The Gin Capital of the World: Cape Town
The emergence of Gin in Cape Town has been so spectacular that it is now being earmarked as the Gin Capital of the World. You may ask why Cape Town? Well, Cape Town is home to the most diverse and unique botanical species in the world – Fynbos (Fine Bush), which is found no where else on earth. There are six floral ‘kingdoms’ in the world, and the Western Cape is one of them, being the smallest and most diverse. Table Mountain alone has more floral species on it than the whole of the United Kingdom! Local Gin distilleries have used these wild ingredients to their advantage, infusing incredible flavours from Fynbos botanicals such as Buchu to even the national flower, the King Protea.
Before moving to Cape Town, the thought of drinking Gin & Tonic often made me cringe with an image of a sunburnt Englishman (love you, poms!) sitting on a beach somewhere coming to mind. I found myself at the Secret Gin Bar with a group of friends with no other option than to order a gin.. This gin was like none I had ever tried before being full of incredible flavour which had me back at the bar ordering more in no time. This was the start of a new and special relationship, where I vowed to help remove the pink Englishman stigma attached to drinking Gin. In doing so, I’ve written the following guide on where to drink gin in Cape Town.
Woodstock has become a hotspot for Gin distilleries in Cape Town, with there being three worth a visit. My pick is the Woodstock Gin Co, where you can try four of their flavoursome beer and wine based Gins, which are paired with snacks. Make sure you try their ‘High Tea’ Gin, which has lingering native Rooibos and Honeybush flavours.
Another Woodstock favourite is the New Harbour Distillery, where a tasting of their Gin and Vodka is paired with delectable local chocolates. Perhaps the most South African Gin imaginable, is their King Protea Gin, where they have been able to master the ancient Khoisan technique of milking the national flower to enhance flavours.
Located 20 minutes from town on the beautiful Meerendal Wine Estate, is Durbanville Distillery – known for its production of Rum, Vodka and of course, Gin. Not only can you sample their unique spirits, but you can also browse the incredible African artwork on display in the gallery adjoining the entrance of the distillery.
If you’re willing to travel far and wide to try amazing Cape Gin, then look no further than Inverroche Distillery, located about 4 hours east of Cape Town in Stillbaai. Inverroche is perhaps the most well-known Gin in the Cape, which is no surprise that it is also the tastiest Gin I’ve ever tasted (think back to that faithful night at the Secret Gin Bar). My absolute favourite Gin to have is their Amber Gin, which has rich floral notes, as well as hints of Rooibos and toffee flavours coming through on each sip.
If you’ve had enough of tasting local Gins (impossible!) then Cape Town has you covered with two specialty Gin Bars where you can try Gin from all over the world. Located on vibey Bree St, is Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar where it feels as though you are at a cozy house party rather than at a bar. Try one of their 82 varieties of Gin, with their Gin cocktails all being worth the extra coin. Perhaps my favourite hang out in Cape Town, however, is the Secret Gin Bar, hidden behind Honest Chocolate Cafe on Wale St. Walk through the cafe where you are met with a Mediterranean inspired courtyard hidden from street view.
Due to the quality of Gin in Cape Town, it was an absolute no brainer to open up a Gin tour which gives visitors an insight into the unique scene happening here. The Gin Jol visits three Gin distilleries and finishes off with a drink at the fabled Secret Gin Bar in town – book now!
Written by Kiff Kombi Tours