The glamorous Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel was the setting for the inaugural South African Craft Gin Awards, presented by Checkers LiquorShop.
Over 110 gins from 50 local distilleries entered the competition, but it was only 26 stunning spirits that walked away with the coveted Double Gold Award. We picked 5 standout bottles that really impressed us:
Indlovu Gin – Elephant Dung Gin
The motto at Indlovu Gin is “Dare to think differently”, and their gin sure does require a daring approach. How do they make it? “The essential ingredients in Indlovu gin are derived from elephant dung that is washed and dried. The extracted botanicals are then infused into the gin, which provides unique African flavours.” With 15% of profits going back to the Africa Foundation to fund conservation, this is a drink for the animal-lovers.
For the more traditional gin-drinker, the Empire – a dry English-style gin – is a must-try. Distilled right in the heart of the Cape City Bowl, this gin is perfect for giving your G&T a sophisticated makeover.
SA musician J’Something definitely brings a different kind of something with his Jin Gin Tomato & Sweet Piquante Pepper gin. Boldly playing with flavours from the kitchen, this gin has a herbaceous foundation, with sweeter notes on the nose. We like it best mixed as a Bloody Mary, with plenty of hot sauce and a kick of celery.
Is marijuana in everything these days? Yes, it most certainly is. From “>pizza toppings, the much-loved herb now has its own spirit. Though perhaps not for everyone, Monks Mary Jane gin is definitely a talking piece, and the perfect gift for fans of the healing plant.
If your drinks shelf is missing something chic and striking, then this is the right gin for you. With notes of juniper, citrus and buchu leaves, this is a great gin to end off a long day.
The South African Craft Gin Awards is the largest gin competition in the country and the only dedicated competition for craft gin distillers in South Africa. Commenting on the awards, Roger Jorgensen said: “South African gin distillers are superb when they ace it, as they develop their own style and techniques. Given the plethora of wonderful botanicals here, it is no wonder that the Cape is the new gin capital of the world.”
On the future of the gin industry in South Africa, he added: “The future is bright and SA can be a global player; it has only just begun. Gin has been around for a long time and due to its versatile nature will not disappear overnight.”
The full list of Double Gold Award winners at the SA Craft Gin Awards 2019:A Mari Atlantic Ocean and A Mari Indian Ocean gins, Copper Republic African Dry and Copper Republic Rooibos & Grapefruit gins, Die Dröe Rooinek Dry Gin, Flowstone Bushwillow Gin, Geometric Classic Cape Dry Gin, Ginologist Spice Gin, Harmony Aloe Ferox Gin, Indlovu Gin – Elephant Dung Gin, Jin Gin Olive & Honey and Jin Gin Tomato & Sweet Piquante Pepper gins, Knut Hansen Dry Gin – a South African version of the German original, Lieben Sailor Lemon & Lime Gin, Magalies Lavender Gin, Monks Medella Blueberry Infused and Monks Mary Jane Hemp Infused gins, Nuy Legacy and Nuy Mastery gins, Old N1 African Dry and Old N1 Fijnbos Fields gins, Old Packhouse Moringa Gin, Pienaar & Son Empire and Pienaar & Son Orient gins, Smiths Elderflower Dry and Smiths Spiced Dry gins, Wild Rose Fynbos Gin