Karu Distillery is no stranger to accolades, but for the first time they've taken home a few awards for a liqueur, with their new Orsa coffee gin liqueur.
Collaborations is a cornerstone of the food and drink industry in Australia, and Karu Distillery is one brand that loves exploring new products with other businesses.
So, when the opportunity to collaborate with Lawson's The Little Coffee Co., the Grose Vale distillery jumped at it.
Coffee had always intrigued owners of Karu, husband and wife duo, Nick and Ally Ayres.
"Darren from The Little Coffee Co. invited us to his roastery to show us around," said Ms Ayres.
"We had met him a few years ago at a 'Blue Mountains Beverage Trail' group and loved his enthusiasm and the way he talked about coffee.
"This sparked us to want to work with our gin and his coffee."
Ms Ayres said Affinity Gin was the obvious choice for collaboration, since it has "a lot of complexity and some natural sweetness that shines uniquely in cocktails".
"Paired with coffee it provides the most beautiful characteristics of Darren's organic cold brew," she said.
"He talked us through sugars that are used in coffee culture, which are very different from the sugars we are used to in the fermentation of spirits and cocktails.
"This gave us a really great insight of what we were looking for to give this liqueur its sweeter edge."
And with that, Orsa coffee gin liqueur was created and released at the end of the competition entry season.
Really wanting to compete in the liqueur space with their new product, Karu entered Orsa in Tasting Australia Spirit Awards, thinking it was a "no-brainer" to throw it in the ring with a credible panel of food, drink and respected industry judges.
"Like any competition you want to do well but you never know until it's announced," said Ms Ayres.
"Orsa not only took home a Gold in the competition, but also 'Best Of Class', which put us into the running to take home a trophy against all the best-in-class liqueurs.
"We were absolutely blown away to win the trophy for 'Australia's Best Liqueur' for Orsa's first competition placing."
The judges scored it 92 and said "Nose is lifted, super complex, and layered with clove and Middle Eastern spices and Turkish Coffee. The palate is rich yet balanced with brightness on the finish".
Orsa is stocked at most Blue Mountains bottle shops or available at karudistillery.com.au.
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