Chin Chin Farm Workshop (Melbourne, Australia) 18–19 May 2024

Join us at the beautiful Chin Chin Farm in the Macedon Ranges just outside of Melbourne for a weekend of distillation, botanical exploration, food and fun. Learn all about making and using aromatic products—including hydrosol, essential oil, bespoke gin blends and herbal honey elixirs. We also explore how to ferment and distil your own high-quality neutral spirit.

Location: Chin Chin Farm, 673 Chintin Road, in the Eastern Macedon Ranges (1hr 20 mins drive from central Melbourne).

Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th May 2024.
You can choose to do just one or both days. Lunch is provided.



Spend the weekend with Jill Mulvaney of the Alembics Lab as she introduces you to a range of distillation and botanical extraction techniques, using the aromatic plants and materials from the beautiful surrounds of Chin Chin Farm. Taught over two days, our latest Australian workshop is a hands-on, immersive learning experience engaging all your senses.

Day one of the weekend will cover the processes of hydro and steam distillation, as well as uses for the hydrosol and essential oils we produce. Day two will explore aromatic spirits, as using the technique of vapour-infusion we create our own bespoke gin blends and guide you through the process of creating your own neutral spirit from a wash or ferment. You’ll also enjoy delicious food and drink, including botanical cocktails and refreshing G&T’s made from our weekend’s work.

Chin Chin Farm is a family-run farm cultivating lavender and Australian natives, situated an hour and a half out of Melbourne in the Macedon Ranges. Their philosophy is ‘food with flavour, from the ground-up’, starting with the soil. The family is focused on using sustainable and regenerative farming practices and creating an environment where cultivated plants, lush wild grasses and native forests all work in harmony.

Workshop schedule

DAY ONE—A focus on WATER
Saturday 18th May 2024 10.30–4pm

Covers using water as a solvent (hydro and steam distillations) tastings of different types of water, and a discussion of what they contribute to both process and to flavour. We will also use the products of our distillations to create botanical drinks and skin care products.

  • Start the day with an exalted water (hydrosol blend) on arrival.
  • Working with what’s around us: A hydro distillation of an Australian native. Together we explore identification, harvesting and preparation of our plant material for distillation.
  • Demonstration: Hydro distillation of our chosen botanical in a copper alembic still.
  • Water tasting—wild water, distilled water, reverse osmosis, commercial bottled and tap water. A tasting and organoleptic evaluation of different types of water led by Jill Mulvaney.
  • How to make and use herbal-infused honeys.
  • Blending hydrosol for aroma and flavour: Make a pre-lunch botanical cocktail using our hydrosols, and herbal honey.
  • Steam distillation of native botanicals for essential oils—a comparison of two different stills—functionality, yields, aroma.
  • Demonstration one: Steam distillation for essential oil using a copper alembic still.
  • Demonstration two: Steam distillation for essential oil using a modern stainless steel still from the Alchemia range.
  • Using our aromatic hydrosol: How to make a cooling hydrogel. Includes appropriate applications and uses.
  • Preparing a fermented soda for use in botanical cocktails and mixed drinks.

Sunday 19th May 2024 10.30–4pm

Covers vapour-infused gin distillations and how to build bespoke blends, making honey elixirs as well as the process for creating your own high-quality neutral spirit.

  • Gin distilling: How to create bespoke gin blends, using Australian natives alongside classic gin botanicals.
  • Demonstration of how to distil a vapour-infused gin, using a 3L caskhood copper alembic still (using the gin blend we have just designed).
  • While our gin distils, Jill and Stuart of Chin Chin Farm show us how to prepare a simple wash for our neutral spirit. Includes recipe, process and discussions of the best parameters for successful fermentation.
  • Balancing flavour in blends: practice your blending skills using our single, vapour-distilled quintessences.
  • Using honey as a solvent: How to make an elixir. Jill outlines the process for creating these complex, flavourful elixirs from the by-products of herbal honeys.
  • Prepare a botanical cocktail before lunch using our aromatic products—fermented soda, elixir and gin.
  • Demonstration of how to distil alcohol. Using our modern stainless steel still, we’ll take you through the process of distilling your own neutral spirit from a wash from start to finish. Includes set up, safety and how to take fractions and make cuts.
  • We’ll end the day with a delicious G&T made from our own bespoke blend.