Ever wonder how gin is made? In the colorful old town of Cardrona in the South Island of New Zealand (a short drive from Wanaka, which is a short drive from Queenstown), after a three-hour horseback ride through the stunning Cardrona Valley with Kelly from The Cardrona touring company …
… right up the hill at the end of the drive is a brand new, gorgeous distillery where you can learn the art of making hand-distilled artisan spirits, from milling, mashing, fermentation, distillation and maturation.
It turns out that gin is made from juniper, and if you’ve never thought about juniper before, well it’s a plant – a coniferous plant of the cypress family – and it has a long and storied history in Old Worlds and New. It grows seemingly everywhere, from Pakistan, to the Arctic, to tropical Africa, Tibet, New Zealand, and the Himalayas. Gin is a shortened version of the Dutch word for juniper, genever. The fragrance of juniper has been described as a mix of cedar, pine, and rose.
Gin distilleries are fragrant and fascinating places! But you can also take educational tours of all kinds of alcohol-making — see Educational Travel Finder for tours of the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky, whiskey tours in Scotland, and Sake Tours in Japan!