Frozen Finger Limes - 1kg

If you’re looking for a way to spice up your cocktails, Australian botanicals are a great place to start. Native ingredients like finger lime, lemon myrtle, strawberry gum and pepperberries can add a burst of flavour to any creative concoction.

The Festive Season is upon us and we’re all looking to try something a little different and a fun way to celebrate with our friends and families.  Australian edible natives are really entering the cocktail picture with their unique and amazing colours and flavours.

This article by Smudge Eats tells us more


Why should we be using native ingredients in cocktails?

With such powerful taste profiles, cocktail making with native ingredients can be a daunting thought. We had a chat to Outback Chef, Jude Mayall, to find out more about seasonal ingredients and how to get the most out of your flavours pairings.


Why should we be using native ingredients in cocktails?

Australian bush flavours can really pack a flavour punch – they are amazing and can transform any cocktail giving a really unique and distinct taste.

Why is seasonality important when using native ingredients?

Natives grow according to the seasons. Sometimes Mother Nature can be fickle and one year we can get an absolute bounty of a harvest and the next not much at all! This is something when you’re involved in natives that you have to learn to deal with and also educate others about, but I love that! It’s very much part of the personality of bush food that makes it really special.

What is your favourite cocktail for showcasing Australian botanicals?

The first cocktail that I tried stays with me, Shaun Bryne from Maidenii made for me. He used lemon myrtle and gin together, very simple clean flavours. Being a chef I had used natives for cooking and creating recipes, but this opened up a whole new ball game for me.

Can you give us some examples of flavour combinations – native ingredients paired with spirits – that work well together?

Gin seems to be so popular at the moment and the natives that work there would be lemon myrtle and strawberry gum. Any of the native limes, for example desert limes, finger limes, blood limes or sunrise limes are all great with rum, as well as cinnamon myrtle and quandongs, native rosella and even riberries as they have a spicy, fruity flavour.

What’s the most surprisingly good flavour combination (native ingredient and spirit) you have worked with?

I tend to keep it pretty simple and clean. I absolutely love native citrus, but a favourite of mine is a combination of gin with sunrise limes and a splash of tonic. These limes are bright yellow pear shaped fruit that taste a bit like a cumquat with a “floral” aroma. I can eat them just as they are – they’re just beautiful.

Where do you start when creating a cocktail centred on a particular native ingredient?

In the first instance, for anyone new to using Australian natives, I would suggest the easiest way is to make a cocktail that you’re familiar with, then revisit the ingredients in that cocktail and substitute. Native flavours can be tricky and working from a substitution basis is a good way start creating, once you’re familiar with the flavours then start to play and have fun.  It’s amazing how often I’ve been trying to create one thing and had a “happy accident” and it turned out completely different, but great.

Where can we buy/find native ingredients to experiment with?

My company, Outback Chef sells natives; we have dried herbs, spices, fruits and berries, as well as a range of frozen fruits and can get in fresh produce on request.

Do you have any tips for those using native ingredients in cocktails at home?

Start with a couple, for example lemon myrtle, Davidson plum or lilly pillies perhaps. It’s pretty cool to work with a new spectrum of flavours, but it can be daunting as well. I love the excitement that people have when they first discover bush food; it’s a great journey. Most of the natives are quite strong in flavour, so work them in lightly and see how they react.  For instance native pepperberries are particularly hot, as in really, really chilli hot, but they are fantastic and when they come in contact with acids like lemon juice then they turn a cocktail hot pink!