Hidden away in Queensland’s Gold Coast hinterland, is the family owned Tamborine Mountain Distillery, Australia’s smallest operating pot-still distillery, world renowned for their use of native Australian flora in a unique range of alcoholic beverages.
The Mountain Distillery came into existence because the Ward family did not want to use chemical sprays on their fruit, which meant the produce did not meet with market requirements. There was far too much fruit for them to consume, so they needed to ‘convert’ it into something that would make the small property productive.
With the combination of rich red volcanic soils, fresh Spring Water, the abundant fruit of the Mountain and a heritage of Russian distillation knowledge, the answer came quickly.
The extra fruit was harvested, crushed and fermented. Those high in natural sugars were eventually developed into distillates that would then become schnapps and fruit brandies in the true Baltic style. At first a small 80-litre copper still was built and all the family’s concoctions were bottled in hand painted bottles.
Soon, however, they needed to build a much larger 300-litre still to keep up demand from sales at the cellar door. Word of mouth had propelled this tiny family business into a popular destination on the mountain.
Now Alla (the master distiller) uses the copper pot stills to create the superb spirit that is the essence and foundation of all TMD products, before beginning the arduous task of crafting each individual batch to perfection. The result is a flavour that honours the true nature of each ingredient without the use of any artificial additives. A taste reinforced by the countless judging panels from many of the world’s most prestigious spirit competitions and masses of loyal customers.
Since beginning operations in 1998, the Ward family have established a very enviable reputation as creators of high quality products, garnering their wares with many international awards and medals. Including the most recent gold medals received by the Australian Herbal liqueur and Moulin Rooz absinthe at the World Spirits Competition in Austria, a feat that has created history as the first Non-European absinthe to win in the continent of the liqueur’s birth.
With all this expansion and growing success Tamborine Mountain Distillery and the Ward family still open their doors for visitors from Wednesday to Saturday to enjoy some 50 plus products from their stable. Here the charismatic and animated patriarch, Michael, pours out tasters of the Australian Herbal liqueur while proclaiming to everyone present, “Don’t rub on ya chest, throw it down ya gullet!”
Michael’s pride in his product is well founded with over 68 international awards and medals and Tamborine Mountain Distillery is the most highly prized liquor brand in Australia. Now there is an opportunity to enjoy spirits and liqueurs that are not only of the highest quality but are also a true blue Aussie product.