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The Rise of Whisky in Central Otago

Apr 6, 2018  ·  3 min read

The Central Otago region is known for many things including fabulous wine, brimming fruit orchards, delicious restaurant and café options, not to mention the mountains, the growing arts culture and a well-respected gold heritage.

However, there’s a new kid on the block competing for your attention. Whisky is a real up and comer in the area and your interest in it is well deserved. Some fantastic local haunts are producing some truly delicious varieties and we are on a quest to try them all. There are some very impressive distilleries popping up and we are keen to support all things born and bred in our lovely region.

Thomson Whisky

Thomson Whisky is “Committed to quality over volume” and avow to making “craft whisky for the modern enthusiast”. You had me at committed and craft …

What we love about Thomson is it’s just a bunch of ordinary folk that had a passion and started playing with different tastes that they themselves liked. Fast forward some years and they are now considered an established distillery while still using traditional methods and their product is in high demand.

The Cardrona Distillery

The already established The Cardrona Distillery is famous for gin, but much to our whisky loving delight, have recently branched out into the darker spirit. All their spirits are made from scratch on-site at their distillery in Cardrona, halfway between Wanaka and Queenstown. Tour the distillery or check out their products. Nothing will disappoint.

Using Whisky the right way

Reds at QT Queenstown is keen on booze, that’s no secret. But when some fabulous whisky options crop up in our own backyard, we are the first to give them a try.

We are using home-grown whisky in many of our cocktails. Here are two of our personal favourite beverages that are currently on offer.

White Rye Julep

A slight twist on a classic julep using NZ White Rye Whisky with a green apple liqueur. Simple to make and super refreshing. The mint leaves thrown in give it that extra wow factor.

Bramblin’ Man

Almost like a bourbon smash, wormwood is used to add a touch of bitter to complement the sweetness of elderflower and berries. Delicious! A must try.

words by emily carstairs


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