One of my husband Eddie’s coworkers, Brandy W., had been excitedly telling us for months about her upcoming trip to South Africa. Brandy and her boyfriend would be visiting just around the past Christmas holidays. We knew there would be a safari, sightseeing, amazing landscapes, and Brandy’s Facebook was filled with pictures – but not just of wild animals.
There seems to be a very active cocktail culture in South Africa, and the pair took full advantage of it sipping drinks at the end of some of their days. I was somewhat surprised that she brought home a gift of gin – Eddie is a whisky fan – but even more surprised to learn that these interesting looking and sounding gins were distilled in South Africa as well. (Thanks again Brandy, for thinking of your friends at home!)
There were five “Flavoured” gins in the sampler pack, they are listed below with my notes on aroma and flavor. (I tasted them in an order of what appeared to be the least strongest flavor to the richest.) Below that are tasting notes and cocktail suggestions Ginny Fowl’s Founding Partner, Shane Douglas-Evans emailed over to me. I tried each alone, without tonic, but will be back to try in some of their cocktails.
1 – Resurrection Classic Gin
Classic aromas filled with juniper, as well as lemon zest, orange peel, lilac. The taste was classic as well, lots of juniper, and then a bit of white pepper, orange and licorice.
2 – Lemongrass, K. Lime Leaf and Fennel Gin
As the name suggests, lots of fresh lemonade, green grass, limeade, fennel and orange. On the palate I got that fresh citrus as well as a bit of mint. I thought this would do well in a Vesper, aka a Casino Royale, with vodka and Lillet Blanc.
3 – Chamomile and Bay Leaf
Sweet steeped Chamomile tea, black tea, green tea, and strawberry hard candy for a surprising finish on the nose; I had a Grappa with Chamomile and it was somewhat reminiscent of that. Interested to taste, the flavor was a lovely combination of sweet tea and green leaves, and that expected juniper.
4 – Wild Hibiscus and Naartjie
Rose in color, I got more sweet aromas and less burn than the others, with strawberry and raspberry candy, rose petals and cream. Another I was curious about what it would taste like I was rewarded with a sweet fruity start and then the surprise of bright juniper and spice, and then that fruit came back on the finish.
5 – Sipping Gin – Black Sesame and Cacao
The last gin in my sampler was bourbon like in color. I got espresso, toast, nuts, dark chocolate, dried dark berries and candied plums all on the nose, then the taste was filled with cognac, bourbon, tea, coffee, anise, dried fruits and berries. Definitely something to sip leisurely.
I did ask Shane if the gins are available in California to which he answered, “Sadly no they’re not available in the States. We would love to be able to do that but we are a really small artisanal gin producer, and looking to get an international distributor on board. We do contract gin through Deep South Distillery which is in Kommetjie, Cape Town.” So, as you read over these recipes keep them in mind for your current favorite gins…until we get Ginny Fowl here.
From Ginny Fowl
Classic Resurrection – Michelangelo Double Gold Medal 2018
A subtle, dry gin of eight botanicals, one of which is the Resurrection Herb. Pine and eucalyptus, adding forest freshness to juniper and spice. Food pairing, mushrooms, tomatoes, caperberries.
Hibiscus and Naartjie (Mandarin)
Surprisingly dry, with the sweet astringency of hibiscus and the unique citrus of naartjie. Great with light meals, salads, quiches etc. or any fruit based desserts.
Lemongrass, Lime Leaf and Fennel
Typically Asian style flavours appeal to a more savoury palate. Fresh and dry.
Excellent for food pairing with spicy foods or fatty foods like chorizo, salmon, sushi or cheeses.
Chamomile and Bay Leaf
Beautiful floral, honey nose with savoury back note. Gentle infusion that also works well in cocktails. The tonic accentuates the savoury note.
Perfect for afternoon G&Tea. Cucumber sandwiches, scones and fruit tarts.
Sipping Gin – Michelangelo Trophy for Most Innovative Spirit 2018
Rich warming flavours. Nuttiness from toasted Black Sesame, smooth mouth feel from the chocolate of Cacao, with the sweetness of orange zest.
This is the perfect digestif, instead of whiskey or brandy, it rounds off the meal nicely. A great alternative to a dessert wine especially for chocolate based desserts.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com