10 Local Gins to try in Cape Town
There’s a worldwide re-awakening, a revolution of the white spirit we know as gin and Cape Town is one of the leaders of this trend. Passionate locals are distilling gin using indigenous flora such as fynbos and rooibos to create gin that you’ll find nowhere else in the world. Here are 10 distillers giving this fine tipple a local flavour:
WOODSTOCK GIN CO
You’ll find this distillery at the Salt River Arcade where you can taste its fine variety of gins and even mix them with their own tonics made with indigenous herbs and lemon grass for a different flavour experience.
Set a few hours outside Cape Town near to the coastal town of Stilbaai, this distillery focuses on infusing its gin with the flora unique to this area. Mindful of nature’s role in its process, Inverroche gin is truly a little bit of Cape nature in a bottle.
Offering up a spicier flavour profile thanks to its focus on indigenous plants such as African ginger and cardamom, Musgrave takes its name from distiller Simone Musgrave’s grandfather who travelled by ship to Cape Town in 1949 to seek a new life for his family. Since the spirit of this distillery is one of adventure, it’s no surprise that it’s the only one to offer up a pink gin, so coloured thanks to the infusion of rose water.
HOPE ON HOPKINS
Set in industrial Salt River just outside the City Bowl, this distillery produces a range of different gins under its name. Bloedlemoen Gin, so named for its citrus notes taken from the blood orange, is the distillery’s newest product, introduced early in 2016. Its label was designed by local artist Lorraine Loots known for her miniature art, Paintings for Ants. Hope on Hopkins also offers a tour of the distillery by appointment.
TRIPLE 3 THREE
Made on the Blaauwklippen Wine Estate in Stellenbosch in a traditional copper pot still, this distillery offers a 100% juniper berry gin, a citrus infused version and one distilled through African herbs, including famed buchu, thereby achieving outstanding blackberry flavours.
KWV’s London Dry gin dubbed, Cruxland, offers up a very special flavour profile as it uses the Kalahari truffle, locally known as the N’abbas, as one of nine locals plants in its super premium offering. In fact, the truffle is what inspired the gin’s name “Crux” (Latin for cross) as hunting for it on the barren Kalahari landscape, one must look out for a telltale crack in the earth shaped as a cross, which indicates where a truffle may sit beneath the earth’s surface.
NEW HARBOUR DISTILLERY
It’s a healthy dose of science that has lead this local distillery to set up as both carbon neutral and the only one to offer a spekboom-infused gin. With a strong focus on education, New Harbour Distillery is a great place to learn more about the process of gin-making. Pay a visit to its gin lab in Woodstock for a tour and even to make your very own gin. But why stop there when you can also spend time learning how to create excellent gin cocktails with a master mixologist?
CAPE TOWN GIN CO
If there’s one thing that’s truly South African, it’s rooibos tea, known for its health-giving antioxidants and absolutely no caffeine. It’s why we’re so excited about the Cape Town Gin Company’s delectable rooibos-infused gin that offers up that distinctive red hue typical of this homegrown tea as well as its slightly sweet and earthy flavours.
Established in 1995, the Wilderer Distillery began as the country’s first private grappa distillery. Fast forward two decades and you’ll find that Wilderer is offering up not only excellent grappas, schnapps and other digestifs, but also an outstanding gin infused with no less than 27 local plants including wild dagga, honeybush, buchu and devil’s claw. In fact, so good is this gin that it was awarded gold at the Meininger International Spirits Awards in Germany in May 2016.
Out in Wellington sits a distillery with a reputation for creating excellent tipple of a wide variety, not least of which is its Jorgenson’s Gin. Distilled using the zest from six different citrus all produced in the area, and with a dominant flavour of juniper berries harvested from South Africa’s only juniper berry plantation, Jorgenson’s Gin is a fine example of why Cape Town is leading the way in artisanal spirit distillation.