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In Conversation with Here’s Looking At You Kid Head Distiller Liz Beech

We chat with Liz Beech, Founder and Head Distiller of Here’s Looking At You Kid (HLAYK) about their exclusive Convent-inspired gin and what they have planned for Brewers Feast on 1 & 2 February.

Here’s Looking at You Kid will be taking part in Brewers Feast 2020 at the Convent. Tell us about the gins you will have on offer for punters to taste and purchase over the weekend.

We will have a number of gins and vodka available for visitors at Brewers Feast. Firstly, our Wild Rose Gin is Melbourne made and proud of it. Createdwith native botanicals, this gin is a salute to our hometown of Melbourne, encompassing four seasons in one mouthful. Next, our Sunset Gin is a summery gin-meets-wine using Yarra Valley Shiraz to create a crisp floral rosé wine combined with gin. We’re excited to launch our Yam Daisy Gin, a unique gin created for the festival which draws inspiration from the botanicals of the Abbotsford Convent garden and the local area of the Yarra River, acknowledging the history of the area and people (more on that below!). Finally, we are bringing our Triple Distilled Vodka to the festival. Clean, fresh and perfect, our vodka was awarded No.1 in Australia in the inaugural Drink Easy Awards presented by Broadsheet in December 2019 (wow!! I am still blown away).

You’re creating a Yam Daisy Gin from botanicals found at the Abbotsford Convent. Tell us more about the gin and what inspired you to create it?

For a product to be called gin, 60% of your botanical basket has to be juniper – the rest is up to the creator! This is where the chef side of me fell in love with gin – it’s so exciting to come up with an inspiration and then forage around for what you want to use to achieve your recipe. I wanted to create a unique gin for the festival and celebrate not only the Convent but also the natural environment of the area. An indigenous herb with yellow flowers, the Yam Daisy (Murnong) was once a staple food for Wurundjeri people but was nearly driven to extinction by sheep farming. The edible tuberous roots of the yam daisy are as nutritious as potato but have a sweet taste.

Working with the Convent’s gardener, Mal Jackson, I have discovered the history of the Convent gardens and drawn inspiration from the different plant species that are grown here today by volunteers and for the Lentil as Anything kitchen garden. All these influences come together to create a unique profile for the gin.

HLAYK is hosting a two-hour gin making session as part of Brewers Feast. What can people expect to learn at these workshops?

These small group workshops give gin lovers the opportunity to make their very own bottle of Yam Daisy Gin. Each participant receives the botanicals to distil their own Yam Daisy Gin. Then we will filter and blend a 500ml bottle of the gin for each participant to take home and enjoy. We’ll also talk about the history of gin and the art of distilling, and also have a tasting of the HLAYK range of spirits. To top it all off, we’ll finish with a cocktail!

What advice would you give those who don’t know anything about gin but want to start exploring?

Take time to develop your palate and determine what you like. There are so many different styles of gin – whether it is London Dry, Navy Strength or New Contemporary – they are all magnificent in their own right. Like anything in life, we all have different tastes, so find out which one suits you.

Also consider how you serve the gin – for instance, did you know traditional tonic water can have more sugar than coke? Try the new lighter flavoured tonic waters for a less sweet mix. There are also a lot of gins now designed to be sipping gins, served on ice and maybe a splash of soda water. Garnishes are very important also to bring out the botanicals used. Our Wild Rose or Sunset Gins are perfect with elderberry tonic or soda plus slices of orange and rosemary – works wonders!

Catch Here’s Looking at You Kid at Brewers Feast on 1 & 2 February at the Convent. Tickets available now.