The winner takes it all

With their quirky names, original packaging and unique array of Australian ingredients, the Australian Vodka Company’s Australian Herbal Liqueur and Moulin Rooz Absinthe were the clear standouts in this competitive category, taking the Winner and Highly Commended prizes.

Tambourine Mountain Distillery’s head honcho, Michael Ward’s colourful acceptance speech at the FOOD Challenge Awards made the Alcoholic Beverages category the talk of the night, and his excitement was certainly infectious.

“We’re just ecstatic! We’re over the moon. We’re still floating on cloud nine and still can’t quite believe it,” said Ward when reflecting on the Awards.

“What can I say? We’re stuck for words do describe our excitement.”

So how did these drinks come about? Germany has its Jägermeister, France — its Pernod, Scotland — its Drambuie, but what does Australia have that it can call its own? The Company felt that it was time to rectify this national void, and so, the Australian Herbal Liqueur was born.

The winner of this year’s Alcoholic Beverages Award is a unique entry into the market place as no other product can boast of truly depicting the ‘Australian Bush in a Bottle’ in quite the same way.

The Australian Herbal Liqueur is composed of lemon myrtle leaves, native Forrest peppermint, eucalyptus and aniseed myrtle, blended to create an ultra-premium liqueur that exudes the luscious tones of the Aussie bush.

No chemicals are used on the fruit, which are grown on the Company’s own property and surrounding farms. The process begins with fermentation, then distillation. The spent washes are then composted and returned back to the environment from whence they came. A sound, eco friendly cycle, with no pollution and benefits to the environment.

The Australian Herbal Liqueur is presented in tall elegant bottles along with a beautiful Australian scene depicting its unique flora and fauna. The Liqueur is a vibrant bush green colour, and the gold closure hints of the ‘Green and Gold’ icon of Australia, adding its appeal to established markets in the US and Denmark.

The boutique distillery has won over 64 international awards for liqueurs and spirits in London, Germany, Austria, Brussels, Chicago and San Fransico, having beaten some big names in the liquor industry. This has gives rise to news flashes, press releases, and editorials signalling that ‘David sleighs Goliath’ — a story close to Australian hearts.

Despite its many international achievements, the FOOD Challenge was the Company’s first foray in an Australian industry Award programme. “It was a treble-whammy for us to win something like this. You just don’t know about the potential of these Awards, and we’re such a tiny company. So many people there were from Queensland, and none of them had ever heard of us!”

“It’s through the generosity of Heat and Control and the other sponsors, that these Awards happen, and we’re very thankful.

“The food was brilliant, the setting was brilliant, and for a guy who doesn’t drink, the water and the orange juice was brilliant!”

Two’s Company

The Company’s Highly Commended entrant was Moulin Rooz Absinthe – Australia’s first ‘Bitter Herb Pastis’, created to meet the global growth of absinthe, which is on the rise since the lifting of restrictions on its manufacture.

Made from five times distilled spirit of Australian grapes, with a balance of elderflower, gentian, fennel seed, hyssop and wormwood – all distilled in artisanal copper pot stills, Moulin Rooz bears an integrity to the artisanal structure of its formation and stands alone in its unique Australian bush highlights.

The components of all absinthes are aniseed (pastis) and bitter herbs. With Moulin Rooz, these characteristics have been heightened with the use of Australian ingredients. The bitter herbs, roots and seeds are steeped and macerated in pure Australian grape spirit for several months. This spirit is then distilled in small copper pot stills – resulting in purity and subtlety of flavour.

The bottle’s label is a humorous twist on the early French originators, with its backdrop of Montmartre’s Moulin Rouge in the 1800s. The Aussie tone in the product packaging draws a great interest from the export market as an ideal souvenir of Australia, which honours the qualities of the world’s absinthe from the land down under.

The future certainly looks bright for the Company. “Only time will tell, but the Awards win is a vehicle we can use with great confidence. To have achieved something of this calibre, in this standard of competition, is no mean fete,” said Ward.

“To be up there with the biggest and the best in the food industry is just mind-blowing. It’s awesome stuff.”

Lena Zak is the editor of FOOD Magazine.

Send this to a friend