Snake Oil is a vernacular term for a health tonic portrayed as a cure-all for illnesses yet has dubious medicinal properties. Whilst I make no claim that Snake Oil Tonic Syrup will cure all your ailments it is, inarguably, the perfect remedy for a premium gin that is lacking a worthy tonic. With a bottle of Snake Oil in your fridge any soda water will, with a simple pour, be converted into a delicious, life-infusing accompaniment for any gin.
The recipe is the brainchild of Jon Lark, co-founder and owner of Kangaroo Island Spirits, creators of award-winning spirits and liqueurs: Best Gin in Australia 2016 at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards championship no less. He also happens to be my dad. Jon has been searching for just the right accompaniment for his gins. In development for a number of years with much tinkering of the recipe I now feel it has reached a quality that is sufficiently outstanding and sympatico with the premium small batch ethos.
Ingredients: of course it's a family secret, however without giving away too much, the tonic syrup is deliciously flavoured by botanicals picked fresh from the garden of Kangaroo Island Spirits. Ranging from real Cinchona bark (quinine) and English lavender to a few choice leaves of Rose Geranium, it is a complex yet adequately subtle tonic that blends seamlessly with any clean spirit and especially with gin.
My name is Lindon Lark and I grew up around foodies and quality organic, locally sourced foods. When I get home from work tired and don’t feel like cooking dinner (just yet) my mind turns to a cool, refreshing gin and tonic, Going to the cupboard and pulling out the mass-produced gin I proceed to drown it in a regular carbonated tonic water with not nearly enough ice. If feeling fancy the concoction will possibly be graced with a wedge of lime. This will quench my thirst and be ‘good enough’ nine times out of 10.
For those special evenings when guests come over, I’ve finished a massive assignment or my partner has just received a promotion at work, it’s time to get the stepladder and beeline for the top shelf gin (Australian of course). Reaching into the back of the cupboard I locate the best set of glasses then use those fancy spherical ice moulds and conclude my little ritual by venturing into my garden to scavenge a leaf or two of mint and a few stems of thyme. In the past, everything would be looking good but then I’d open the very average bottle of supermarket tonic water and all of a sudden the magic was gone. But disappointment no more - now, the magic is enhanced because I always have some Snake Oil on hand.
Having become increasingly conscious of a food mile mentality, I don’t eat meat unless it’s grown in my state and comes from a reputable source. I’d like to see the same thing applied to everything else we consume. South Australia is the source of some of the cleanest, freshest produce in Australia and all our ingredients (bar the Cinchona from Peru) have been sourced from this fair State, most from organic growers.
I am actually a full-time student but felt it was only fair, in fact an act of community service, to share this delicious and health-giving beverage with you all as soon as possible. My father has entrusted me with the recipe and as you can imagine my financial situationis not opulent so any contributions will be most gratefully received and invested in this very worth while project. Thankfully I will able to reward your generosity with the rewards listed here and we both get to experience the joy.
How The Funds Will Be Used
After deciding to follow through with this little business venture, I complied a cost analysis on the start-up of this operation.
I will be able to purchase the basic equipment absolutely necessary to start. This includes:
1 x Plate Filter with Food Grade Pump that would enable filtering of large quantities of syrup down to 5 microns
(This is important because the syrup is made with a steeping method and the cinchona bark we use comes in a powdered form and clouds the syrup)
1 x Stainless Steel Cooking Pot - 250 litres
1 x Vacuum Powered Bottling machine
3 x Sterile food grade settling barrels
1 x Deep freezer for storage of botanicals
First batch of Ingredients
Now we're talking!
- This will enable me to go all out and get my first shipment of bottles
- A larger cooking pot
- Filtering equipment that will be significantly more powerful and durable enabling faster production
- 1 x labelling machine
- Professionally printed labels
- And a range of other bits and bobs that are required to make my job easier and/or cleaner
FULL SPEED AHEAD!
- With this additional cash I'll be able to fit out a space with benches and plumbing so I wont be taking over the kitchen 3 times a week in my house
- It will also go towards getting an industrial gas burner and a gas line hooked up to the work space
- Potentially aid my goal of being able to set up a sustainable, organic greenhouse where I can grow majority of my botanicals
- This could also go towards hiring an employee to assist in the hand peeling of citrus and other odd jobs that go into an operation like this
Some of the challenges,
Making a consistently high quality product - my personal challenge is to make the best possible product I can with the finest locally sourced ingredients available. If you're going to do something, do it well! Luckily I have a rather good teacher. The syrup will be made is small batches and carefully monitored for quality control. The bottles will be sterilised without chemicals for your health and good taste.
Raising capital – the perennial challenge of start-ups! Whilst confident I can get this project going I’d really appreciate it if you spread the word and let your gin savvy friends know about this campaign. Maybe even give it a share on your social media page(s)!
Networking – for this very special occasion I have created a Facebook account which (as I am writing this) has only 3 likes. Please consider jumping to. https://www.facebook.com/SnakeOilTonics/