Dr Meulet said.
"And we're only going to sell through independent liquor stores, we're not going to go through Dan Murphy's or Liquorland."
Find Stoken at:
● Fins Restaurant and Bar, Kingscliff
● The Crafty Cow Bar & Smokehouse, Casuarina
● Shiny Brew, Kingscliff
● Emmanuels Wine Shop, Kingscliff
● Rick Shores, Burleigh Heads
● Rosella's, Burleigh Heads
● Rusty Barrel, Varsity Lakes