THIS IS OUR STORY.

IT ALL STARTED IN A LAUNDRY.

The name, Washhouse Distillery is a nod to where it all began – a backyard laundry – and the home of Waitoki’s very own gin.

It started out when three neighbours, living in a quiet rural cul-de-sac decided to join forces and make vodka in their laundry. Over several months, several failures and many batches later they began to combine science and art, and detail everything they were doing – all the while improving the quality of vodka produced using a simple reflux still. And this continues today – the neighbours, meeting up in the laundry, distilling vodka.

But it wasn’t enough to quell the curiosity of one, and Steve went on to attend distilling courses and explore different botanicals and processes. In early 2019 he purchased a beautiful handmade alquitar copper still, to which all our gin recipes are developed in today.

His ultimate goal was really just to make a good tasting gin. One that he enjoyed making and we enjoyed drinking – and without any pretence.

Along the way, the family joined the journey and every part of The Washhouse Distillery in Waitoki is handled by us.

Washhouse Distillery has been a real labour of love. Steve, Kathy and the three kids are all founders of the Washhouse, but it’s our extended family of friends, suppliers, drinkers and of course – the neighbours, that has made it what it is.

Our home is in the beautiful Waitoki village of New Zealand and we’re lucky to be surrounded by Paradise ducks, the odd wild deer, a few hundred year old trees and some bloody good neighbours.

INGREDIENTS.

HARVESTED FRESH. GROWN OR SOURCED LOCALLY.

We like to keep it simple, but it just so happens that some of New Zealand’s own native botanicals have provided an exceptional flavour profile to Waitoki Gin.

Our original recipe combines the basics of Juniper, Coriander and Angelica Root, along with a citrus explosion from fresh orange and grapefruit. On the tongue, a fresh peppery spice from Kawakawa & Horopito. Our newer, rhubarb gin uses the same base recipe we all love, and then after distillation is steeped with fresh, locally grown rhubarb for a sweet, but decadent, fruity finish. Along the way, we added another (secret) local addition from a tree that is 200+ years old and calls Waitoki home on our property.

It’s a fresh, tasty, citrus-forward gin that’s easy to drink without lacking in taste. Drink it on its own, mix it with your favourite tonic or pair it with your neighbour!

Our botanicals are sourced from local suppliers, our fruits are either grown or sourced locally and we use NZ spring water in the distillation process.

OUR RECIPE.

BLENDING TRADITIONAL & NZ NATIVE BOTANICALS.

Born out of 40 different recipes over eighteen months, the first batches of Waitoki Washhouse Gin are the result of a journey of many failures, surprises and successes.

Using a small handmade alquitar still, learning as we do – and even after taking the prescribed courses (or causes!) over the years on the different ways to distil the perfect gin, there were still many a tastings of not so tasty gin…

A number of blind tastings later with the neighbours, family, friends, the incredible nose and taste buds of our Australian Distiller friend Tim Stones & Expert Barrel Brewer and island farmer Garrett Sherman – we finally came up with a gin we all concluded was quite tasty.

One which people would enjoy. Something distinctly different, distinctly refreshing. And so Washhouse Distillery was born!

MADE BY HAND.

DISTILLED, BOTTLED & PACKED AT HOME.

We distil every batch on our property, at our home in Waitoki.

The first still we worked with to develop Waitoki Gin was a beautiful (small) handmade 5L copper alquitar still – which continues to be used today to experiment with new recipes.
Today, we use a copper alembic still, handmade in Portugal and commissioned in what used to be our garage.
It’s still small-batch (we only make up to 200 bottles per run), it’s still very manual – but that’s the way we like it. Or, at least – that’s the way Steve likes it and we think that’s the way it should be, for Waitoki Gin at least.

We measure up each and every ingredient in every batch…and then Steve sits next to it as it distils…