9 December 2022

Riverina Made: The 'Eliksir' for Christmas is gingerbread gin and gin jam

| Chris Roe
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Woman with gin

Robbie Ladbrook went from science to distilling. Photo: Supplied.

Who are you and what is your business? My name is Robbie Ladbrook, I’m the owner and the distiller and the gin crafter at Ladbroken Distilling Co. It’s been my passion to capture the best of the regional produce around Tumbarumba in the Snowy Valleys and the Riverina region and showcase it to people in a new and different way through our spirits.

Where did you begin? Well, I started off my career as an earth scientist and then I went into education and I’ve always been experimenting and creating and crafting, and I guess I took it to a new level. The official word is that my husband could no longer afford to drink the whiskey and the spirits that he was starting to appreciate. So we decided that we wanted to get our fingers into some creative projects and so distilling became one of them!

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What do you produce? At the moment, we produce handcrafted spirits that really talk to the Snowy Valleys region. Eliksir is our gin brand, and as a side product we also produce jam. So we have a range of gin jam that will be available soon. We don’t like to waste anything, so when the fruit comes out of the gin, it’s drunken cherries or drunken strawberries or drunken raspberries, so we’re processing that now into a gin jam, which is really well received. And then we also have another product, called gin salt, where the botanicals are utilised as a sort of garnish for your meat rubs and your barbecues over summer.

Man with gin bottles

Finn deBono out offering a taste at the markets in Wagga. Photo: Chris Roe.

Where can we buy your products? We have an online store and we have distribution into most of the independent retailers within our region. In Wagga, there’s the Wagga Visitor Centre, the Wagga Cellars, and a couple of the restaurants such as The Charles boutique restaurant and Pastorale. You can also find us at nearly all of the farmers’ markets and the regular markets in the region.

What should we buy for gifts this Christmas? Something that you know your recipients are really going to love and it’s really unique and it represents a little bit of what you’re wanting to tell in your gift to them. So a little bit of your local region is a really, really great gift. We do have some gift packs available and we have our gingerbread gin out for the festive season as well. And that’s really the best sort of gift because you can share it with the person that you give it to!

Gin and cocktail

You really can taste the gingerbread. Photo: Supplied.

What’s your favourite product that you make? I think I have two favourites. One is our Berryliscious and that’s a blackberry-based gin where we wild-pick the blackberries from different farmers’ properties here. One of my other favourites is the apple and fig fireside gin, which has apples from Batlow from the worst bushfire-affected properties and then some local wild figs. It’s very unique.

What would you make if you could do anything? I plan to make a whole lot of really small unique liqueurs based on local unusual fruits that my contacts in the region and the orchardists and growers provide to me.

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How would you promote the Riverina? For me, when I’m capturing those flavours of the Riverina and the Snowy Valleys, whether it’s the pepper berries or the little blood oranges or the citrus or the hazelnuts.

Who is another local producer you admire? Happy Wombat Hazelnuts is one. Her (Bindi Vanzella) products are phenomenally tasty. You’ll never taste a hazelnut as good as they make.

What do you want for Christmas? I would really like to get to the family reunion in Queensland that’s been postponed for several years, so looking forward to seeing my family.

You can learn more about the Labroken Distillery here.

Region Riverina is committed to celebrating our local producers and creatives and encourages everyone to buy locally.

If you know someone who’s making something amazing that we should share, let us know!

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