In case you weren’t aware, drinking gin is now extremely popular among the chic and trendy, with new labels popping up, bars dedicated purely to the spirit and South Africa hosting their first ever gin festivals last month. The wine lands are now bang on trend and those exploring Stellenbosch wine route can now include a gin tasting to their itinerary
Blaauklippen wine estate offers visitors just about everything from various wine tastings, grappa and brandy tastings, restaurants and a Sunday market where you can sample all sorts of delicious foods and beverages. In December they took things one step further with the launch of their estate distilled gin label, Triple3Three.
As an avid gin supporter I was beyond excited to see the big sign outside their estate inviting patrons to taste their premium hand-crafted gin; I could not resist. The estate is very beautiful and the tasting venue which was revamped in 2014 is both tasteful and inviting. On a hot February afternoon the air-conditioned spirit tasting room was also a great relief. The three gins in their portfolio are offered in two ways; first on the rocks and then with tonic water to draw a comparison and showcase how tonic really is the ideal partner to gin.
The first gin tasted was the 100 % Juniper berry gin, inspired by the earliest recorded gin recipes; this will appeal to the purists. Next is the citrus infusion, which is enriched with citrus fruits grown on the farm and emits aromas of orange, lemon and juniper. The African botanicals gin represent 7 different botanicals of the Western Cape flora and are infused with liquorice, coriander, buchu, galangal root, rooibos, almonds and juniper berries.
Although I would happily drink all three, my favourite is definitely the 100% juniper. Gin and tonic will always remind me of my parents and growing up in the Natal heat. In summer, 4pm was always G&T time and I like to make it with a bit of fresh mint. Here is my recipe: Add the ice to a tall glass, add a few leaves of mint and muddle. Pour the gin over the ice and leave for 30 seconds before adding the tonic water. The mint adds even more crisp coolness to one of my absolute favourite drinks.
To find out more on the latest and greatest wine farms check out Kim’s blog: www.boutiquewinerytours.com
Photography courtesy Kim Rabe and Blaauklippen