This Father's day, we're reconnecting with friends of the brand, Eddie Brook and his father Martin, as they muse on building a family business and share an exclusive cocktail recipe with us.
Hi Eddie & Martin! How would you describe your relationship?
Eddie: Dad (aka Brookie) and I have a great relationship. Since I moved back home to Byron, around five years ago, I have loved being able to spend some more time with dad on the farm and doing what our family does best, eating and drinking. Brookie is quite the character and is a bit of the life of the party (always great for a joke or a rendition of Frank Sinatra after a few G&T’s), so when it came to naming our Gin as soon as we said the name ‘Brookie’ (which is Dads nickname) we knew it was meant to be.
Martin: We have a warm, close relationship. It helps that we have a very similar sense of humour and outlook on life. I have a great deal of respect for this talented son of mine. When he first approached Pam and me with the idea to open a distillery, we were really excited about the opportunities it held. It seemed such a great concept, and we couldn’t wait to see it come to life. Additionally, Ed shares with me a deep commitment to cherish and improve our precious environment. He knows I am here for him through good and challenging times.
Martin, what lessons have you learnt since becoming a father?
While I’m still working on the art of good listening, I have learnt over the years you don’t have all the answers - a lot of the time they’ll figure it out for themselves!
If you create a space that enables creativity to flower, their dreams start to take shape in ways you never expected. For example, I never would have predicted that Eddie would go on to start a distillery. When he was growing up, Pam, and I always had him in the kitchen, helping us with the creation of new products for Brook Farm. From a very young age, he displayed a brilliant palette and sense of smell along with a genuine passion for creating new things. Looking back all that time spent tasting, and refining products were helping pave the way to producing products of his own.
Eddie, what’s the best piece of advice your father has given you?
Dad has always been a source of inspiration, positivity and a great sounding board. There a few pieces of advice that he has given me over the years that I use a lot in daily life and business;
- Ignore the naysayers.
- When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
- Don’t be afraid of taking risks.
In 1989 Mum & Dad put everything on the line to move our family from Melbourne to Byron Bay, they bought a 98-acre run-down dairy farm with the intent to grow macadamia’s and regenerate rainforest and in 2000 started a business producing premium Macadamia Muesli’s. It was Dad who tirelessly put in the work of selling the product locally and around the country to internationally and had his fair share of pushbacks. Had he listened to the naysayers, not got back up from the knockbacks nor taken risks, to begin with, we wouldn’t be where we are today. Today Brook Farm proudly employs over 70 people, and the rainforest is teeming with life and is the home for our distillery.
What is your most treasured memory together?
Martin: In November 2016 the entire family including our business partner and good friend, Jim McEwen, the great Islay distiller, gathered in a circle next to our big copper still, George. We all held hands as the very first Brookie’s gin began to flow. I was so incredibly proud of Eddie. All his hard work, perseverance and talent shone through that night and still does. It’s a privilege to be his dad.
How do you plan on celebrating Father’s Day this year?
Eddie: We’ll be making the most of the first week of Spring and getting the family together to spoil Brookie. It will no doubt consist of firing up the pizza oven for a day of great food & drink around the pool with the family and maybe even cracking open a cask of our aging whisky in the afternoon to enjoy and share with the family.
Eddie, tell us about the cocktail you’ve made, what is its significance to your relationship?
Let’s just say this was a story of one too many! I am fairly notorious in the family for making cocktails at family get-togethers, and this one fateful New Year’s Eve I introduced Brookie to a Southside and let’s just say ‘he took to it like a duck to water’. Dad quenched his thirst and the Frank Sinatra renditions sung later that night will go down in folklore. So, what better time to bring this cocktail back to life on Father’s Day. This time around I’ve added an extra splash of soda (which may slow him down this time) to bring you the Southside Spritz.
The Southside Spritz
The recipe is a tall version of a classic cocktail called a Southside, essentially a Mojito substituting Gin for Rum.
45ml Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin
30ml Fresh squeezed lime juice
20ml Sugar syrup
6-8 mint leaves
Fill a tall glass with ice and add in your Brookie’s, Lime juice, sugar syrup and mint (to get the flavour out of the mint, squash in your fingertips before adding) then give it a good stir up with a spoon. Top with a splash of soda and garnish with some fresh mint and enjoy!