Six Local Gins to Try this Summer

By What’s on in Jo’burg

If you fancy yourself a fan of the burgeoning boutique gin movement sweeping across Gauteng, you’ll know that South African produced gins have been steaming ahead in leaps and bounds. There are a number of award-winning distillers tapping into our native botanicals and braving innovative distilling experimentation to present something uniquely South African. Benn van der Westhuizen shines a spotlight on some of the growing micro-batch distillers making waves right now in the local gin scene. Stay tuned for a follow-up feature showcasing our list of prime hotspots to enjoy gin in Gauteng.

Black Meerkat ‘Old Town’ Gin

Distillers Jayde Maasdorp and Mike Sayers ditched the shackles of the corporate world by tapping into their creativity and entrepreneurial ‘spirit’ (pun intended) to kickstart the unique Black Meerkat ‘Old Town’ Gin (44% ABV). The entire process of experimenting and securing botanicals, hitting stumbling blocks, and finally putting a cap onto this slick beauty lasted eleven months. And the result was worth the wait. What we get is a captivating combination of eleven botanicals distilled exclusively at the uber-chic New Harbour Distillery in Cape Town, using a unique range of organic and ethically sourced botanicals such as Pineapple Sage, Liquorice Root, Star Anise, Rose Geranium and Coriander. Sitting pretty with a robust 44% alcohol volume, the gin’s tasting profile kicks off with a fresh and flavourful zesty green feel furthered by the Sage, while the Aniseed and Liquorice components chorus along for a slightly sweet palate towards finish. Black Meerkat ‘Old Town’ Gin is currently the only Old Tom-style gin in the country, somewhat of a rarity for South Africa. For those not familiar with this niche varietal, Old Tom gin is a more versatile and slightly sweeter style of gin which will appeal to non-gin drinkers and fanatics alike. Maasdorp and Sayers cleverly renamed their gin ‘Old Town-style’ instead, perhaps an allusion to Woodstock, where the distillery is located.

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