South Africa’s glorious gins

There is nothing quite like coming home after work on a Friday night (or any night for that matter), taking your shoes off, and getting comfortable on the couch with a tall glass of something delicious. My poison is gin, and if you open my booze cupboard, that’s about all you will see (execpt for the one bottle of brandy my girlfriend drinks).

South Africa is home to a number of amazing distilleries located across the country that make an array of tasty and refreshing gins – lucky us! – making it easy as pie to find a decent bottle that really tingles my taste buds. Today I am going to take you on a gin journey, mentioning a few of my favourite bottles that I have tried, tested and loved, and others I have yet to have the pleasure of tasting:

1. High TeaWoodstock Gin Co., R250 (excl. VAT)


High Tea, made by Woodstock Gin Co., is a refreshingly complex gin that includes deliciously lingering undertones of rooibos and honeybush, both of which are added after distillation. According to their website you can ‘drink it on its own with a block of ice and slice of lemon, or add a dash of light tonic or sparkling water’. The unique South African flavours of the rooibos and honeybush make this delicious gin stand out in the crowd, as does it’s eye-catching and striking bottle.

Available on their website. 

2. Triple 3 Three Juniper Berry GinBlaauwklippen, R300


This beauty is incredibly fine! Made using ripe juniper berries, it boasts a broad array of aromas that include ‘fresh essential oil fragrances like menthol, eucalyptus, pine, cloves and lime are gently emphasised by whiffs of white pepper’. If that isn’t enough, those who choose to indulge in this white gin will additionally smell notes of vanilla and the floral scent of rose petals, both of which reflect the sweet juiciness juniper naturally carries.

Available on their website.

3. Salt River Gin, Hope On Hopkins, R419


This contemporary styled gin holds nothing back, bringing forward South Africa’s unique and wondrous flavours to ensure locals will relish every single sip. Salt River Gin is made using the London Dry one shot method, and is ‘influenced by [their] distillery’s location based in the heart of the Western Cape’.  Serving suggestion: mixed with tonic with a small slice of grapefruit and a sprig of thyme. Mmmm…

Buy your bottle from Yuppiechef. 

4. Small Batch Distilled Amber Handcrafted GinInverroche, R319.95


My favourite gin so far, Inverroche Amber Gin can be described as a lusciously complex gin which combines a fusion of flora from Africa with spices and berries from India and Europe. Amber – as I like to call her – has a number of earthy notes, all of which are balanced with fresh citrus and juniper top notes and is finished off with delicate floral notes – yum. It’s warm, brown colouring is a result of the tannin rich coastal botanicals. According to the website it is ‘Best enjoyed neat in a cognac snifter on lots of ice or in a generous balloon wine glass with tonic and a twist of orange zest’, however I love it in a tall glass with ginger ale, a slice of lime and (too much) ice.

Available at Makro. 

5. Fynbos Gin, Wilderer, R295


To finish off this post, I want to talk about Wilderer’s Fynbos Gin. This beauty is made using unique fynbos botanicals and clear spring water from the Franschhoek mountains, making it truly South African and truly special. Carefully crafted from a special selection of fynbos botanicals, and a number of roots and spices (some of which include: wild dagga, honeybush, buchu, and devil’s claw), every single sip makes me think about how incredible both our home and Mother Nature is – she makes all of this possible after all! What a babe.

Available on their website. 

Have you tried any of the gins mentioned above? Let me know which ones or which one is your absolute fave in the comments below

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Originally published: 20 June 2016 | Updated: 20 October 2017

6. Ginologist

With three amazing gins to choose from – floral, citrus and spice – this amazing South African gin company uses science to make nothing but the best gin.

All three of Ginologist’s bespoke gins were crafted through a number of experimental batches, each of which adhered to a sound scientific method that designs balances recipes that are complex enough for connoisseurs to enjoy but smooth enough for any gin lover to sip on.

Each of their gins provide the drinker with a refreshing, tasty option that can be mixed in a number of different ways – depending on how you like to drink them. You can find the tasting notes, nose, palate and a recipe for each of the gins (floral, citrus and spice) on their website.

7. The Gin Box, R650 per month

Every month, The Gin Box chooses one of SA’s finest small-batch craft gins and puts together a lovely box full of goodies to send out to their members.

Some of the goodies include a range of handpicked, quality products that suit the showcased gin chosen that month, as well as accompanying tasting notes from the distiller.

It’s good to note that the gins they chose are often exclusive bottles that are not available elsewhere.

Also, this month – being October – The Gin Box has gone pink in support of breast cancer, which is so amazing! You can buy your own box, here.

8. Sugarbird, R299

Sometimes I cannot believe how many amazing local gins we have right here on our doorstep. As a gin-lover through and though, I feel that this makes us so lucky.

Sugarbird gin is a floral gin, and is inspired by reawakening traditional gins popularity by simply roping in a distinctive Cape Town flavour.

Taking flight off the back of a recently unearthed world-class distilling culture, Sugarbird showcases not only the local distilling mastery, but indigenous ingredients and amazing creativity, both of which is continuously growing at the heart of this movement.

You can find Sugarbird’s lekker tasting notes and more information on their website, and you can buy a bottle on Yuppiechef’s website.

9. Musgrave Gin,

Available in white and pink, Musgrave gin is a new discovery for me. We bought a couple of small bottles for our wedding as favours for our mums and sisters, and paired them with Fitch & Leedes pink tonic water, but I am yet to try it out myself. However, I have heard nothing but good things.

Musgrave original crafted gin – white gin – is made using a whopping 11 botanicals and ‘is born our of the flavours and history of African and its ancient spice route’. With tasting notes that include cardamom, African ginger and grains of paradise, it can only taste like something truly spectacular.

Musgrave pink gin includes all 11 spices used in their original gin, but is toned down and less spicy, which allows the floral flavour of the rosehips use and the rose water to come through in all its glory. Delish!

This list is ever growing, so check back to find out more about our lekkerly local gins.

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  • Reply Cassie Lopez

    I had no idea that South Africa was so big on gin. I think I need a bottle of Amber. She sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    July 4, 2016 at 7:03 pm
    • Reply Claire Henderson

      Hey Cassie! Amber is my favorite gin and goes perfectly with the cold winter weather we are having right now. You’re welcome, and let me know if you ever get your hands on a bottle of Amber.

      July 19, 2016 at 8:52 am

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