In a purpose built micro-distillery in the suburbs of Australia’s capital Canberra, the team at Underground Spirits are distilling a fine selection of craft spirits including a rather brilliant gin.
Underground Spirits was founded in 2017 by medical doctor Toby Angstmann and friends, including bartender Andy Galbraith. Toby, who specialises in IVF medicine, had been working on a process for his own spirits, but wanted to share it with the world, so over a beer one day at a local bar, they decided to establish a craft distillery in their home town of Canberra. They established their micro-distillery in the quiet leafy suburb of Kumbah and Toby completed his refinement of the art of distillation and applied his new process.
Toby has a degree in Chemistry and so is well versed in the science behind the creation of spirits. He drew heavily on his experience in medicine and created his own unique filtration technique using medical grade equipment and state of the art surgical techniques. Using a subzero cooling process, the liquid is cooled until the impurities form minute crystals which are removed by specially designed submicron filtration membranes. The result is an incredibly smooth and velvet like spirit, perfect for sipping.
After creating their signature vodka and experimenting with a few enticing flavoured vodkas, including caramel, vanilla and hazelnut, Toby and the team turned their attention to gin. They experimented with a wide range of different botanicals including a batch of pepper gin that was unanimously agreed not to be a resounding success!
The final recipe for their gin features 10 botanicals, including as many sourced from in and around Canberra, highlighting the Australian heritage of their spirits. The botanicals include juniper, coriander seeds, lemon myrtle, angelica root, poppy seeds, black pepper, cinnamon, basil and Tasmanian pepperberry, an enticing balance of traditional gin botanicals and exotic herbs and spices.
The distillation process includes a maceration stage, where botanicals are steeped in spirit to maximise flavour extraction, and vapour infusion, where the vaporised spirit passes over the fresh botanicals to ensure their delicate flavours are captured. Toby also uses tinctures to augment the rich botanical flavours in the final spirit, which is wonderfully smooth and silky, courtesy of Toby’s unique submicron, subzero filtration system. The distillate is reduced to a bottling strength of 42.5% ABV with the addition of natural water sourced from the nearby Snowy Mountains.
Underground Gin has a distinctive nose with coriander and angelica spice followed by pepperberry. The spirit is soft and velvet like on the palate with a juniper core balanced by earthy spices and bright citrus notes, leading towards a classic dry finish. Within a few months of its release, Underground Spirits Gin had won the hearts of gin enthusiasts across Australia and globally winning a gold medal at the prestigious inaugural 2017 Global Spirits Competition in Las Vegas, USA.
The team at Underground Spirits describe their enterprise as “old spirits done new”. They have created a fine gin, distilled with botanicals that speak to its Australian heritage, and with innovation at the core of their philosophy we are excited to see what the future holds for this craft distillery!