“Ginthusiasts” in Cape Town will be spoiled for choice tomorrow – here are a few ideas to make sure the day does not pass unnoticed!
Just as the name suggests – tomorrow is a celebration of “all things gin”! WGD is celebrated on the 2nd Saturday of June, and our mission tomorrow is to head into the city to discover a new way of mixing or muddling this very trendy artisanal tipple.
A few years ago at Schiphol Airport (trust the Dutch to find fun cool ways to reinvent things), we found a man selling Hendricks Gin – here was the twist… you had to sit under an old fashioned hair dryer, you close your eyes and various flavors and smells start swimming around your head – cucumber, juniper berries and delicious aromatics, cardommon and spice – and just when you think this is as good as it gets – a small jet of pure gin vapour descends! OK – so we bought a bottle and are still experimenting with the best way to enjoy it!
We are in the middle of is a world wide gin revolution! Gin is the new hip and happening white spirit with boutique craft distilleries popping up everywhere – not surprisingly, Cape Town is leading the way.
Hope on Hopkins is found in the industrial fringe of Cape Town’s Salt River and was the first licensed gin distillery in the Mother City. They began with 2 stainless steel stills called Maude and Mildred. We know very little about how gin is made, but we believe that Hope on Hopkins starts with doing a triple distillation using barley, then distills a 4th time to allow the alcohol to infuse with botanicals… think back to our Hendricks hairdryer and the story of infusing flavors becomes easy to understand!
We are still learning to taste the nuances of gin, but we have been told that apart from juniper berries, we need to look for cardamon, ginger and spices, even basil rosemary and thyme – I am happy to look! Rooibos (red bush) – the quintessential aromatic local herbal tea is a wonderful way of infusing flavors of the Cape and making the gin feel so very local.
Hope on Hopkins is home not only to their own 3 home gins, but also a new vodka and a even a classic “tequila” Esperanza. They distill for a few other “labels” too!
Musgrave Gin – is also crafted at the Hope on Hopkins – Musgrave Gin comes either as their bold and spicy Signature 11 Botanicals or the exotic Pink Gin – infused with rose water for a whole different feel. We have been told that adding a few pink peppercorns and a sprig of thyme is a brilliant twist to the pink! Will try and report back! Musgrave Gin is partnering with a number of venues around town tomorrow: The Stack, The Silo, The Gin Bar and Seelan by Sundoo… Each will be serving a foxy unique Musgrave Gin inspired cocktail.
The Woodstock Gin Company is another gem on the outskirts of Cape Town. This micro distillery celebrates fynbos, rooibos, buchu and honey flavors of the western Cape. The “Inception” range of 3 gins is their signature or flagship – using local spring water and double distilled with (beer or wine base… really), infused with botanicals – these gins are delicious, different and worth adding to your collection!
OK, enough of the text book stuff… The other great thing about gin is that it is so unique and varied that it is the perfect foil to reinvent cocktails. The gin revolution has even spawned a generation of boutique tonics….
The old fashioned G&T made with Gordons Londron Dry Gin, a slice of lemon and a splash of tonic from the corner shop is now very uncool… Each new gin matches with your favourite craft tonic and …. Add… A twist of orange rind, or a shaving of cucumber, poured over ice and stirred with sprig of rosemary or thyme… No kidding!
Then there is new new science/art of the “mixologist”… Every bar in town has it’s own signature spin with a selection of gins as wide and varied as whiskies in Scotland!
Great news for us… We travel to Scotland next week, seeking adventures, fine food and fine malts – turns out the Scots, not wanting to be left behind by only offering whiskies, have turned their hand to artisinal gin too! We were recently gifted with our fist gin from Scotland, Makar Glasgow Gin! Delicious and herby and dry and… can’t wait to try more gins from Scotland!
Back to tomorrow and a few more events of WGD – Try making your own gin at The Gin Bar in Wale Street – or enjoy a guided tasting paired with… Gingerbread!
The President Hotel (a few hundred meters from home) is offering a limited edition craft gin cocktail menu, 30% of all day and 50% discount during gin hour 5-6 pm who knew there was a gin hour! Why only an hour?
Another legendary Cape Town watering hole is Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar, 219 Bree Street, offering a huge selection of craft gins from around the world.
Then there’s the tiny secret and well hidden Outrage of Modesty. A boutique spot found (if you know where to look) at 88 Shortmarket Street. They don’t need specials tomorrow as they are always full!
So, no sure where we will be enjoying WGD tomorrow, but we can’t wait to find new gems and crazy fun ways of enjoying this great spirit! Watch this space for winning cocktail recipes after tomorrow’s day out!