Next in the limelight… Craft Gin!
We all know about Craft Beer. It’s taken the South African Beer industry by storm.
But now … we have beers cousin, Gin, following closely in beers footsteps and creeping into the craft limelight. The craft section of the gin industry has seen extensive innovation in recent years and is growing, both globally, and in South Africa.
The definition of craft gin is however itself a point of contention, with no clear definition. But the spirits industry seems to generally recognise gins which use hand-craftsmanship, are created in small batches, and which appeal to their heritage, as craft products.
Gin enthusiasts have started to see that just like wine and beer, there’s a ton of expertise, craftsmanship ad appreciation that’s gone into the creation of gin. With this, a new world of Craft gin is emerging.
Let’s go back to the basics first…
Gin is a neutral tasting spirit made from grain, re-distilled with botanicals and carries a noticeable juniper flavour. The distinctive aroma and flavour of juniper is what differentiates it from other spirits like vodka.
Because gin carries a neutral taste, this gives each distillery producing it a blank canvas from where to stem its flavour and aroma. Every gin, from each distillery is unique… Flavours range from liquorice and citrus to nutmeg, fynbos, and floral notes.
Over the years, Gin enthusiasts do so much more with the drink, than simply dousing it with tonic water. The connotations of being ‘an old woman’s drink’ are no longer … as more and more are enjoying it and finding new ways of drinking it.
In fact, moving further than the typical gin and tonic, we’ve also seen the emergence of crafted gin cocktails. Crafted cocktails are all the rage! The hand-crafted cocktail movement involves the use of fresh ingredients, home-made mixers and premium liquors.
The huge growth in popularity of gin can, to some point, be attributed to the craft gin industry. Small, boutique distilleries are popping up all over the world and this trend has certainly spread to South Africa too.
In South Africa, Inverroche Gin has made huge in-roads in the Craft Gin industry and in fact helped to spearhead the gin revolution. Inverroche is an independent distillery which lies on the Southern Shores of Africa. It is an elegant, crisp and complex gin created from a flavourful blend of African and traditional botanicals. Refreshing and dry on the pallet with juniper and citrus top notes followed by hints of spice. The subtle perfumed undertones of fynbos produce a lingering organic feel and a soft floral finish.
According to an article on the Food 24 website, there are now 13 local gin brands in South Africa. This clearly shows the trend of craft gin in South Africa is on the upswing with distilleries popping up in the Cape, KZN, Free State and Gauteng.
How to make the best Gin & Tonic ever
Everyone has their own ideas about how to make the perfect G&T, and a lot of it is probably down to personal taste – whether you’re going to go for Gordons, Beefeater or a wonderful new Craft Gin, lemon or lime…. But one thing is certain, there are a few basic rules to follow.
The perfect tipple should be 14 per cent ABV (alcohol by volume),
So, one part gin to two parts tonic.
Served in a large, wide glass, is the best way to appreciate the flavour.
Lots of ice! If the temperature of the drink is low, the carbon dioxide molecules which create the bubbles find it harder to escape, meaning your drink will stay fizzier, and more aromatic for longer.
If you’d like to read further about Craft Gins, have a look at Carrie Adams guide to the best craft gins to be found in South Africa.