Ally and Nick Ayres are making a name for themselves as the faces behind the region's latest distilling success story.
The Hawkesbury couple is the team behind Affinity & Lightning Gin, produced from their Grose Vale-based Karu Distillery.
Gin provides us the chance to challenge ourselves doing something that we love, said Mr Ayres.
"We get the chance to work with more local products than other spirits do, we source our oranges from the Hawkesbury and our vanilla and Rosella from Queensland."
The couple are big fans of the craft alcohol movement that is taking place in the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury region, with companies like Bilpin Cider, Hillbilly Cider, Ironbark Distillery, Gypsy Fox Beer and Brew Mountains Brewery at Winmalee.
The couple are regulars at the Springwood Growers Market, held at the Blue Mountains Hub in Macquarie Road on the fourth Sunday of each month. Blackheath and Richmond Growers Market are amongst their other regular markets.
Affinity Gin has a traditional juniper nose before going through a range of flavours and ending with quite a contemporary and natural sweetness. The couple call it a gateway gin but also note that it is still a great gin for long-time gin enthusiasts as it holds a lot of traditional aspects. Lightning boasts bold double juniper and three different tiers of citrus profiles. Despite only being released for less than 12 months, both the gins have been awarded numerous national awards and two of the highest international awards you can receive.
The San Francisco World Spirits Competition is considered to be one of the most-recognised and the highly respected spirits competitions in the world. This is where Affinity was awarded a gold medal and Lightning was awarded double gold for its first batch.
The Karu logo was designed by a graphic designer friend Rhi from Slink Creative and the name comes from Ally's Estonian heritage. Karu means "bear" in Estonian, "because we think bears are cool".