Bringing the individual Feels to your bar with John Gakuru

Feels Botanical is a unique range of Australian spirits featuring sustainably sourced, native Australian botanicals with Australian Eau de Vie, that give Australian bartenders an incredible canvas with which they can paint amazing cocktails.

Feels Botanical was co-founded by Blake Vanderfield-Kramer and has developed into a brand with a strong grassroots following of forward-thinking individuals seeking out new, natural alternatives to grain-based alcohols. Since its inception Feels has built steady growth and recently, renowned global industry veteran, John Gakuru joined the team as an investor and advisor with a view to helping Feels develop strategic growth initiatives.

Explaining what the range and the brand means to him, John said: “Australia’s Feels Botanical spirits captivate me with their unique fusion of native botanicals.

“Each sip embodies the essence of the Australian landscape, evoking a sense of adventure and discovery. The intricate blend of flavours, inspired by indigenous flora, offers a refreshing and authentic taste experience that transports me to the heart of Australia.”

There are four products within the Feels range: Bask, Vivify, Rouse and Revel and John details his thoughts on the range.

Starting with Bask, John said this drink took him by surprise in the most positive of ways.

“The mouth feel from the Australian grape spirit is so delightful and supports the herbal notes from hemp, quandong and Kakadu plum,” John said. “This particular selection of botanicals allows the curious consumer or the talented bartender to find something fun, interesting and different to enjoy.

“I love Bask as a sipper over lots of ice. As the ice slowly melts, so each sip evolves and different flavours are brought to the fore. If neat spirits aren’t your thing, lengthen Bask with soda or tonic water and squeeze of fresh citrus.”

With Vivify, John said this is a drink that gives bartenders some great flavours to work and have fun with.

“The Australian ginger, turmeric and coconut are so evocative,” he said. “As a bartender, this is a spirit that is so much fun to use in any manner of drink styles. Pour it tall with a grapefruit soda or switch out the rum in a Daiquiri for an awesome tropical, happy twist. This is one of those spirits that you just need to try and decide for yourself.”

The ABV in the range changes, with Vivify and Bask being at 43 per cent, and Rouse and Revel at 33 per cent and John said this slightly lower ABV on Rouse is perfect for those who are looking for something a bit different, and maybe not as strong, in their Martini.

He said: “I love it because it’s a slightly lower ABV at 33 per cent, so I’m able to stir it with ice and pour it in to a beautiful coupe glass and sip and enjoy, knowing that it won’t blow my socks off, but it will deliver a stunningly delicate, refined and perfectly balanced Martini alternative.”

The final product in the range is Revel, which features coffee, Illawarra plum and gingseng, which John says is a great way to start your evening.

“I’ve enjoyed Revel neat over ice, and as curiously wonderful alternative to vodka in an Espresso Martini. Revel is the bottle I pull from my home bar and enjoy as I get ready to head out for an evening out with friends. It sets the tone and puts me in the best frame of mind to enjoy a night out that’s full of promise,” he said.

In terms of how Feels can work in your venue, Jack Connor, owner and operator of Rosella’s Bar at Burleigh Heads in Queensland, said, being something a bit different, Feels grabbed his attention straight away.

“I have all the Feels Botanical Eau de Vie spirits and I am currently serving ‘Fire Engine’ which features Feels Rouse and ‘Watermelon Gatorade’ with Feels Bask. ‘Watermelon Gatorade’ is probably up there in my favourite flavour combos I’ve done, it’s just one of those drinks you can drink forever and get something new from it every time.”

He added: “I’m all for pushing boundaries and creating things that people might question, where does this sit in terms of categories? So, something like Feels Botanical definitely grabbed my attention straight away and lined up quite well with me. It works well in a place like Rosella’s and we use Feels quite a lot.

“It works extremely well in cocktails, when we use feels we either enhance the flavour of the particular bottle or we contrast and it’s a lot of fun. It says what it is on the tin as well which is great. A lot of gins/vodkas say they are something and you really have to go hunting for that flavour, sometimes you can’t even taste it.”

Feels Botanical recently joined into a partnership with Cape Byron Distillery, with the products available through the distillery’s sales team. Find out more through the Feels Botanical website.

Send via Email

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles