tilde~: Natalie Ng introduces Australia’s first raw vodka with its “moreish lacto vibe”

Natalie Ng launches tilde~ vodka. Photo: Christopher Pearce

With the folks from Vanguard launching a brand new Australian vodka, tilde~, to the market we took a chance to chat with their Brand Ambassador, our 2021 Outstanding Contribution recipient and owner of Sydney bar, Door Knock, Natalie Ng, to find out more about this innovative brand that she has poured her heart and soul into.

Tell us, how did tilde~ come to life and how did you get involved with the project?
We acknowledged that there was a gap in the market. Bartenders are already using techniques like fat/milk washing to create more mouthfeel or flavour complexity, especially within the vodka category. So we set out to create tilde~, a vodka with actual character. Everything that goes into the bottle is locally sourced and produced from start to finish.

As bartenders, we still look at vodka as something that is interchangeable and boring, it was about time that someone created a vodka that bartenders could get excited about! After all, there was a time where gin had a bad reputation, and look at that market now. There is no time better than the present to champion locality and craft, and tilde~ is a true product of a brewer, distiller and bartender partnership.

The name “tilde~” in itself is intriguing. Can you tell us how you came up with it?
We did a lot of market research geared towards both consumer and trade and this was almost three years in the making. Tilde is the ~ sign, in mathematics it means “is equivalent to” or “to the point of difference”. We thought that was quite beautiful as we are creating vodka that has a point of difference. Many different versions were trialled and vetoed before we were happy with the final product you see before you today.

tilde~ is made from a sour beer wash. Why? And why not use just a GNS (Grain Neutral Spirit)?
Most vodkas are still made from GNS, so it was a no brainer that we wanted to create something different right from the start. The lacto, creamy mouthfeel of tilde~ relies on our sour beer wash which was created by Jeremy, the head brewer of White Rabbit. It took about two years of R&D to finally get the outcome we desired. The sour beer wash is then fermented for a long time (10-12hrs). Quality ingredients are key and so is the recipe, hence why we don’t have to over distill the liquid to achieve the right balance of subtle aniseed and citrusy aniseed notes, all without compromising on palate weight and smoothness.
After distillation, nothing else is added except for natural spring water. It’s weird, I have never been able to drink a vodka at room temperature, but tilde~ has completely changed that stigma. It’s hard to describe. You really need to just try it to understand what I’m so excited about!

“The lacto, creamy mouthfeel of tilde~ relies on our sour beer wash which was created by Jeremy, the head brewer of White Rabbit. It took about two years of R&D to finally get the outcome we desired.”

How would you describe the flavour profile of tilde~?
tilde~ is an enticing and truly unique spirit. The aroma is reminiscent of sugar cane spirit, fresh pine, and citrus. Creamy, velvety in mouthfeel and texture with a bold hint of fresh lemon peel. It lingers on the palate before finishing with an elegant hint of aniseed. Something raw and real that goes far beyond its already smooth personality.

How would you recommend serving tilde~?
Because of its fresh agricole, lemony like aroma, tilde~ is great just with soda and lemon. This is our recommended signature serve, a new age VLS if you will.
Cocktail-wise, tilde~ is fantastic for when you want to create a balanced vodka cocktail that can hold up in palate weight and character against challenging ingredients. It makes the best Bloody Mary ever. Try also using it in any interesting classics or twists, such as a London Calling. I personally have been making loads of Lemon Sgroppinos especially during these warmer months. In Sydney, you can try some amazing creations at venues such as RE., Encore By Claire Smyth, Margaret or Earl’s Juke Joint.
Also great for those legendary customers that hate or are “allergic” to gin/juniper.

Where can we get our hands on a bottle?
Contact your local Vanguard Luxury Brands representative! Alternatively please feel free to reach out to me for any further information or to arrange a tasting:

Red Red Wine
40ml tilde~ Raw Vodka
10ml Toasted Cacao Nib infused Red Wine
15ml Raspberry syrup (fresh raspberries)
20ml lemon juice
Shake vigorously and strain into a wine glass.
Garnish with raspberries & lemon thyme spray
Wilde & Free
30ml tilde~ Raw Vodka
10ml Australian raw honey
20ml clarified Meyer lemon juice
20ml filtered water
Carbonate with CO2 rig and serve
in a chilled/frozen champagne flute.
Garnish with lemon thyme spray and a lemon wheel.

Further information on the tilde~ Raw story and production can be found via our website: tilderaw.com.au, or follow our Instagram for upcoming competitions and events: @tilderawau