He plants the seeds, that grow the herbs, that make the Absinthe

Darran Baker presents Demoiselle Distillery

Indie Spirits Tasting Sydney is back for its third year – this time at Restaurant Hubert on Sunday, 17th September from 1pm till 4pm. The event is all about great spirits and good times. Tickets are just $55 (plus booking fee) online and include access to over 40 exhibitors showcasing more than 150 craft spirits, with master distillers on hand to chat and free seminars diving deep into the world of indie spirits. Click here to get your tickets now.

One of our brand new exhibitors at this event is the Demoiselle Distillery – a local absinthe specialist. We asked their Distiller, Darran Baker a few questions about opening a distillery, making absinthe and his take on the local craft spirits industry.

Give me a little bit of background on your brands and what prompted you to start them. Having a long interest in absinthe I started on the journey of opening a distillery in 2008 and was fully licenced and operating in 2012. The quality of the herbs is core to a great absinthe and growing and harvesting the botanicals onsite is the heart of Demoiselle absinthe and also the centre of my love and fascination for it.

What products do you have in your portfolio? Demoiselle Distillery first and foremost makes absinthe. We also produce neutral spirits, including, a soon to be released sour mash moonshine, however all of these are in some way related to the production and continued improvement of our absinthe (and its base spirit).

Tell us a little bit about your distillery and your distilling process. I use two stills: a 1200L base spirit still and a 600L absinthe still. Both are pot stills but very different in design and operation. The 1200L has a column and employs reflux to produce a very refined base alcohol for my absinthe, and produces the other spirits I offer. The absinthe still is a simple pot still with a Turk’s helm style copper head. I feel it is important to have a still dedicated to producing the absinthe as it develops a character from years of continual use solely producing absinthe. Despite the 600L size due to the quantity of botanicals used our absinthes are produced in single batches less than 200L each and never blended.


Tell us some of the highlights of a day in your life making booze. There are two points during the production of my absinthe that stand out for me. The first is when the herbs are ready for harvest. The second is the final absinthe distillation. As I always make my absinthe in a one-shot process, despite having a fairly good idea about what results to expect there is always a magic about the aroma of the finished absinthe being the refinement and culmination of so much work that year.

The spirits industry has changed a lot in the last 5 years, making way for events like the Indie Spirits Tasting. Why do you think this is? It is a reflection of the consumer ‘s knowledge and appreciation of local, quality produced spirits that has allowed events like Indie Spirits and small-scale distillers to thrive.

Where do you see the craft spirits industry heading in the next ten years? I see the knowledge of the consumer continue to drive the quality of the spirits being produced, firmly reinforcing the world class drinks now being produced all over Australia.

What do you think will be the hot new trend in the drinks world in 2018? Everything old is new again. I feel the rediscovery of classic cocktails but with locally produced artisanal spirits and quality ingredients is well worth venturing into.

Are you launching anything new at Indie Sydney? If so, what is it? I am hoping to launch my new sour mash moonshine, also the new for 2017 Demoiselle Verte Originale and the Australian style Matilda Absinthe.

Who will be on hand to discuss the brands at the event? I will be at the event. The one that does everything from planting the seedlings, harvesting them. Fermenting and distilling my absinthe and neutral spirits.

Demoiselle Verte Originale Absinthe:

Classic Absinthe: Opulent, intense and balanced. Floral, gentle bitterness from our hand selected and harvested wormwood. Aniseed providing rich velvet sweetness, fennel reinforcing this while adding a hint of spice. Citrus from lemon balm, lingering perfume from hyssop and a wheaty finish from the all grain in-house distilled base spirit.  

Website http://www.demoiselle.com.au

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/demoiselle_absinthe/?hl=en

Make sure you head to the Indie Spirits Tasting in Sydney to find out more about these new, homegrown brands. Click here to book your tickets.

To keep updated with all the distilleries, spirits, and seminars at the Indie Spirits Tasting events happening around the country, make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and keep an eye on indiespiritstasting.com.au.

Indie Spirits Tasting Sydney forms part of the massive Sydney Bar Week line-up of events. If you’re interested in exhibiting at the Indie Spirits Tasting Sydney, email david@spantonmedia.com

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