Sally Richardson’s graphic design career ended in 2014 when she moved to the Otways village of Forrest and bought the General Store.
Her timing couldn’t have been better.
The former sawmill town, where electricity only arrived in the late 1950’s, was undergoing a transformation – out in the myrtle beech and mountain ash chainsaws were being replaced by mountain bikes.
The weekend warriors were joined by a steady stream of city escapees moving from the suburbs into the empty logger’s cottages.
The mountain bikers and tree changers were hungry, hungry for the kind of food they ate in Melbourne.
Sally grew an extensive kitchen garden, got to know lots of local producers and makers and got on with serving the growing number of people beating a path to her store.
Five years of feeding visitors and fellow townspeople later Sally was feeling ready for a new challenge – distilling.
It was a perfect mix of her passions – finding great local produce, creating something special to show it off and sharing the results with friends.
Sally’s skill at gathering ingredients is matched by her ability at gathering talented collaborators.
Sally learned her craft from accomplished distiller Wayne Bourke at his small batch distillery Bathtub Gin Co in Brunswick.
Wayne patiently led Sally through the distilling process, accommodating her cornucopia of ingredients she’d bring up to the city to experiment with.
A gin was Sally’s first go at distilling.
Using lemons and rosemary from her garden and her friend Tom Dennis’ lemon gum she wanted to capture her home in the Otways.
Named after her adopted town, Sally feels that her Forrest Gin smells and tastes like the Otways she’s come to know.
Others clearly agree, Sally and Wayne’s Forrest Gin was awarded a silver medal at this year’s Royal Australian Spirit Awards.
A citrus vodka was next, along with a series of popular cellos– limoncello, blood orangecello and berrycello all made from organic fruit and botanicals out of Sally or her friend’s farms and gardens.
Another experiment using winemaker mate, Dinny Goonan’s waste grape pressings gave rise to a Winter Gin and a double distilled Grappa – something we’ll be bringing in this coming winter .
For now though you can find Sally’s Forrest Gin, Citrus Vodka and Berrycello in our new alcohol and alcohol-free drinks section.
And we’re really sorry Sally’s limocello has sold out already! We had no idea how popular it would be. Please keep an eye out – more limocello will be in on Wednesday or Thursday.
Alannah’s Homemade Pressies
Next Sunday at 11am Open Table superstar presenter Alanna Brown is leading an online home-cooked, no-waste Christmas gifts workshop.
You can cook along with Alanna or just come and watch and be part of this beloved series of workshops that’s helped us feel connected through all the six long lockdowns.
There’ll also be a special end of year announcement and presentation. We’ll be emailing and posting the workshop link during the week.
And finally vale Peter Cundall – never was there a more generous spirit. Peter Cundall was that rare human being who just by being himself made you want to be a better person.
For years I had a secret wish that if Australia became a Republic Peter Cundall would be our first President – he surely would have made our country a braver, kinder, greener place.
And that’s our bloomin’ lot,