Waiheke Distilling Co is set on the ridge above Cowes Bay (formerly Pikau Bay). The distillery has been respectfully established to sit alongside and meld within structures that resonate the farming history of the area. Former pasture land has been painstakingly developed into a garden that exemplifies the botanical story of the product produced, bottled and served onsite.
Pikau means “to take care of”. Waiheke Distilling Co have the privilege of carefully crafting a botanical spirit in a sustainable and meaningful way. It is also our pleasure to welcome and take care of guests that may journey to the eastern end of Waiheke Island, and choose to spend some time with us or support us through online or cellar door style purchase.
Subtle in flavour, macadamia nuts provide a rich and creamy mouth feel and add a delicate texture to our crafted products
Intensely aromatic, cardamom is naturally sweet and spicy. We hand grind the seedpods to release the fragrance that features in our signature Spirit of Waiheke gin.
Pink peppercorns are in fact berries. Their addition to our London Dry gin provides a slightly sweet and aromatic twist on this traditional style. These berries are soft and delicate and are carefully handled to maximise their impact.
Juniper provides the primary aromatic component in gin. Bright and resinous, the juniper ‘berry’ is in fact a seed-cone from the coniferous juniper tree. We grow specimen juniper in our botanical garden however the bulk of our ‘berries’ are imported from Europe.
We grow coriander on our property and seasonally collect the seeds. Subtly spicey, and central to the flavour profile of our gins, coriander seeds add a complex nutty and slightly citrusy flavour once distilled.
NZ Giant Kelp
Overlooking the Hauraki Gulf, our Spirit of Waiheke gin has been crafted from dried NZ giant kelp, introducing a coastal and savoury influence to this signature product.
Hospitality Returns to Cowes Bay
Cowes Bay has a long history of being a destination for day trippers and leisure seekers. Visitors arrived in the 1800’s by steamer boats and summer sailing regattas were held.
In 1865 the first post office on the island was opened in the bay. From 1890 to the 1960’s the area was renowned for hospitality. Alongside the working farm, the area featured a beachside hotel, and a dance pavilion was built in 1906.
The hotel was destroyed by fire in 1960. The property continued to be run as a working farm and offered camping facilities. A new woolshed and shearing quarters were built. These buildings remain and continue to now be part of the Waiheke Distilling Co hospitality experience.
Botanicals are the heart and soul of our products, which is why we have invested, and continue to invest a huge amount of time and care to establish a spray free and bee friendly garden. The garden is a potpourri of wild flavour and botanical flourish to inspire our beverage offerings.
Established in 2019, the garden is a place to soak up the expansive views, wander, relax, and enjoy first hand the flavours that are embedded in our products and the ingredients and garnishes used in the making of our spirits and cocktails.
Standing proud on the property is a carving (Whakairo) from a macrocarpa log off the property. This carving, crafted by Nico Otero, symbolises the natural beauty of the surrounds and is testament to our privilege to be here.
The natural shape of the log represents the coastal lines of Waiheke Island and all the islands of the Hauraki Gulf. The background of the carving, painted blue, accentuates the whakairo with contrast and represents Tangaroa and Hinemoana (the gods of the sea).
The centre points of the spirals in the Takarangi design, which narrow to a point, represent the native Kaka birds of the area.
The internal design chosen for the inside of the Takarangi; Pakati - the notches and Haehae - the external lines in a "V" shape, represent the journeys of all the people who cross our path, making us who we are today and once again, connecting us all.