It was around this time last year where the sun started shining, the water got warmer, the nights got longer, the drinks got colder and the music got louder! We had such fun presenting our Gin Series 1.0 where we featured some local gems such as Autograph, Black Rose, Clemengold, Musgrave, Solo Aviator, Vale and Victoria Gin, so we thought it would be fitting to do another feature of some South Africa’s favourites!
After recently attending the Fitch & Leedes Gin and Tonic festival, we wanted to give you some ideas of how you can enliven your drinks when you are out or hosting your own Gin party right at home.
1. Be Creative
There are so many different ways to make a Gin cocktail, however when creating something you will truly enjoy it is fun to start with your favourite ‘flavourings’
Watermelon | Peaches | Blueberry | Cranberry | Blackberry | Strawberry | Orange | Melon | Grapes | Grapefruit | Raspberry | Apple | Pear | Lemon | Pineapple | Mango | Kiwi | Passionfruit | Lemon | Lime
Cucumber | Celery | Olive
Rosemary | Mint | Thyme | Chamomile | Lavender | Lemongrass | Basil | Sage
Ginger | Chilli | Coconut | Black Pepper | Cinnamon | Elderflower | Chocolate
2. Choosing The Perfect Gin A-Z
There is such a wide variety of Gins available on the market which makes it very difficult to choose which one to try, which is why we have chosen a select few that we have tasted and loved!
Our local Gins are of highest quality, so we think it is very important to support our local producers as much as possible! ‘Local is lekker, right?’
Below is a list of some of our favourite Gins in alphabetical order. (We simply could not choose a favourite after all the hard work that gets put into each bottle)
Belladona Night Shade – By West Coast Distiller
Belladonna Nightshade has a complex but well balanced flavour profile. The distillation process brings out a juniper forward profile, with subtle floral and citrus notes in the background.
The night shade berries are infused after distillation adding sweet and fruity tart flavours that sit right next to the juniper in a contemporary manner. These fresh, and slightly sweet, flavours linger in the mouth.
The colour reaction of this gin goes from a light violet/lilac colour when poured from the bottle, to a deep and striking pink when tonic is added. The colour reaction is due to the acidic PH levels of the tonic reacting with the more base levels of the infused berries. All natural, no additives, chemicals or colorants added.
Belladonna Night Shade is best enjoyed with a premium indian tonic, or in a large selection of cocktails. A gin sour cocktail is highly recommended, both for appearance and taste.
Cape Fynbos Gin
Quadruple distilled from the finest white grape spirits in small batches. Extensive fractional distillation produces a smooth base of the finest quality and purity.
This pure spirit is then infused with premium juniper berries and elements from 33 indigenous botanicals, sustainably hand harvested for their bark, roots, berries, flowers, stems, peels or leaves. Most of these botanicals are members of the fynbos group of plants for which the region is world famous.
These botanicals are macerated in the alcoholic base prior distillation to allow for optimal binding of the herbal aromas. Vapour-path extraction of flavours are then achieved by suspending the botanicals from the top of the kettle in a muslin bag.
Deep and complex herbal aromas with hints of orange essence, cloves and white pepper, honey and wild Fynbos all overlaying a perfectly smooth palate make this into a gin to treasure. Every bottle is hand bottled and labeled on site at the Paarl distillery.
Caspyn – By West Coast Distiller
Our West Coast Dry Gin is a refreshing and crisp gin with a citrus undertone. A total of 12 botanical’s are infused into this gorgeous gin, including three locally foraged fynbos; Rooibos, Honeybush and Pelargonium Citronellum.
The West Coast Dry Gin is easy on the palate and can be enjoyed neat, as a gin and tonic or in a variation of cocktails. See our recipes page for more info and options on how to best enjoy.
The unique design makes the bottle one of the most beautiful on the market. Decorated with an on-bottle organic print. The octopus inspired design creates a life-like magnification that wraps around the bottle, always adapting to different light and environment. Caspyn comes in a beautiful double box packaging so just unveiling your bottle is an experience itself!
Cruxland – By KWV
The indigenous inhabitants of the Kalahari tell of secret treasures in the sand; sent down in crackling bursts of power from the skies. With knowledge passed down from generation to generation, the nomadic people of the desert would look to the heavens, watching thunderclouds and setting out when lightning striked, searching for delicate, X-shaped cracks in the arid earth.
As it happens, these “treasures” are N’abbas; rare Kalahari desert truffles that burst from the ground when rain and autumn moisture cause them to swell. Rare even in their natural soil, these delicacies grow far apart and are hard to find without the help of a skilled N’abbas hunter.
KWV has revived these treasures of the earth, hand-crafting a small batch of premium gin from grape spirits infused with the exotic taste of the Kalahari truffle and 8 signature botanicals, unlocking unique characteristics resulting in an extra-smooth finish.
D’urban Scarlet Gin – By Distillery 031
The world’s first gin made with cascara (coffee cherries). It is South Africa’s most internationally awarded gin, having won gold medals in New York, London and San Francisco.
This exciting gin is crafted in small batches using cascara sourced from Beaver Creek Coffee Estate on the KZN South Coast. Cascara is the red, fleshy covering around the coffee bean, and adds subtle berry notes to our gin without being overpowering.
The name Distillery 031 was chosen in reference to Durban’s dialing code. To Andrew Durban is a place of eclectic energy, amazing people, and a climate that is ripe with creative opportunities, a place that he wholeheartedly calls home.
This unique city holds a gritty charm that reflects the authentic in all of us. Her down-to-earth beauty is familiar, yet still mesmerizing and manages to capture the collective energy of so many colourful cultures and individuals that live here.
Firmly rooted in Africa, the diversity of its population brings together a unique mash-up of music, traditions, foods and language, and the resulting fusion is a charisma and character that is hard to find anywhere else. The secret is that the city is filled with fascinating juxtapositions that complement each other and thrive in one of the most affable, all-year-round climates in the world.
Jenny – By Still 33 Distillery
Smooth essential oils from the Macadamia nuts allow for superior extraction of flavours from the other botanicals during distillation, including almond, grapefruit, coriander, pepper and a carefully selected blend of juniper berries from the Balkans, Bulgaria and Italy.
The Curtiss Aeroplane company manufactured the designated JN-4, but the common nickname was “Jenny” with an open-topped four appearing as a Y. The Jenny was the most prevalent bootlegger’s plane due to Army surplus sold to civilian pilots after World War I. It was difficult for authorities to catch bootleggers in the air between towns.
During the prohibition era, although it was not illegal to drink alcohol, the manufacture, sale and transportation of liquor was prohibited. This gave rise to the bootleg liquor industry. A period which made spirits such as gin, moonshine and rum popular for their use in cocktails as people passively fought the great social experiment which oppressed their freedom to celebrate with alcoholic beverages. 1933 marked the end of prohibition, and so, ’33 brought freedom to distillers across the United States. For us ’33 represents the spirit of challenging the establishment in the liquor industry.
And so, with a flair for all things vintage, the name Still 33 was born.
L-Gin – Lush, Crush and Plush
L-Gin Lush, a crisp, refreshing summer gin using our locally grown juniper, Granny Smith apples, and lemons. The other botanicals used in Lush includes, coriander, ginger and angelica.
L-Gin Crush, a wonderfully soft gin is created when locally grown juniper meets locally grown blueberry, lemon and indigenous salvia in the distillation process. Other botanicals for Crush include, African Striped pepper from Ghana, angelica and coriander.
L-Gin Plush, our twist on an African dry, is a warm full-bodied gin inspired by the many oak trees lining our farm roads in Elgin. We wanted to create a gin that can be enjoyed as a sipping gin in front of a warm fire in winter, and also as a refreshing gin cocktail in summer. Plush is a juniper and citrus forward gin, matured in oak after distillation to create a smooth full body gin with a rich oak colour.
L-Gin handcrafted gin started in July 2018 by three good friends who live in Elgin and love gin. We were inspired by the sumptuous fruit growing in the Elgin valley and the abundance of oak trees that line many farm roads. To celebrate our valley, we wanted to create artisanal spirits that “distil” the essence of our Elgin valley into unique gin.
Through small batch distillation our long-term dream of Elgin inspired gin became a reality and a celebration of friendship.
The antioxidants in juniper, blueberries, and cell repairing agents of apples, make us believe that
never before has drinking gin been more anti-aGINg.
Pin0 & Pelargonium – By Sugarbird
When you’re all about innovation, you don’t follow trends blindly, you want to create them. We didn’t create pink gin for no good reason.
It had to have purpose and represent the soul of Sugarbird. Enter Pino & Pelargonium. A gin that celebrates two of South Africa’s most famous botanicals: Pinotage, a globally-loved SA grape varietal; and Pelargonium, a Fynbos plant that’s known around the world as Rose Geranium.
Top notes of rose geranium balanced in layers with lemon, mint and pine-like juniper. Pelargonium gives you a sweet, floral flavour, while pinotage adds a striking and vibrant colour.
The female sugarbird is the dusty copper-brown, long-tailed songbird, inherent to the regions where we source our gin’s floral ingredient profile. The sugarbird can be found roaming constantly in search of perfect nectar, her long feathers flitting between protea and fynbos buds. Graceful, unassuming, she is the diligent hustler of the plant kingdom and our ideal ambassador for a gin with ambition and entrepreneurial spirit.
Rose Water Gin – By Wilderer
The Rose Water Gin is as fresh and floral as a breath of spring air. The distiller carefully infuses fresh rose petals along with juniper, cinnamon, cardamom and many more botanicals to naturally recreate Turkish Delight.
Expect a well-balanced and subtle rose flavour with a complex background of juniper and spice. Even before its release, the Rose Water Gin immediately won two gold medals – a testament to the Wilderer standard.
Helmut Wilderer, a German restaurateur, decided to leave the industry and founded Wilderer Distillery in January 1995 – South Africa’s first private grappa distillery.
Today, Wilderer is one of the most prestigious producers of Grappa, Eaux de Vie and Gin worldwide.
Six Dogs – Blue and Karoo
It derives its name from the Blue Pea flower (Clitoria Ternatea), an antioxidant and aphrodisiac in traditional medicine. As chance would have it, ‘Blue’ is also the name of the smallest dog in our pack of six.
The infusion of Blue Pea gives the Gin its striking blue colour. The alchemy of this unusual botanical is further revealed when the Gin is mixed with a good tonic, changing the colour to light pink.
Six Dogs Blue is the most royal of Gins. A party Gin. A touch of magic. A classic dry Gin with experiences of freshly cut lucerne over hand-picked and morning-harvested Rose Pelargonium.
Not for the timid, Blue is a Gin to inspire the novel you never got around to writing, to bring out a little of the sinner and singer in you and to raise in a toast at the end of a hard-fought battle.
A delicate and balanced Gin of twelve select botanicals. Its distinguishing botanicals are grown on their farm, which intersects three different bioregions including the Succulent Karoo.
It is from here that we gather the Karoo Thorn flower and also Wild Lavender that make our Gin unique amongst all the Gins in the world. Sip it and you will pick up the paired notes of Juniper and Wild Lavender that introduce the Karoo.
What follows is a fresh medley of citrus, including Limes, Mandarins as well as farm grown Lemon Buchu. Cassia, Chamomile and Angelica bind the heart of the Gin while the delicate flower of the Acacia Thorn adds a top note of soft sweetness.
The Tempest Gin – By Bartinney
This citrus-forward gin bursts open with nostalgic nartjie peel notes that is underpinned by subtle juniper and distinct herbal aromas. The rosemary component reminds of pine and lemon-thyme while the African wormwood provides an earthiness to the nose. Buchu aromas evoke the sensation of walking through a dry veldt. Sweet, full-bodied, and balanced, this soft gin speaks of superior quality.
The freshly harvested botanicals give the gin its ‘ cloudy’ appearance, this is from the Essence and also the Turpines that will remind you of The Tempest meaning storm.
Each Tempest season has a unique smell that echoes the season in which it was made.
Bartinney is a WWF Conservation Champion and all the botanicals that are harvested are done so sustainably in order to keep the biodiversity of the farm alive.
Autumn, Winter, Spring, Summer. Whilst enjoying a glass of wine and gazing at the unrivalled views of the Banhoek Valley, wine estate owner Rose Jordaan decided that her new venture should describe the richness and beauty of what the Cape of Storms is. Hence, the name for The Tempest Gin is derived from the latin term tempus meaning time & season and tempestas meaning a violent windstorm frequently accompanied by rain, snow or hail. The Tempest Gin indeed is The Signature of the Seasons and the embodiment of //Hui !Gaeb, the Khoi name of Cape Town meaning ‘where the clouds gather’. The Tempest Gin embodies the dramatic nature of the Cape of Storms, and the abundance and diversity of the richest floral kingdom on earth – the Cape Floral Kingdom.
3. Which Mixer To Go For
It is all about balancing out your Gin with the various flavors you add when it comes to your mixer. If you are going for a sweeter gin, go with some herbs and a lighter tasting tonic.
We suggest experiencing the various flavors of the Gin itself, by tasting it neat before choosing which additions to add.
Tonic | Juice | Water | Soda | Kombucha
Fill 3/4 with Ice
50ml Caspyn West Coast Dry Gin
25ml Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
15ml Sugar Syrup
1x Egg white (or foaming bitters)
Shake well and pour into a glass with a lemon zest.
Snow Bush Sour
60ml The Tempest Autumn Gin
20ml fresh lemon juice
15ml snow bush syrup (see recipe below)
1 egg white (optional)
Shake together with ice, remove the ice and shake some more for extra foam if using egg white.
Snow Bush Syrup: Simmer ½ cup water, ½ cup sugar and 2 tbsp. dried snow bush for 5 minutes, let it cool down and then infuse and lastly, strain.
Strawberry & Pepper Cocktail
50 mL of Wilderer Fynbos Gin
Two strawberries, halved
A generous pinch of pink and whole black peppercorns
Fill the glass with ice
200 ml of choice tonic water
Double tot of Jenny Macadamia Nut Gin
Fresh strawberry slices
Fresh coconut shavings
A drop of vanilla syrup
Indian Tonic water
Scarlet G ‘n T
50 ml D’Urban Scarlet Gin
1/2 can Chinchona Tonic Water
1/2 can Pura Cranberry Soda
Edible flowers to garnish
The Kalahari Summer
60 ml Cruxland Gin
25 ml fresh passion fruit juice
2 bar spoons passion fruit pulp
2 bar spoons fabri cherry syrup
25 ml fresh lemon juice
1 bar spoon Hibiscus syrup
1 Fabris Amarena Cherry
1 Hibiscus flower
Passion fruit pulp
2 small cocktail straws
50ml L-Gin Lush gin
Sliced green apple
Lemon or lime
Vanilla Bean & Pear
1 Fresh Vanilla pod, extracted vanilla beans or a splash vanilla essence
1 cup of Ginger beer
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 Cinnamon sticks
Fresh or canned pears (as garnish)
Canned pears syrup or a simple syrup (to taste)
4 tots Sugarbird gin
Where To Purchase The Gins
We advise that if you are looking for a specific one, to click on the link below the feature and see where they are selling their gins. However, most of these items are stocked in various bottle stores, restaurants, festivals and markets, where you can go and taste them and find which one you love!
If you would like any more information or to get into contact with the various companies please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: autograph, bartinney, belladonna, black rose, caspyn, clemengold, craft, cruxland, distillery, durban, g&t, Gin, gin and tonic, jenny, kwv, l-gin, local, musgrave, six dogs, solo aviator, tempest, vale, victorias, wilderer