#HighburyHearsYou – we at Cape Town Etc are passionate about getting local restaurants back and booming in business. As part of our #HighburyHearsYou initiative, we’re dishing out the deets on some incredible restaurants in and around town.
We love a good gin, don’t you? The Pesky Hobbit is the new kid on the block and we caught up with co-founder Blaine Smith in an exclusive one-on-one interview.
Here’s the inside scoop.
We all want to know: why the name?
This is a story you’ll have to hear over a neat Pesky at a corner bar. The name Pesky Hobbit lends itself to the nature of the times around the launch and a few individuals who made our launch as difficult as possible. The printing of the labels, the availability of the exact bottle we wanted, the cloudiness of the first batch and the first prohibition of alcohol announced by president Ramaphosa the night before our first orders went out, IT WAS A MISSION to get this product in the hands of gin lovers for the first time.
How do you maintain your proudly South African vibe and feel with your gin?
The botanicals in our gin are all sourced locally by our master distiller. We went with the tried and tested in terms of fynbos botanicals. So many craft gin pioneers who had gone before us had gotten it right and continue to do so, I guess what absolutely solidifies our Mzansi feel, scent and taste is the use of Buchu, a super ingredient only found in Southern Africa.
Our slogan; “SMALL BATCH GOODNESS BORN IN THE FACE ADVERSITY” is something that lends itself to the resilience of the South African people. The naysayers said we were nuts to launch an alcohol brand in a saturated and volatile market, today we sit with an award-winning gin available to buy in over 70 different outlets, we did that in 7 months.
What makes South African produced gin different form the rest of the world?
The use of fynbos botanicals undoubtedly. We have an entire floral kingdom within our very own borders, available for us to use and experiment with largely without too much red tape around the use thereof. It allows distillers and flavour creatives access to a whole new world of possibilities our international counterparts are surely envious of.
What is the best food or snacks to pair with your different gins?
Stick to the sweet, soy and ginger side of things, something like duck breast prepared with star anise, juniper and cinnamon goes really well! Those are all ingredients found in the gin already. A white Belgian chocolate oil and lavender creme brulee will satisfy those with a sweet tooth. Vanilla coated sweet potato and a parsnip puree also work!
How do Cape Town and its people inspire you or influence your gin making?
As we explain on the side of the bottle, we have a love for fine spirits. We’re allowed to like a more premium product down here. Why not when we’re fully capable of producing one? The spirit of Ubuntu shown by Capetonians for their own city during lockdown was second to none, the fact that we can call this place home and out our names on a product that was born here is big for us.
What are some exciting things you have coming up in the near future?
“Slow and Steady Wins the Race”. I really believe that, we know the Pesky Hobbit needs a sibling product, whether that’s another gin or not is something we’re figuring out at the moment. For now, it’s about introducing this flavour to as many South Africans as possible in the hope that they will love it as much as we do! Those who have sampled it overseas have come back with raving reviews and requests to export, so we’re trying to jump through all the hoops and over the hurdles to make that happen too. In the short term, keep an eye out on our social media platforms for the ‘Hobbit Hunt’ happening this Easter!
Featured pictures: Unsplash