Daniel Motlop is a proud Larrakia man, former Australian Rules football player and indigenous food and beverage entrepreneur. He has a deep and enduring connection with the land of Australia’s Northern Territory – Larrakia country.
His connection is more than a birthplace. It is based on respect and care for the land, a knowledge of its produce and the influence of the seven seasons on the way the Larrakia people harvest. It is the knowledge of sustainable harvesting practices that has been passed down through generations.
Green Ant Gin launched in 2017 as an extension of the Motlop family’s indigenous produce supply business, Something Wild. In 2021, Motlop launched Seven Seasons spirits, adding Bush Apple Gin and Native Yam Vodka to the portfolio.
Seven Seasons spirits now produces award-winning gins and vodka from hand-harvested native Australian ingredients: green ants, bush apples and native yams.
‘Our range is inspired by the Seven Seasons as laid down by the Larrakia people,’ says Motlop.
‘The lore of the land signal changes in the stars, winds, plants, animals and bush foods. Everything is there for a reason. Every product tells an authentic story of the land. Each gives a taste of the world’s oldest new flavours of who we are and where we are from.
‘We seek to showcase these flavours and celebrate learnings and ingredients from my culture – the world’s oldest. We harvest only what we need each season, to ensure a plentiful annual return,’ says Motlop.
‘We are an Aboriginal company, employing Aboriginal harvesters to gather what is both natural and bountiful. In this we way we look after country, our community, and our family.’
The Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement is expected to enter into force later this year. It will lower the current duty on importing spirits into the UK by around £8 per bottle.
With its unique indigenous flavours and sustainability story, Seven Seasons spirits is expected to make a bit of a splash. Parent company Mighty Craft will be stocking Seven Seasons spirits as part of its portfolio in its new under-bond warehousing facility in the Netherlands.
This will facilitate distribution across the UK and Europe, lower shipping costs and deal with the current global supply chain issues. The result will shrink wait times and minimise costs.
Dragonflies announce the dry season and fruiting of native cherries. As the rainy season sets in, green tree frogs start singing. A bell-shaped flower appears on vines that leads the Larrakia people to the bush yams. It’s the perfect time to dig them out, as the ground is softer from the rain.
Eating roasted yams from a fire pit is a fond childhood memory for Motlop. The addition of native yams to Seven Seasons Native Yam Vodka gives a rich, creamy and earthy flavour, which is delicious in a dry martini.
When the wind blows, new life is starting to form on trees. The bum of the green ant gets fat and the Larrakia people know it is time to harvest. Each bottle of Seven Seasons Green Ant Gin contains 8–10 green ants, giving this gin zesty lime flavours. Boobialla (native Australian juniper) brings floral notes, strawberry gum adds a touch of warm spice, and lemon myrtle and pepper berry add depth to the base citrus profile.
As lightning storms flash through the skies signalling the start of monsoon season, the bright red of bush apples pops on trees, making them visible for the Larrakia people to harvest. Seven Seasons Bush Apple Gin is distilled with boobialla, pepper berry, lemon myrtle and finger lime to balance the juniper with flavours of gently spiced orange blossom and jammy forest berries.
From its inception, Seven Seasons has collected accolades from some of the most prestigious awards in Australia and abroad. These include the ‘In the Bottle’ Trophy in the Produce Awards and Double Gold at New York’s World Wine & Spirits Competition in 2021.
Its Green Ant Gin won a gold medal at the 2021 Australian Distilled Spirits Awards in the Contemporary Gin category. Bronze medals were also awarded for Seven Seasons’ Bush Apple Gin and Native Yam Vodka.
Mighty Craft Managing Director Mark Haysman says the awards confirmed that Seven Seasons represented the pinnacle of craft in Australia. He added that Daniel and the distilling team are highly skilled at making spirits that perfectly capture the essence of Australia.
This year, Seven Seasons made its first inroads into the UK market. It won bronze in the London Spirits Competition 2022 for its Bush Apple Gin and Native Yam Vodka. Next year it will enter the World Gin awards in London.