The Elements of Flavour Part One (Waiheke Island, NZ) 20 July 2024


Back by popular demand! Our Elements of Flavour workshops come to Waiheke Island this winter to enliven your senses. Join us for something truly special—a pair of workshops led by The Alembics Lab Founder Jill Mulvaney, that take you on a deep dive into the world of aroma and flavour.

Each workshop is a full day of exploration and experimentation dedicated to different materials and techniques:

  • Part One (Saturday 20th July) is dedicated to building flavour using water as your base (or solvent) and covers hydro and steam distillations, herbal honeys and zero ABV botanical drinks.
  • Part Two (Saturday 24th August) is dedicated to using alcohol as a conduit for flavour, and covers vapour-infusion techniques, gin-making and blending with quintessences (individual botanical extracts) and elixirs.

These workshops are for anyone interested in learning how to work with the building blocks of flavour—creating their own aromatic products, recipes and botanical blends. We will be using a variety of techniques and tools that will enable you to understand and use flavour in new ways. Choose your favourite day, or you can do both and get a discounted rate.

Location: Surfdale Hall (6 Hamilton Road, Waiheke Island 1081).


Saturday 20th July 2024 10am–4pm

Workshop Schedule:

Covers working with water as a solvent and how to use it as a vehicle for flavour. Understanding solubility and how water interacts with different ingredients—using infusions and the techniques of hydro and steam distillations. Includes tastings and discussions of different types of water, in particular, what they can contribute to both processes and to flavour. Learn how to super-charge flavour by layering and end the day by creating our own zero-ABV drink.

  • Introduction to the energetics of water and solubility.
  • Make an infusion with seasonal aromatics (spanning the flavour spectrum of citrus, leafy, flower, root) served with a herbal honey elixir—to kick start our day.
  • Infusions: What is in our water—solubility and polarity.
  • Hydro distillation in the 10L copper cask hood still—using seasonal aromatics to create a layered and complex hydrosol (the base for our zero ABV botanical martini). Making a complex blend of roots, spices, fruits and aromatic plants to create a complex layered water spirit.
  • Water tasting—wild water, distilled water, reverse osmosis, commercial bottled and tap water. A tasting and organoleptic evaluation of different types of water.
  • Steam distillation in the 10L copper alembic column still—how to distil essential oil—using the principles of blending and perfumery to create ‘a perfume in the still’ using a variety of aromatic materials.
  • Herbal honeys—while our essential oil is distilling, Jill walks us through how to make herbal-infused honeys, and discusses their properties and uses.
  • Our essential oil: separating out—what’s NOT in the water? Discussion of separation and low-polarity VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds).
  • Make a botanical martini—we’ll end the day with this complex and delicious zero ABV cocktail made with the products from our day’s work—including our hydrosol, and herbal honey.
  • Participants will get a small sample of our perfume oil to take home.

**On purchasing this workshop, you will receive complimentary foundation courses on Distilling Hydrosol and Distilling Essential Oil to introduce you to the techniques we use (valued at $175 each). All our online courses come with lifetime access, so you can refer back to them whenever you need, making them a great learning resource. Feel free to explore your online course before or after your workshop with us.

Getting here: Ferry’s depart from downtown Auckland, and take approximately 45 minutes. If you are not staying on the island Friday night, we recommend the 8am ferry to arrive in plenty of time. You can bus to the venue—public buses depart from the ferry terminal at Matiatia. The Onetangi bus (50A or 50B) will go past the venue, ask your friendly driver where to get off if you are unsure.

Lunch: There is a French café and lunch bar in the nearby Surfdale shops (a 5 min walk) or bring your own picnic to enjoy in the garden or at the nearby beach.