Eddie Brooke

We are working with 26 different botanicals, of which 18
are native to the Northern Rivers region of Australia.

Interview

EDDIE
BROOK

Photography

Cassandra Ladru

Words

Saasha Burns

Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin is a premium gin produced in subtropical New South Wales by Eddie Brooke and Master Distiller, ‘The Cask Whisperer’ Jim McEwan. Their small batch dry-style gin is drip distilled using a hand-made Copper Pot Still and harnesses the native Australian botanicals of the Brooke family property in the Byron Bay hinterland. The effect is a pure tasting gin with a beautifully balanced aroma and subtle notes of rainforest fruits, flowers, and the salt air.

The Brooke family have planted over 35,000 native and subtropical plants over the past 30 years, committed to protecting and regenerating the rainforest that provides the gin’s very ingredients. Donating a percentage of profits from every bottle sold to the local Big Scrub Landcare group, Brookie’s Gin is part of a conscious movement working toward sustainable and socially responsible practices.

Can you share your background and the story behind Brookie’s Gin?
In 2014 I had the privilege of orchestrating a three-week, sell out Australian whisky tour with the legendary Master Distiller, Jim McEwan. As we travelled together a firm friendship developed and many tales were swapped. I told Jim the story of my family farm and the passion that my parents have for rainforest regeneration, and how the rainforest they single-handedly helped to regenerate is abundant with native fruits and botanicals. Jim was captivated. It became clear that we shared similar values and beliefs. A seed was planted and the idea for Cape Byron Distillery and Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin was born.

Tell us a little more about the distilling process and your points of difference?
We are working with 26 different botanicals, of which 18 are native to the Northern Rivers region of Australia. finger lime, native raspberry, aniseed myrtle, and native ginger are extremely delicate, so we have three different points of infusion in our distillation process. Jim McEwan invented a new system for our gin named Babylon bags. We fill these bags
and hang them on the inside of our custom made copper pot still just above the top of the liquid. As the still boils the vapour passes through extracting the subtle flavours. The big hearty botanicals such as juniper, macadamia and citrus can stand up to a bit of roughness, and they go into the body of the still. The last flavour to be extracted for our botanical basket is filled with native ginger from our rainforest.

Are there any Brookie’s Gin cocktail recipes you can share with us?
We recommend using a good quality tonic water and garnishing with Finger lime and aniseed myrtle.

What projects are on the horizon?
In about two months time we will be releasing our Byron Sloe Gin. This is a gin liqueur made using native Davidson plums, a rainforest fruit native to the Northern Rivers region. The flavour is incredible; think watermelon, rose and bright plum. We are also working on a roast macadamia nut liqueur. It is safe to say that we have some exciting things coming up!

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