Is It Time To Try A Gin From The Dark Side?

Gin Scapegrace
Pamela Connellan

Lifestyle Editor

Sep 19, 2020

It seems that gin tasting is now a ‘thing’ to do – especially in Sydney where the weather’s getting warmer so straight after your surf or sunbaking, it’s now popular to go to join a few friends in a ‘taste-testing’ experience.

You know it’s a popular pastime when Lonely Planet has a whole tab on ‘Sydney’s best gin experiences’ and to add to this there’s a new gin on the market now, hailing from New Zealand. This gin trends towards the dark side so you can forgo your pin gin for one of a much darker hue – in fact – it’s black gin.

Called Scapegrace black gin, this premium drop is the world’s first naturally black gin and it’s made at the Scapegrace distillery in New Zealand. They use a collection of natural extracts to achieve the gin’s dark black colour and when it’s mixed with tonic, it changes to shades of red and purple.

Winner of the Best London Dry Gin Award in 2018

gin tasting
When Scapegrace black gin is mixed with ice
it remains black but when mixed with tonic, it
changes to shades of red and purple.

This gin was officially launched at the 2018 International Spirits Awards in London and it won Best London Dry Gin there. When it was launched in New Zealand, three months supply sold out in 24 hours. What’s so different about it? Well, apart from it’s darker hue, it’s made with an unusual combination of flavours.

As with all products from New Zealand, it’s as healthy as you get – made with the pure water of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Add to this, the natural botanicals including aronia berry plus saffron, pineapple, butterfly pea and sweet potato. Each of the extracts is distilled at precise temperatures in a defined sequence in order to create the unique colour spectrum of the gin.

The end product has been described as having a “full-bodied florality with a menthol-like crispiness, a balanced citrus freshness and a hint of spice with a candied sweet potato and pineapple finish.”

Looks interesting as you pour it

This Scapegrace black gin does make for an impressive party trick because it changes colour from black to red when mixed with tonic. So as you mix it, you’ll see a range of different hues in front of your eyes. The exact colour is determined by the tonic used and strength of the PH reaction.

Who thought of this gin?

Two guys from New Zealand who didn’t know each other until one married the other’s sister, spent some time sitting in bars and lounges, discussing how they always wanted to make their own gin. This is how two brothers-in-law and a part-time musician got in to a lot of debt and created a gin that won gold in London and later, San Francisco.

Scapegrace describes this gin by saying: “12 botanicals, nature’s wild apostles. Water, torn from the earth 80 years after it was hurled down on New Zealand’s Southern Alps. A whisky still, 19th century, stumbled upon in a long abandoned shed. These are our ingredients. This is how Scapegrace signs its name around the globe.”

Co-founder of Scapegrace Mark Neal says: “We’re delighted to be bringing Scapegrace Black to Australia, this velvety New Zealand-made gin that will most definitely elevate your G&T experience. Full-bodied on the palate, the signature serve is best enjoyed with a premium tonic and garnished with a slice of apple.”

Scapegrace Black Gin is available now at Booze Bud and some independent retailers nationwide. You can check out the full Scapegrace range at Dan Murphy’s.


By Pamela Connellan

Lifestyle Editor

Pamela Connellan is a journalist specialising in lifestyle, trends, sustainability, tech products, movies and streaming.


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