It’s no secret that Cape Town and the Western Cape as a whole love a good G&T, and as the trend continues to grow new creations are springing up every day; now, an especially interesting collaboration in Mossel Bay will produce a new kind of GINius.
Protea Hotel by Marriott Mossel Bay and Inverroche Distillery have come together to open Mossel Bay’s very first “gin school”, an experience set to delight both guests booked into the hotel and locals across the Garden Route, as well as visitors from further afield. ‘Students’ will concoct their very own craft gins along with learning the ins and outs of the process, as well as taste superb gins from top artisanal labels.
The Gin School is being run in association with the hotel’s already iconic The Café Gannet restaurant, with the school itself having transformed what was previously the Ochre Conference Room into a new venue with a sophisticated warm ambience that enables patrons to sit bar-style, lounge on Chesterfield sofas or be seated in a traditional restaurant surround.
“This new venue really ups the offerings of both the hotel and Mossel Bay as a whole, with visitors now having the opportunity to craft their own personalised bottle of gin. They will also be able to sample gins from one of South African’s leading artisanal gin producers, while at the same time learning more about local fynbos,” explains Avukile Mabombo, Group Marketing Manager for Marriott’s International Regional Office.
Inverroche has become well-known for its signature gins, which incorporate flavours from the unique fynbos floral kingdom found only in the Western Cape. Therefore, to enhance the gin-making experience, a fynbos garden has also been established at the school so that visitors cannot only learn more about these plants but harvest leaves to use in their own gin creations.
The school will also teach guests about the history and origins of gins, along with Inverroche’s own, as well as the distilling process and how to create original gin from scratch. Classes are offered twice a day at either 10.30am or 3pm and can accommodate anywhere from one to 36 guests at a time.
Bookings for individuals can be made on the day, but booking in advance is recommended for larger groups.
Gin and food pairings are also offered daily here, and involve everything from light canapés to traditional South African or South African-inspired meals. Mabombo says, “Favourites already include lightly-smoked rooibos salmon nigiri, and ‘vetkoek’ with bobotie mince and a spekboom chutney.”
Situated halfway between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth and only a 20-minute drive from George Airport, the hotel itself also has much to offer. Originally built in 1846 and one of the oldest buildings in Mossel Bay, the landmark 38-roomed hotel nestles on the town’s shoreline overlooking Santos Bay beach and the harbour, with the majestic Outeniqua mountains as its backdrop.
Once known as The Post Office Tree Manor Hotel, the stone walls and Mediterranean-style buildings that make up the hotel form part of the Dias Museum complex, which – along with The Café Gannet seafood restaurant – is also home to the popular Blue Oyster cocktail bar.
“The new Gin School is now the cherry on the top of what has already become a very successful establishment,” says Mabombo, “and one that we believe will add enormous value to Mossel Bay as a town, offering an experience that previously could only be found in other centres elsewhere in South Africa.”
Pictures: Facebook/Café Gannet Restaurant