From what is gin, to how to make the perfect G&T and some favourite local gins, I have put together all the finer details.
So grab that G&T and get reading …
What is gin:
Gin is a clear alcoholic spirit made from grain or malt which is then redistilled with botanicals.
What are botanicals:
Botanicals are the natural ingredients used to flavour gin. It can be fruits, seeds, spices, berries, nuts or even herbs.
How is gin made:
There are two steps to making gin:
- You make/buy a neutral base spirit (like vodka).
- Then you flavour it with juniper berries and other botanicals.
What types of gin are there:
Gin is classified in three ways:
- Production – how the gin is distilled.
- Region – the area where it is distilled.
- Flavour – the different botanicals added in the distillery process.
How to do a gin tasting:
Just like doing a wine tasting, you can do a gin tasting. You first start off by appreciating the aroma – take a slow, gentle sniff and allow your nose to acclimatise to the alcohol. Then you taste the gin at room temperature by swilling it around in your mouth to explore the different flavour elements. To release the flavours of the different botanicals within the gin, you can add a splash of cold water or a block ice before sipping and swishing it around in your mouth.
Local gins you have to try:
Taking inspiration from our natural South African resources, our local gin industry has exploded with craft distillers bringing a new world of interesting and delicious gins. There are over 93 different local craft gins on the market but in this post I will be sharing six favourites with you:
Wilderer is an international renowned company that makes a range of spirits from grappa to schnapps and now also gin! This unique South African gin is carefully crafted from a special selection of fynbos botanicals, roots and spices. Available from www.wilderer.co.za for R295 (500ml bottle).
♥ MUSGRAVE PINK GIN
Musgrave makes two kinds of gin, but without any reason, my favourite is their pink gin. Not only is it absolutely beautiful (you know how much I love the colour pink) but it is truly delicious. The gin is infused with roseship and rosewater. Available from www.cybercellar.com for R475 (750ml bottle).
♥ CAPE TOWN ROOIBOS RED GIN
The Cape Town Gin Company make three different types of gin including a rooibos red gin. This gin is so unique and delicious because it is infused with organic, handpicked Rooibos. If there is ever a truly South African gin, this is it. You will taste juniper, orange peel and cinnamon flavours together with the slightly sweet and nutty flavour of Rooibos. Available from www.cybercellar.com for R379 (750ml bottle)
♥ SIX DOGS DISTILLERY BLUE GIN
This Karoo-based distillery has created magic with this gin! It goes from blue to pink when you add tonic to it! If that isn’t magic then I don’t know! There’s nothing harmful inside, its just a secret ingredient of blue pea flower, clitoria ternatea, which is responsible for the alkalinity and the blue colour of this gin! As soon as you add the tonic, which is more acidic, the magic happens! Available from www.cybercellar.com for R469 (750ml bottle).
♥ CLEMENGOLD GIN
This gin is beautiful flavoured with sweet and sun-ripened ClemenGold. You’ll pick up flavours of ClemenGold, orange eel, cinnamon, honey, ground almond, juniper berries, angelica and orris root. Available from www.citrusgin.co.za for R360 (500ml bottle).
♥ INVERROCHE GIN AMBER
This is an exquisite, handcrafted spirit that is double-distilled to reveal the intense characters of fynbos. It is truly delicious and one of my favourites! Available from www.cybercellar.com for R410 (750ml bottle).
In order to serve the perfect gin you need the following:
- good ice that doesn’t melt quickly
- tonic that isn’t highly flavoured,
- the right garnishes
- lemon zest because lemon zest enhances any gin.
The Gin Box
The Gin Box is South Africa’s very first craft gin club which delivers craft gin, local tonics, gourmet snacks to your door. For more information visit their website:www.theginbox.co.za.