I’m loving all these international day things – such a good excuse to drink something delicious! And what is more delicious than a refreshing gin paired with tonic, fruit juice or something else yummy? Gin is a drink on the up at the moment with plenty of craft spirits being distilled using all kinds of weird and unusual ingredients.
Essentially, all gin has to taste of Juniper berries above all else – they taste kind of pine-y and citrusy – but what makes each gin unique is the combination of other ingredients. Most add lemon and orange peel, angelica root and coriander but after that – the options are endless. Here are a few local gins, doing something different and Proudly South African for World Gin Day. Prices either cellar door or www.port2port.co.za
1. Woodstock Gin Company High Tea Gin (R290)
Based in – you’ll never guess – Woodstock, this distillery makes several different gins and unusually, it differentiates between them not just on the botanicals added, but also on the raw ingredient of the base spirit. This one is based on wine and has rooibos and honeybush flavours added after distillation.
2. Jorgensen’s Gin (R300)
Roger Jorgensen is a truly passionate advocate for all his spirits but it is probably the tales he tells about his gin which capture most imagination. He goes to extraordinary lengths to source the best botanicals for his gin, growing some himself, finding the only producers of juniper berries in South Africa, supporting a community upliftment project in Ghana. The result is a gin that not only tastes good, but does good too – a winning combination.
3. Inverroche Verdant Gin (R330)
Inverroche were probably the first company to actively market fynbos in their gins and this one is one of the most popular. It says ‘based on Cape Fynbos Botanicals’ and this is a very floral gin with lots of delicate aromas and scents and a refreshing, almost sweet finish.
4. Hope on Hopkins Salt River Gin (R360)
Set up by ex-lawyers Lucy and Leigh, this distillery is also based just outside the CBD in Salt River. They make several spirits – not just gin – but this is a favourite, flavoured with local buchu and kapokbos or wild rosemary. Fragrant and herbaceous, it works well with other savoury elements such as herbs and olives.
5.Musgrave Pink Gin (R399)
A pink gin is really a cocktail, being a blend of gin and Angostura bitters, but here we have something different – a gin that is pink from the start! Distiller Simone Musgrave has added in rosehips and rosewater to give a delicate tint to the spirit and a lovely floral note as well. Fabulously-aromatic in cocktails and looks really pretty too!
You can also look for Cape Town Gin Company, Wilderers and KWV for more local examples of gin. Happy tasting!