South Africa is producing some impressive gins with a special focus on the rich bounty of Cape botanicals. Here are our top selections.
HOPE AFRICAN BOTANICAL GIN
This punchy gin is small batch distilled in copper pots and captures South Africa’s distinctive fynbos (vegetation found only on the southern tip of Africa). The gin is infused with eight botanicals including Albanian juniper berries; hand-picked organic kapokbos, a wild sweet rosemary originally used for medicinal purposes; and buchu, a small fragrant bush where the leaves contain all the oils and add blackcurrant notes. Bottled at 43% ABV. $99, Craft Gins Co
ELEPHANT LONDON DRY GIN
The native buchu plant features again, as does the Baobab fruit and African wormwood which are among the 14 native botanicals that frame Elephant London Dry Gin. The hand-crafted award-winning gin is inspired by elephant conservation. The bottles are custom made and sealed with a natural cork. Each batch name commemorates past great tuskers or elephants that Elephant Gin’s partners currently help to protect. Fifteen percent of the bottle profits are donated to the cause. Bottled at 45% ABV. $110, Le Maison du Whisky
SIX DOGS BLUE GIN
Six Dogs admittedly started as a hobby and is named after the family farm shed in Worcester where they housed their six dogs. The first copper still was custom designed and today, the range has expanded to five products and is exporting to 23 countries. The blue comes from blue pea flower which reflects the PH of the mix; as the more acidic tonic is added, the blue changes to a light pink. It’s a classic dry gin with floral characters of rose and lucerne. It’s a party gin, but try it as you like, in cocktails or just with tonic. Bottled at 43% ABV. $120, www.3sbrands.asia