Gin flavoured with Australian botanicals, beer inspired by pioneering stories, and tea and coffee served with local milk and sugar are among the diverse brews crafted in Tropical North Queensland.
Mt Uncle Distillery’s wickedly-named Big Black Cock received a gold medal in the Single Cask Single Malt Whiskey category at the 2018 World Whiskey Awards in London, beating hundreds of entries from across the world. The secret is using the finest Queensland barley aged for five years in hybrid American/French oak barrels. Their gins, rum and Sexycat Marshmallow Liqueur have also secured awards in prestigious competitions in previous years, including the International Wine and Spirit Competition in Hong Kong.
Pristine water from Mossman Gorge is the starting point for the locally brewed beers at Hemingway’s Brewery on the waterfront in both Cairns and Port Douglas. Taste craft beers – each with a local story – such as Tunnel 10 which pays homage to the workers who constructed the historic Cairns-Kuranda Railway. A landslide in 1910 downed the tunnel and with it the supply of ale, so the enterprising lads rolled barrels of brew around the mountain to ensure their thirst was quenched.
Australia’s oldest coffee plantation serves aromatic Arabica coffee with a view and tasty treats made from the Skybury Tropical Plantation’s award-winning papayas which grow alongside the coffee. The Atherton Tablelands coffee beans are roasted on site in a restored Officine Vittoria coffee roaster.
Still and sparkling wines smelling of summer are produced at Golden Drop, the first commercial mango winery in the world. Visit the working winery to sample wines and liqueurs made from Australian Kensington Pride mangoes growing on more than 17,500 trees at Australia’s largest mango plantation.
Boasting the world’s freshest and most sustainable tea, Nerada Tea can travel from crop to cup in as little as four weeks. Sea how tea is processed and enjoy a Devonshire tea with your cuppa while you look out over the plantation and keep an eye out for the resident Lumholtz tree kangaroos.
Locally grown sugar, ginseng and ginger is teamed with tropical fruits including Davidson plum and lychee to make a range of tropical fruit wines at Murdering Point Winery in Mission Beach. Observe a working winery and the cane farm in action, which could include an iconic cane fire at night.