With gin bars popping up across Cape Town it’s no surprise that artisan gin distilleries have arrived hot on the heels of the craft beer movement. Here’s where to taste ‘mother’s ruin’ in the Mother City (as Cape Town is called by locals).
Worldwide, the demand for premium gin is booming and Cape Town distilleries have been quick to hop on the mixology bandwagon with a range of artisan handcrafted gins.
Although Inverroche is distilled on the southern Cape coast a three-hour drive from the city, you’ll find this fragrant gin at top-notch bars across the city. Infused with indigenous fynbos it’s a true taste of the Cape.
Closer to home, the Inception gin from The Woodstock Gin Company is also getting attention from gin lovers and mixologists.
While the focus is often on small-batch producers, one of the most interesting gins to appear on bar counters this year has come from the drinks giant KWV.
First distilled from pure grape spirits, Cruxland gin is then distilled a second time in a copper pot still allowing the bespoke blend of aromatic botanicals to infuse with the spirit.
Those botanicals include the typical gin notes of juniper berries, aniseed, cardamom, almonds and lemon, with the addition of honey bush tea and rooibos for a touch of local flavour. It also includes one very special ingredient: Kalahari truffles.
These rare truffles grow in the arid Northern Cape province, forming after the first rains have fallen. As they grow a crack appears in the dry earth, a hint as to where they can be dug out. Hence the name, Cruxland.
It’s a smooth gin best suited to sipping, not mixing, with classic juniper notes that mellow into a lingering spicy sweetness.
Cape Town’s city centre is home to some of the best and busiest craft bars and lounges that offer anything from craft beers to speciliaty cocktails, and cater to a host of different tastes and moods.
In Park Road off Kloof Street lies the Casablanca-inspired Ricks Café Americain restaurant and bar. The 100-year-old Victorian building boasts numerous nooks and crannies where you can sip leisurely on a Casablanca cocktail or sprawl on a deck chair and enjoy the daily Happy Hour special.
If you’re looking for something a little livelier, The Dubliner in Long Street is the perfect spot for a night of entertainment. Cape Town’s first authentic Irish pub has Guinness and Kilkenny beer on tap and showcases live music every night of the week, making it a favourite amongst tourists.
Tucked away around the corner off Long Street is Julep. This cosy cocktail bar is a favourite amongst locals, as its location makes it a low-key venue that spins various genres of music until the early hours of the morning.
Further down Long Street is the yellow building that housesof Beerhouse, the bustling hub of all things beer, with 25 different draught beers on tap. For those who prefer their beer in a more laid back setting, Weinhaus & Beer Garden on Bree Street is more fitting, with a craft beer, wine and cocktail menu that can be enjoyed in their cosy cobblestoned courtyard.
Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar further down Bree Street is a must for any gin connoisseur and houses over 80 local and international varieties of quality gin and an extensive menu of gin-inspired cocktails.