Coinciding with April 1st (but no April fools here) was the UK virtual launch of the newest member of the Manly Spirits family – Lilly Pilly Gin. This “pink” gin isn’t your average sweet gin and you take part in the public online tasting on 10th April 2020. Read on to find out more about Lilly Pilly gin and it’s virtual launch in the era of Covid-19:
*Full disclosure, I was gifted a bottle of Lilly Pilly gin to enable me to take part in the online virtual launch at home and tell you about it of course!*
Manly Spirits Lilly Pilly gin launch
Manly Spirits background
Co-founders David and Vanessa are based in Manly, the Nothern beach area of Sydney – with the distillery only a few blocks back from the beach. All their gins take inspiration from the local area and include locally foraged botanicals. Whilst David distills, Vanessa (a designer by background) has designed the most beautiful bespoke bottle to showcase their spirits.
I first heard about Manly Spirits and their gins at their UK launch in 2019. They also introduced their gins to the public at Junipalooza 2019, to great success. I’ve another post coming to cover all the different spirits they make, but lets just say they have a wide range!
With several awards for their gins already, I was really interested to join in the Lilly Pilly launch, even from the comfort of my own house.
Lilly Pilly gin virtual launch
So how do you launch a gin in a lockdown? Gone is the Harvey Nichols launch party and instead comes in the use of technology. Manly Spirits and their UK representatives, Boutique Bar Brands, sent a bottle of Lilly Pilly gin out to all of the attendees, along with a Zoom meeting invite. I was lucky to receive my bottle the day before, but some people were waiting right to the last minute to receive theirs.
With gin bottle in hand and some garnishes prepared as instructed, we all logged into the meeting on our laptops/phones. We were greeted by Charlie from Boutique Bar Brands, who welcomed us all and talked us through the programme. We were to have a talk from founder and distiller David dialing in from the distillery at 6:30am. Then we would all taste the gin together (neat naturally, at least for me!), before having a cocktail demonstration live from Andrei Marcu of Coupette, one of London’s best bars.
So how did it go?
A few technical hitches (as ever with video conferencing!), but we got there in the end. David was up super early to show us around the distillery and share the background to making Lilly Pilly, including it’s unique botanicals:
Lilly Pilly gin botanicals
Made from the base of London Dry gin (juniper, coriander, orris and angelica), Manly Spirits added locally foraged ingredients. In particular the pink flowers of sea fig (pigs face flower) and nasturtium flowers found in the sand dunes.
They added another native Australian plant – the berries of the Lilly Pilly and native limes, including Finger limes and Dessert limes.
The Lilly Pilly is a bright pink berry that has a tart cranberry like flavour. With the addition of blood orange, hibiscus rosella flowers and fresh raspberries, the gin is balanced with floral, citrus, fruity and tart notes.
The pink colour comes from infusing the gin with fresh raspberries for 18 hours. So it’s all natural (and fades if the bottles are left out in the light – but to be honest I’m not sure mine will last that long!)
Tasting Lilly Pilly gin
We started by tasting the gin neat, with David having a neat gin for breakfast! On the nose you get the juniper, raspberry fruitiness and citrus. To taste you have the addition of some spice, fruit and floral notes, ending with a dry tart finish that David says comes from the Lilly Pilly berries. When I dilute with some water the fruit gets amped up along with the citrus notes from the limes.
Lilly Pilly gin perfect serve
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#gifted . Celebrating the virtual launch of @manlyspirits Lilly Pilly gin in the U.K. this week! . ❓what’s this all about❓ I hear you say…. well a pink gin that’s not typically “pink” built on the base of @manlyspiritsuk London Dry gin . The ingredients are Aussie focused (on top of the classic gin base of Juniper, coriander, orris and Angelica) with Lilly Pilly berries giving a long dry finish, floral notes from pink sea fig and edible nasturtium flowers, and citrus from Native Australian limes and blood orange. . With no added sugar and the colour coming from 18 hours infusion with fresh raspberries, this isn’t a sweet liqueur pink gin, but one with proper gin ‘bones’ . I’ve served as suggested with @fevertreemixers Mediterranean tonic (you could use light tonic also) and garnished with lime and raspberries (they also recommend pink grapefruit as a garnish) . The public launch is going to be held online at 8:30pm GMT on 10th April – so order your bottle now from @ginkiosk or @harveynichols so you can join in! Use code LILLYPILLYLIVE on @ginkiosk for 10% off. I’ll be adding more details on the soon on the blog, will I see you there❓ . #whatskatiedoingblog #lillypillylaunch #lillypillygin #manlyspirits #manlyspiritsdistillery #lillypillyginandtonic #zerosugar #pinkgin #australiangin #ginandtonic #aussiegin?? #manlysydney #manlygin #ginkiosk #harveynichols #fevertree #gin #ginspiration #❤️gin #gintasting #gintime #ginstagram #ginforthewin #ginformation #ginoclock #gintastic #gintonic
When I tried Lilly Pilly in it’s perfect serve with Mediterranean tonic, with raspberries and a lime wedge, the first thing I noticed is that I could smell the coriander seed on the nose. However I didn’t taste this, I wonder if it was the tonic water that allowed the coriander notes to come through? Usually coriander comes out as a citrus flavour post distillation, however I should really try with a different tonic to check that. The fruity and floral notes come through with the tonic, a lovely flavour.
Lilly Pilly makes a great lighter style gin and tonic, that is refreshing and can definitely be a session drink, perfect for BBQ’s (when we are allowed to have them again – I’m envious if you have your own garden!)
All in all this is not a sweet pink gin, it’s a nicely balanced lighter style gin, with a beautiful colour. It’s very attractive as a gin and tonic, or a martini, and I still need to try the Lilly Pilly Sour and Pink Gin Sling serves.
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?WHO NEEDS SOMETHING PINK TO CHEER THEM UP IN THESE DARK DAYS? ? Pink Gin royalty, Lilly Pilly has officially landed in the UK! To celebrate we are giving one lucky winner a full-sized bottle of Lilly Pilly pink Gin. If you can’t wait to get your hands on it, you can buy Lilly Pilly from our official launch partner, @harveynicholsfood. All you have to do is: ? Make sure you are following @manlyspiritsUk & @harveynicholsfood. ?Tag three of your friends. ?& like this picture. • • #LillyPillyLaunch #ManlySpirits #PinkGin #Gin #Giveaway #Competition #Winsomegin #Event #LaunchEvent #HarveyNichols #Coupette #Party #Celebrate #PinkGinCocktails #Botanicals #AustralianGin #FlavouredGin #GinRecipe #ManlySpiritsFamily #Gingingin #Win
The winner of the instagram competition is announced on Wednesday 8th April.
Join in the public launch on 10th April
To join in with the public launch online, order a bottle of Lilly Pilly from Gin Kiosk (use code LILLYPILLYLIVE for 10% off) or from Harvey Nichols. Get some limes, tonic and raspberries ready to make your pink gin and tonics and register for the 8:30pm meeting using this link:
[You can also play back webinars on demand!]
Hopefully I’ll ‘see’ you online!