You may have noticed that the humble G&T is having a serious moment, particularly here in South Africa. And, the great news is that this resurgence of this fabulous white spirit has also given birth to quite a few excellent local craft gins. Local gin lovers are distilling gin using all sorts of unique South African ingredients, including fynbos and rooibos, to create uniquely South African gin and flavours. So, next time you’re thinking about ordering a G&T ask for something local in your glass rather than just sticking to the big guys. Not sure what to ask for? Here are 5 must-try South African craft gins to try this summer.
Wilderer Fynbos Gin
The Wilderer Distillery began as SA’s first private grappa distillery in 1995 and recently they’ve added a rather impressive gin to their range. This flavourful gin is infused with 27 local plants including wild dagga, honeybush, buchu and devil’s claw, and is delicious when enjoyed with craft tonic water, a sprig of mint, cardamom and lemon.
Wilderer Gin is priced at R295 for a 500ml bottle – click here for more information.
By using a combination of Table Mountain and indigenous Western Cape Fynbos along with traditional gin botanicals, this new addition to the market has been crafted with a signature floral / rose-geranium flavour that is distinctive in nature and in style to Cape Town and the Western Cape. Created in conjunction with passionate distillers, Lucy and Leigh of Hope on Hopkins in Salt River, Jenever Montane offers a bold flavour, rich in floral and spicy notes with an undertone of citrus and a distinctively strong and delightful rose-water character. Flavours include Juniper, Angelica Root, Coriander, Lemon Peel, Rose Geranium, Cape May, Grains of Paradise, Grapefruit and Honeybush. Enjoy it with tonic water and slices of citrus (lemon / grapefruit) and a sprig of coriander.
Salt River Gin, Hope on Hopkins
This Salt River distillery produces a range of different gin varietals but our favourite is their Salt River Gin. This contemporary style gin brings South African flavours to the fore. Made using the London Dry one shot method, this gin is influenced by the distillery’s location based in the heart of the Western Cape: their Single Malt Vodka base is redistilled using a range of botanicals including juniper, hand picked kapokbos (or wild rosemary) and buchu from a farm on the Winterhoek Mountains as well as organic citrus peel from the Cederberg. Enjoy in a gin and tonic with a small slice of grapefruit and a sprig of thyme.
Inception Wine Based Gin, Woodstock Gin Co
This Cape Town distillery offers a variety of different gin options as well as their own tonic water! We love the Inception Wine Base gin – this full-bodied gin offers a slight hint of jasmine and coriander on the palate and avid gin drinkers will also pick up on light tones of buchu, rooibos and a hint of citrus. Drink it on its own or add a dash of light tonic water, gooseberries and rosemary or a slice of grapefruit for a superb South African G&T.
Cape Town Rooibos Red Gin, Cape Town Gin & Spirits Company
The Cape Town Gin & Spirits Company’s range of Gins are handcrafted in the Mother City to reflect the unique essence and biodiversity of the region. This truly South African rooibos infused gin from the Cape Town Gin Company combines the delicious flavour of rooibos with Juniper, orange peel and cinnamon flavours to offer a refreshingly sweet spirit. Enjoy it on ice as a ‘Sipping’ Gin, with tonic water, or with Rooibos Iced Tea as a long drink.