Food Drink

From Backyard Passion Project To The Country’s Best: KIS Wins Australia’s Best Gin

We will cheers with a glass full of gin to this amazing news…

Gin lovers (we know there are plenty of you out there), it’s time for a united hoorah in the name of South Australia! Why you ask? Because last night one of our very own took out the award for best gin in the country!

That’s right, Kangaroo Island Spirits’ (KIS) Old Tom Gin was awarded Gold for Australian Champion Gin at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards, amongst 44 other Aussie competitors.

The KIS ‘Old Tom’ Gin boasts a distinctly Australian flavour enhanced by the inclusion of foliage from the coastal Daisy Bush (olearia axillaris), native Juniper (myoporum insulare) and locally grown Lemon Myrtle and Aniseed Myrtle leaves. Its makers then doff their hats to tradition by ageing the unique gin in French oak for a short time in the spirit of early London expressions. It’s these unique elements that clearly helped the team take out the gold.

KIS’s owners Jon and Sarah Lark’s dreams have come true with their little backyard distillery receiving the nationwide recognition that we think it has long deserved. From backyard to… oh no wait it’s still made in their backyard. Although we suspect production may increase from now on.

They make all of their spectacular products in small batches on site. They’re additive and preservative free, like most of stunning Kangaroo Island. You’ll usually stop by to find the distillery is smelling of roasting botanicals, citrus peel or wild fennel. They also hand bottle, cap and label each product too. That’s some serious passion if you ask us.

And passion has paid off with not only Old Tom Gin taking out gold but their other products Wild Gin stealing silver and the O’Gin and Nocino liqueur grabbing bronze medals.

Their decade-long ‘Slow Spirits’ philosophy of using high-quality fresh local and seasonal ingredients, being prepared with care, produced passionately and made using traditional processes and recipes shows their level of dedication to the final product. It’s also one of the many reasons KIS is included in our Guide to Dining on Kangaroo Island (check it out here).

The best part is a full (and free) tasting experience is only a ferry ride away. “And those who can’t visit can taste it every time they sip a glass of Old Tom because the flavours and freshness of Kangaroo Island live in every bottle” says Jon.

“We like to think that Old Tom represents the unique attributes of the place it stems from and reflects the personalities of Kangaroo Islanders – wild, fun, sensitive, rural, ecological, old, new, caring, special, true to their history and roots and above all, great value!” said the Larks.

First the country… next the world! Right guys!? We think so. And you can read more about this amazing family business in our story here.

If you’d like to grab your own you can. However, supplies of Old Tom are limited and only available by phone on (08) 8553 9211. Other Kangaroo Island Spirits products and further information is available by visiting or by emailing [email protected].

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