If enjoying a gin tonic on the beach sounds good, how does visiting a craft distillery nestled on the Northern Beaches of Sydney sound?

Only a 30-minute ferry ride from Sydney harbour, followed by a lovely short walk through the small seaside town of Manly and you will find yourself at one of the city’s most spectacular beaches.

The small beach town is indeed a World Surfing Resort and gateway to the stunning Northern Beaches, a sting of white sandy ocean beaches, coastal rock pools, a coastal walkway spanning 36 kilometres and an abundance of coastal sea life.

It is the home of Manly Spirits and its growing range of outstanding gins too.

Manly Spirits Gin: A Burst of Truly Authentic Australian Coastal Flavours

With the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam Championship starting in just few days and Australia Day coming up on the 26th of January, I’ve been looking for a gin displaying authentic local botanicals to celebrate both events with a couple of truly Australian-flavoured gin and tonics.

Gin is now distilled around the world thanks to its huge popularity, so I’ve not been worried to find one made in Australia. Honestly though, I did not expect to learn there are now more than 600 different gins made on the Australian continent, and counting.

So should you bother to look for a gin from Australia?

Definitely yes!

A quick introduction to gin made in Australia – Why you need to try Australian gin

In case you are not yet familiar with gin made in Australia, be prepared for unique flavour profiles.

Australia’s huge biodiversity with a large array of plants that can only be found locally means distillers can experiment with botanicals never before distilled alongside juniper. And perhaps unheard of elsewhere.

That’s way Australian gin truly stands out on the global stage, with authentic flavour profiles you won’t find nowhere else.

But where to start?

Manly Spirits Gin: A Burst of Truly Authentic Australian Coastal Flavours

Not being an expert when it comes to Australian Gin, but keen to try new styles, for my first Australian gin experience I’ve chosen two varieties from Manly Spirits … as the place this gin is made brought back exciting memories of one of my first international solo trips that let me directly to the shores of Sydney’s Manly Beach.

I’d really love to share a ton of stunning pictures showing off the beauty of this place. But believe it or not, all my photos of the place are basic at best … and still analog (which I guess makes me come across like a relic from a different time).

About Manly Spirits

Manly Spirits is the dream come true by Vanessa and David who founded the company as recently as 2017.

Nestled at the shores of Sydney’s Northern Beaches, there is hardly a more beautiful location the duo could have chosen.

All gins produced are distilled, bottled, and labelled by hand using a carefully considered blend of sustainably foraged marine botanicals, Australian native along with more traditional gin botanicals, balanced carefully with the highest quality Australian grain spirit.

Coastal Citrus Gin

Citrus, in particular lemon, was one of the first non-juniper botanicals to shine during the recent gin boom. With all the fantastic citrus-flavoured gins out there, this one truly tastes like no other. There is still citrus there, but you can really taste the sea as well with that light mineral whiff on the finish. 

Manly Spirits Gin: A Burst of Truly Authentic Australian Coastal Flavours

Key botanicals: Coastal Citrus Gin is distilled with 10 native and marine botanicals including lemon aspen, sea parsley, lemon myrtle, coriander leaf, and Meyer lemon among others.

Tasting notes: Earthy citrus notes from lemon aspen marry with the freshness of the coriander and delicate spicy flavours form the sea parsley. Notes of green myrtle and baking spice. The finish is rounded out by the classic juniper flavour along with notes of cedar, vanilla and menthol pepper. Well balanced with only a light dash of sweetness.

Best enjoyed: Manly Coastal Citrus Gin is perfect served simply with a premium tonic, garnished with a slice of lemon and sprig of thyme. Or try it in a Martini.

Lilly Pilly Pink Gin

Taking its name from the native evergreen Lilly Pilly trees that produce a purple or red fruit. It gets its pinkish colour from an 18-hour infusion of fresh raspberries. Lilly Pilly Pink Gin is made without any addition of sugar but has more natural sweetness than a typical dry gin.

Manly Spirits Gin: A Burst of Truly Authentic Australian Coastal Flavours

Key botanicals: Lilly Pilly Pink Gin is crafted with 12 botanicals including riberry, native limes, raspberry, blood orange, coriander, angelica, orris, juniper, rosella, and sea fig. But the star of course is the native Lilly Pilly along with the edible pink dune daisies of Sydney’s bright Northern Beaches.

Tasting notes: Aromas of strawberry and sweet raspberry with a dash of vanilla. Gentle floral and red fruit notes with light hints of pine. Dry finish and a minimal sweetness.

Best enjoyed: Try it pure. The natural sweetness and combination of botanicals makes it a gin that works all on its own. Of course, it also makes the perfect base for a refreshing gin tonic. Or try as cocktail with sparkling rosé along with a dash of cassis or some strawberry purée. 

Final thoughts

If you are looking for a gin with a difference, the fantastic hand-crafted gins from Manly Spirits will definitely not disappoint. They make the perfect refreshing, easy-drinking summer drink, evoking cheerful walks along the beach – or daydreaming about the beach and the sea at any other time of the year.