Even though gin’s resurgence is a relatively new trend in South Africa, the comeback has been unforgettable and gin culture has evolved to a point where we now have an abundance of festivals, bars and distilleries around the country dedicated to tasting and celebrating gin.
South African distillers have done a masterful job of using their unique location and environment to their advantage. For example, in the Cape we see master distillers channelling fynbos and the Atlantic sea breeze in their distilling process. In the interior, distillers tend to hero the fertile soil and citrus of their home turf.
Each herb and botanical combines to create gin that is inherently unique no matter what you’re tasting. This just makes the culture even more exciting for gin fans who get to savour the nuances of a variety of premium sprits.
All4Women explores five South African gins and their inimitable characters:
1. Wixworth Gin and Renosterbos
Wixworth is a quintessential South African gin artfully balanced and distilled in small batches for maximum consistency. Handcrafted and infused with six natural botanicals including juniper berries, coriander, cassia bark, angelica root and orange peel, Wixworth’s unique earthy flavour is emphasized by Renosterbos.
Ingredients are sourced naturally and hand-picked to achieve a deliciously refreshing and distinctive flavour. The result is an exquisitely balanced, delicately fragranced gin that’s crisp and dry with hints of spice and zesty citrus notes. Enjoy the classic Wix & Tonic – Wixworth Gin and tonic water with a lime wheel over ice. Recommended retail price: R299.
2. Blind Tiger Gin pot-stilled in KZN
International award winning Blind Tiger Gin has been recognised for its unique celebration of the craft gin spirit. In 2017, Blind Tiger won Gold Medals at both the International SIP AWARDS, held in California and The Gin Masters, held in London.
Blind Tiger Gin was created from scratch by Capetonian Keegan Cook. Pot-stilled in KZN and infused with juniper, coriander, angelica, passion flower and lemongrass, it’s an extremely sessionable easy-drinking gin that’s both appealing and complex yet not overwhelming to the palate. Recommended retail price: R329.
3. Deep South Distillery – the most southern distillery in Africa
Opening their doors in late 2017, Deep South Distillery is about the furthest south you’ll find a spirit’s distillery. Founder Steve Erlank says, “Nevermind small batch, this is micro batch,” and he’s right. Each bottle of Cape Dry Gin or Ruby Gin is hand-crafted with love, care and pride ideally located near the fynbos-clad mountains.
Next time you find yourself down south pay them a visit at the distillery in Kommetjie and enjoy a tour and tasting for R60. Recommended retail price: R330.
4. Musgrave Pink Gin’s colour
Created by Simone Musgrave, Musgrave Pink Gin was one of South Africa’s first craft gins. All cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger, this gin’s distinctive pink colour draws you in. Musgrave Pink Gin offers premium quality, a light and aromatic flavour and elegant design.
Distilled with Musgrave’s signature 11 botanicals, and featuring top notes of cardamom, African ginger and grains of paradise, Musgrave Pink is softened by the addition of rosehips during the distillation process adding a subtle perfume and exotic flavour to the gin. Recommended retail price: R439.
5. Red Stone Craft Gin from Clarens
Straight out of Clarens in the Free State comes Red Stone Gin; it’s origin unique considering most of South Africa’s small-batch gin scene is happening in our urban centres. An authentic ‘orchard to bottle’ gin, Red Stone’s Stephan Meyer harvests, crushes and ferments apples nurtured in his orchard a stone’s throw from his distillery.
The rich, smooth, flavoured infusion of herbs and botanicals is a nod to the nearby Rooiberge, as is the colour of Red Stone Gin.