Oh, how I have been looking forward to this. Ever since the artisan Australian gin craze took off a few years ago — followed by the artisan Australian vermouth craze — I’ve been waiting for some enterprising local booze producer to come out with a home-grown alternative to Campari. Why? Because then we’d have all three ingredients for an all-Australian negroni — and how cool would that be? – Max Allen
We're very excited to announce the initial release of this new beverage - we've christened Økar - a phonetic spin on the word 'Ochre' - how Australian's might pronounce it. It's an Amaro - probably a bit of an esoteric term to the uninitiated, although bitter/herbal aperitifs have been popular for more than a century - Aperol or Campari ring any bells? Whilst aperitifs in this category are generally marketed alongside images of the Amalfi coastline, roadsters with
the top down, winding roads and a spritzer in-hand, we felt a more comfortable image could be 'chilling at the beach' - be it Noosa, Bondi or Cottesloe. Or perhaps 'sitting in a café' - be it in the multitude of laneways across our country.
We like to take an Australian-spin on things - and dry aperitifs seem to epitomise a renaissance in contemporary Australian drinking. It just so happens that seemingly - 90% of all native Australian botanicals are also intensely bitter. Probably something to do with the harshness of our climate - and one native ingredient stood head-and-shoulders above the rest when it came to Økar - Riberries. Otherwise known as Lilly Pilly. Historians have noted that indigenous
Australians used to use these as a form of 'candy' - although contemporary palates might be surprised! The Riberry's cranberry-tartness, hints of clove and bark-like bitterness make it well-suited for an Australian aperitif. Riberries aren't the only stars in this beverage - alongside we see Lemon Myrtle, Gentian Root, Licorice Root, Wormwood, Sweet Orange Peel, Cassia Bark and Cinchona Bark (to name a few). Økar is an aperitif best served as a spritzer - with sparkling wine wine/Prosecco, a dash of soda - and (if you can find it) - a crushed Lemon Myrtle leaf - alternatively, a bit of Orange peel goes a long way! – Brendan and Laura Carter (distillers).