The Kinnie Club


In the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, lost somewhere between the Hollywood set of Troy and Homer’s erotic tale of Calypso and Ulysses lies a picturesque archipelago of islands. Malta. These islands have been forgotten by time and bask in the never ending golden sun. Amongst the three main islands the population is no more than 400,000 inhabitants. I boarded a plane when I was three, along with my parents and came to live a better life in Australia. Yet, I have never really left the land of pastizzi, churches and Kinnie. While, I have only been back to Malta twice, on some days it feels like I have never left at all.

Kinnie, Ramla Bay

Malta is at the core of my identity. I love being Australian, and nothing will ever change that. But during the cold, bitter winter days that plague Melbourne, I do think about the crystal clear waters of the Blue Lagoon and how amazing hot chips taste after a swim at Ramla Bay. Long lazy siestas, hot summer nights. Just to close my eyes and be there, again.

Kinnie, Blue Lagoon

Yet, the seasons always change and while I spend the winter longing for summer, I am never disappointed. Summer always comes. With summer comes Kinnie and nothing goes down better on a hot day than Kinnie.

Kinnie is by far Malta’s favourite drink and more importantly, my favourite drink. By definition, Kinnie is a unique tasting, alcohol-free, refreshing beverage. Its golden amber colour, and the fact that it is made from bitter oranges and a variety of aromatic herbs, give this beverage a bitter taste which is an excellent thirst quencher. This drink is ideal on its own, particularly with a slice of orange. It also mixes excellently with a number of alcoholic drinks and cocktails.  But Kinnie is more than just a drink. It is part of my chain.


My cousins and I, we are The Kinnie Club. While we may all be individual squares that make up the crazy old crochet quilt we call our family – made from mismatched colours and left over balls of wool – we are still, just one, big quilt. We can laugh at each other, drive each other crazy, love each other blindly and disagree on almost everything.

Yet there is something distant in all of us that make us the same. Maybe it is the same sacrifice of our parents. Maybe it is the same responsibility of taking old, established traditions forward with our own children. Maybe it is as simple as having a weird obsession to clean our concrete driveways! I do know, that when I’m craving a Kinnie, there’s a good chance, one of my cousin’s is craving one too!


Some would say that the Kinnie tastes better in Malta. I don’t know why, but I think Kinnie tastes perfect – regardless where I happen to be while drinking one.

Do you have a favourite drink? What ties keep your family together?

  • Jacana

    In summer out family will sit down to lemon, lime and bitters. It is what we also have during Christmas Lunch. So refreshing. So yes, I guess lemon, lime and bitters is the drink that ties our family together.
    This Kinnie of yours sound like it is worth a tast test though. I have never heard of it.

  • LydiaCLee

    I want to visit Malta, I had a client with a map of the bus routes, every line over the island a different colour, and he explained the buses were painted the colour that they were on the map, so people knew what bus to get to go where. The appeal these rainbow buses was enough to make me want to see it for myself. Maybe one day soon….

  • Leanne Shea Langdown

    Malta looks stunningly gorgeous!
    My favourite drink (believe it or not) is water. Fresh from my parent’s water tank on the farm. My grandmother had one similar. Nothing beats rain water (except perhaps for Kinnie!)

  • Emily

    What a gorgeous place to grow up in. Growing up on a farm the best drink possible was our tap water, like Leanne, nothing beats fresh tank rain water! Now I’m more of a white white girl! Emily @ Have a laugh on me

  • Not sure that I have a favourite drink. Some nights it’s bubbly, some nights it’s white wine, some nights it’s a mojito!…hmmm, seeing a pattern here…all alcoholic!! Why did your parents choose Australia? I’m always curious as to how people end up where they do!

    • It was a choice between Canada or Australia – in the end, Fate made the decision for them xx

  • Loree

    Well, for obvious reasons, mine happens to be Kinnie too. Kinnie Zest to be exact – with more bitter oranges – it is really good.

  • Rebecca Thompson

    I love Malta! When i was 18 I went to Europe for a year….I have no idea why, but I decided I would go to Malta (a very hard task as no one knew where it was). I managed to get there in the end, found a job and ended up there for a couple of months. I really wish to go back, although i know the second time never quite lives up to the first experience.
    I was too busy drinking alcoholic beverages (I worked in 2 pubs) to notice Kinnie. Next time maybe?
    Becc @ Take Charge Now via #ibot

    • Hope it was a few months in summer, not winter Rebecca xx

      • Rebecca Thompson

        Oh yes – I dislike winter anywhere in the world 🙂

  • Anita B

    It’s a small world, I also migrated to Australia with my family when I was three. And we still all love Kinnie!

  • I love this post. I love reading about your connection to your family. Other than being very close to my father (my mother passed away almost 10 years ago) I really don’t have that.

  • Rita

    Another beautiful post Josefa! In cold Melburnian evening, I like to make myself a nice cup of cocoa. That reminds me winter in Montreal and my parents house where my mum use to make us this drink to warm us up when it was too cold outside. Love to visit Malta one day…

  • I have never heard of Kinnie, but now I really want to try it. Where do you buy it?
    Also didnt realise you were from Malta Josefa! I love your family spirit though; it’s something we have never had

    • Kinnie can be a hard thing to come by! My mother is the unofficial distributor – so many people ask her to buy it for them!

  • Sophie Allen

    Now I want to try that too! I just love that gorgeous blue water, how divine must it be to jump into that on a hot day. I admire your close connection with your family, we used to be really close with our cousins, after they moved away that same connection was just never there.

    • Nothing beats that water Sophie, I’ve been to many beaches and nothing has come close yet xx

  • Kirsty @ My Home Truths

    My uncle is from Malta too and made the trek to Australia with his family when he was a boy. I have always longed to go there, it looks so blue and inviting and beautiful – maybe that’s why I always have a soft spot for Malta in Eurovision!

  • Kaz @ MeltingMoments

    Oh, you have me dreaming of far away places. You sound very proud of your heritage. I’d love to try Kinnie too 🙂 Kaz

  • Gorgeous pictures Josefa. Malta has long been on my list of places to visit. Somehow I always end up back in Italy. It’s not far away… I’ll push on next time, just for the Kinnie!

  • Catherine RodieBlagg

    I haven’t made it to malta yet, but would love to visit one day. It looks beautiful. In my family we drink a lot of tea 🙂

  • I have never heard of this drink, but it sounds interesting. I spend too many years in the UK and the thing I missed the most was Cottees red cordial! I didn’t realise that you were from Malta.

  • Rhianna

    I haven’t been to Malta, I have listened enviously though as my family in England regularly skips over their for a bit of a break. Kinnie sounds lovely as does your description of odd bits of wall forming together to make the family quilt>

  • Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo

    Malta was on my list of places to visit. Perhaps I should console myself with some Kinnie?

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