Sense of place is a social phenomenon, fundamental to the human sense of self and community. Places said to have a "sense of place" have a strong identity that is deeply felt by inhabitants and visitors. It is often attributed to geographical traits that make a place special or unique and the feeling that they produce.
We evoke this feeling through a series of cocktails inspired by Australia’s natural diversity: basalt, Wooly tea tree, sassafras, and pepperberry from Tasmania; Victorian honey and wax; macadamia and lemon myrtle from Queensland.
Terroir Tasmania (c.2015)
Basalt, Woolly tea tree, sassafras, pepperberry and saltbush distillates
This is a continuation of our Terroir series, a succession of drinks based on the different biospheres of Australia.
Terroir is a term used to describe all of the factors that contribute to the specificity of a place like terrain, soil, climate and sunlight. For this iteration, we look at the native flora and earth of Tasmania. With assistance from Rees Campbell, a writer and blogger specialising in native Tasmanian ingredients, we have put together a cocktail that embodies the terroir of Tasmania: basalt, Woolly tea tree, sassafras, pepperberry and saltbush.
Building on industry research into the volatile particles in rocks and whether or not they could be distilled, the first of Dinner’s Terroir series was developed. The Barossa Terroir was inspired by the red soils of the historic wine region; to achieve the desired flavour profile and give a sense of a land with hot, dry summers and cool, moderate winters we used Kaolin clay, flint, silver needle tea and sandstone.
Wax Apples (c.1870)
Vodka, beeswax, Granny Smith, mead
This is the drink that won the global final of the Chase Cup 2019, to fit the brief of provenance and sustainability.
Chase vodka is a single origin spirit from Herefordshire, UK. It is grown, distilled, and bottled on a single farm. This gives it a strong identity through its flavour and aroma. In addition, by using local beeswax and mead, fermented honey, we bring a sense of Victoria to the drink and also use a single source ingredient to minimise wastage on a wider scale.
Throughout the 19th century Melbourne developed a thriving agriculture with more than 100 varieties of apples being cultivated. As a scientific tool, artisans were commissioned to create a series of wax replicas of local produce by the Melbourne Museum. These models were used to document healthy, diseased and unusual examples of fruit and vegetables. Every detail of the original was recorded, including mould, bruises, and the colour subtleties of seasonal hues.
The Department of Agriculture would source the fruit and vegetable samples and the museum’s artists create the models. One model would be kept by the Department, while a second placed in the museum's Economic Botany Collection.
With the introduction of colour photography in the 1960s, wax models were no longer needed for recording fruit and vegetable specimens. However, the collection of wax fruit and vegetables remains on display to this day as tool of agricultural reference and historical research.
SS Walrus (c.1870)
Rum, macadamia, lemon myrtle, verjus
The Walrus was built in Cleveland, Queensland in 1864 as a sailing vessel, she was sold in 1869 to James Stewart who converted her to steam and installed a still. Though the vessel was thought to be unfit for purpose, the Inspector of Distilleries reluctantly granted a license for it to run as a floating distillery.
The boat then operated as the Pioneer Floating Sugar Mill and sailed the Brisbane, Logan, and Albert rivers which are well known for their lemon myrtle and Macadamia tree lined banks.
One strict condition of the license was that “an inspector was on board at the time of distillation” but this regulation proved impossible to implement. In its short career, the SS Walrus became quite famous and proved a considerable headache to authorities trying to control rum production. The boat produced 84,725 litres of rum before closing its official operation in 1871. Its licence was not renewed in 1872 as it did not fulfil the requirement to carry cane-crushing equipment and acted solely as a distillery, producing rum from molasses.
After the Walrus' license was withdrawn it is said to have carried on its operations illegally until 1883 when it ran ashore whilst sailing down the Albert River. After this happened Stewart managed to sell his pot still to a couple of nearby sugar growers who founded the Beenleigh Distillery in 1884. It is currently Australia’s oldest registered distillery and a reare survivor of the early sugar industry.
Available until December. Three tasting size cocktails accompanied by bar snacks, $80 per guest. Book now.