Joe Cutcliffe

11 Best Australian Liquor and Alcohol Brands | Man of Many

Australia is home to a burgeoning liquor industry, which can make it hard to stay on top of who’s who and what’s what. While many of our smaller, craft distilleries receive widespread media attention for their award winning whiskies, rums and gins, there’s a huge sector of the market made up of liqueurs that are distilled and fortified right here on Aussie soil, as well as a bunch of big-names you might not have realised were killing it on the international awards stage.

Australian Liquor at a Glance

With Australian liquor brands producing some of the world’s top drops, it’s worth investing your time and money on domestic beauties. Here are just a few of our favourites that deserve a spot on your shelf.

Best Australian Liquor Brands

1. Mr Black Coffee Liqueur

When master distiller Phillip Moore and designer Tom Baker agreed that they both loved coffee and drinking, but didn’t like anything available on the market in the form of a decent coffee liqueur, they got to work. After 9 months investing in R&D, their brainchild, Mr Black, won a gold medal at the London International Wine & Spirits Competition in 2012.

2. Archie Rose

Rosebery’s finest – if you’re keen to stock something that most of your mates won’t have, then sort yourself out with a bottle or two from these guys. Staples of Signature Dry Gin, Signature Vodka and White Rye (all of which have won multiple awards) won’t disappoint (whisky is also in the pipeline), but also keep an eye out for their limited release goodies, perfect if you really want your cabinet’s collection to stand out.

3. Starward Whisky

Born in the backstreets of Melbourne, Starward whisky has gone on to become one of the country best and most-awarded alcohol brands. Most recently, the whisky producer secured a series of accolades at the World Whisky Masters, coming away with a swag of gold medals and a prestigious Master award for its newly unveiled UNEXPEATED release. With a focus on fine craftsmanship and natural ingredients, Starwards is a refined take on Australian spirits.

4. St Agnes

While there’s definitely a dodgy bottle of the VS sitting up the back of your nanna’s cupboard (just for Christmas pudding – sure, nan), don’t count these guys out as serious contenders in the world of brandy. While you may be inclined to assume that the best stuff comes from Cognac in France, St Agnes have been plying their trade for over 90 years, and have learned a thing or two along the way. Get a bottle of their premium range for when you want a tipple after dinner that’s not spent a year in a shipping container.

5. 666 Vodka

Made from the oh-so clean waters of Cape Grim, this Australian liquor brand is making one of the best local spirits we’ve tasted. With a small range comprising a classic vodka, a butter flavoured vodka and a vodka infused with coffee from legendary Melbourne roasters St Ali, these guys have followed the winning formula of finding one thing and doing it well. These are about as smooth as they come for drinking neat, or try the Autumn Butter Vodka in an espresso martini.

6. Vodka O

So we’ve all turned our noses up at it for being under $40 and not made in Poland, or worse – assumed that because of its price it’s a dodgy import sent straight to the bargain bin. I hate to be the one to tell you, but if you’ve made this assumption, you’re so, so wrong.

7. Hippocampus

When the team behind Fremantle’s Little Creatures brewing walked away with pockets full of cash back in 2012, after selling the company to Japanese beer giant Lion, they didn’t do the classic WA thing and spend it all on jet skis and business class flights to Bali. Instead, they decided to up the ABV on their product, and open a distillery instead. Fast forward 5 years and Hippocampus Metropolitan Distillery is one of the best Australian liquor brands making some of the yummiest gin and vodka around.

8. Tamborine Mountain Distillery

There’s a fair chance that you’ve never heard of Michael Ward’s distillery before now – you won’t find his products on the shelves at Dan Murphy’s, or probably even at a local boutique. That doesn’t mean nobody knows about them though. The Tamborine Mountain Distillery (or TMD, as most would call it) is, in fact, known mostly to spirit judges, having amassed a huge 300+ awards in its near 20 years of operation.

9. Bundaberg Rum

Alright, before you jump down our throats for including Queensland fightin’ juice on the list, stay with us while we justify why we’ve named Bundy as one of best Australian liquor brands. Sure, a few sugarcane champagnes (read: Bundy & Cokes) have caused dramas for all of us, if not least of all our heads the day after a big night on the turps, back we were just wee lads. The thing is: their Master Distillers Collection keeps winning huge awards – both locally and abroad. They’ve also donated huge amounts to disaster relief when Queensland has copped it rough. Keep a bottle of the good stuff with pride. Bundaberg Rum is quintessentially Australian liquor.

10. Old Young’s

Old Young’s have already made a big splash, winning shared top-spot as Distillery of The Year at the 2017 Australian Distilled Spirits awards, for their flavoursome and quirky range of spirits, which they carefully craft in the Swan Valley, WA. Cold drip coffee, vodka and a selection of gins feature as a foundation for the line, but if you want to go all-out whacky, get stuck into their Pavlova vodka. Old Young’s is a hugely popular Australian liquor.

11. Onyx Coffee Spirits

Based on NSW’s Central Coast, brothers Mitch and Matt Faulkner make a coffee liqueur, a coffee vodka, cold-drip cocktail coffee and what we’ve unofficially dubbed an ‘Espresso MaRTD’ (yes, a pre-made espresso martini). They’ve also launched an espresso martini on tap, coming soon to a venue near you. Basically these dudes really love espresso martinis, and seeing as most people do, their goods are worth stocking up on.
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