MFWF Gin Garden Party

Gin Fizz Station | MFWF 2015 | Melbourne Cocktails

Gin Fizz Station

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival

Annually since 1993, Melbourne has hosted one of the World’s biggest culinary festivals, the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.

MFWF attracts foodies from all over the globe. This year the festival has around 200 diverse events across Metropolitan Melbourne and Greater Regional Victoria.

Over 17 days, the local food and beverage industry embraces the opportunity to show case its talents, from award winning local wines to popup food stalls to sumptuous sit down lunches and dinners prepared by famous chefs.

Restaurants, bars, laneways, basements, rooftops, cellars and country paddocks are transformed as event goers eat and drink their way around Victoria. It’s a gastronomic delight.


I’m lucky enough to have been invited to some of the drink events at MFWF 2015 kicking off with a Gin Garden Party at Como House & Gardens.

Como House

Set in one of Melbourne’s wealthiest residential suburbs, South Yarra, the 160-year-old historic property belonged to the one of National TrustAustralia’s wealthiest pioneer families. It is regarded an important part of Melbourne’s aristocratic heritage and is protected by The National Trust.

Nestled deep within the 6.5 acres behind the towering pine trees bordering the property, beyond the mansion and surrounded by landscaped gardens and white picket fences is The Stables of Como, the venue for the Gin Garden Party.

It’s the last day of summer and an eclectic mix of gin enthusiasts has attended the sold out event, spilling across the manicured lawn.

Garden Party

With both men and women suitably styled for a garden party, it’s a little like a weekend scene from Mad Men with fedora hats, bright sun dresses and colourful trousers harmonising with the lush green gardens and the spots of colour its throwing from the abundant vege patch, flowerbeds, blooming roses, towering sunflowers and fruit trees.

Guests - vivacious couple  Guests - competitors  Guest - red pants guy

Hosted by Bass & Flinders Distillery, a local distillery on the Mornington Peninsula, the event is catered with gin cocktails and high tea.

Guests choose for their cocktails to be made with one of three Bass & Flinders gins – Soft & Smooth, Wild & Spicy or Monsoon.

G&Tea Bar

Scrumptious morsels go from savoury to sweet as the event carries on and guests are delighted as they sip on their Gin Fizz or G&T and nibble.

High Tea 1  High Tea - 2  High Tea - 3  High Tea - 4

Meanwhile, an illustrious panel is judging ten carefully selected gins created at Bass Flinders Gin Masterclass. Competitors are watching carefully to see if there gin will be chosen to compete at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in March.

Competitors Gins  Judging panel

Leading the judging panel is cocktail expert Sebastian Raeburn. Seb is joined by freelance writer Michael Harden, Claire Davie from Melbourne Gastronome, and Shaun Byrne from Gin Palace. Their criteria: nose, palate, balance, complexity and finish.

Judging is a very serious business.

Secret judges business

And the Winner is…

Finally the winner and runner-up are announced.

The runner-up is congratulated for creating “the perfect G&T gin with complex savoury spice on the nose, a dense and complex balanced savoury palate, and a clean and structured finish”. Great job, but no trip to San Francisco…

And the big prize goes to an RAAF Officer based in Adelaide for “the perfect martini gin with a sweet juniper citrus nose, floral citrus palate lifted by sweet savoury botanicals, and a very long and complex finish”. Lys Everson is off to SFWSC 2015 to represent Bass & Flinders with her gin, Fleur de Lys.


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