Standout South African Gin Brands – Locally Crafted & Distilled
It seems these days, everyone is drinking gin. And in South Africa, everyone seems to be making it. If you thought there were more South African gin brands than you can count, you’re almost right. Luckily, we’ve done the counting for you – here is a list of some of our favourite locally distilled South African gin.
Locally Distilled South African Gin
A Mari Ocean Gin
A Mari Ocean Gin is a partnership between ex-architect Niel du Toit and ex-copywriter Jess Henrich. A Mari translates as ‘from the sea’ in Latin. This unique gin is distilled with ocean water to enhance the botanical flavours, giving it a distinctively smooth finish and delicately balanced taste. Elegant and beautiful, A Mari has earned its reputation as a premium, award-winning gin.
Indian Ocean Gin: A Mari Indian Ocean Gin draws its inspiration from the East Coast of Africa. Inspired by the warm Indian Ocean and distilled with fragrant East African botanicals. Spicy and rich, this gin features Swahili Lime and Madagascan Pink Peppercorns. After distillation, it is infused with Chai which gives it its distinctive golden colour.
Atlantic Ocean Gin: A Mari Atlantic Ocean Gin draws its flavours from the West Coast of Cape Town. Inspired by the icy Atlantic Ocean and distilled with indigenous Cape coastal Fynbos
Black Meerkat Gin
Who wouldn’t love something with the name meerkat? It just sounds cool. Distilled in Cape Town, this gin is the project of two friends who wanted to do something different.
Black Mountain Gin
Black Mountain Gin is crafted in the Karoo, triple distilled by woodfire in a traditional Cape Postill. They produce two gins, Black Mountain Karoo Dry and
Black Mountain Karoo Flora, both of which scooped gold medals at the 2017 Michelangelo Awards. Pictured is their floral gin, which is infused with 13 botanicals including juniper, citrus zest, wild anise flowers, elderflowers, sweet thorn flowers and rose petals. We love the stylish label too.
Blind Tiger Gin
Founded in 2017 by Capetonian Keegan Cook, award winning Blind Tiger Gin has been recognised for its unique celebration of the craft gin spirit. In 2017, Blind Tiger won Gold Medals at both the International SIP AWARDS, held in California and The Gin Masters, held in London. Blind Tiger Gin is pot-stilled in South Africa and infused with juniper, coriander, angelica, passion flower and lemongrass. Small-batch crafted in KwaZulu-Natal and available nationwide, Blind Tiger is an extremely sessionable, easy-drinking gin that’s both appealing and complex, yet not overwhelming to the palate.
Bloedlemoen Handcrafted Gin
This delicious South African gin tastes exactly as it says on the packet, with an irresistible blood orange flavour jumping out of the bottle. We’re also big fans of the label, designed by another local design genius – Lorraine Loots.
Cape Town Gin Co.
Cape Town Gin Co. keeps it simple with their rooibos infused offering, as well as their classic London Dry- style. Their Classic Dry Gin is a well-made, carefully balanced spirit with rich botanicals dominated by Juniper, punchy citrus notes and a hint of herbs and wildflowers. Their Cape Town Rooibos Red Gin is infused with organic, handpicked Rooibos to extract the essence of this plant, indigenous to the Cederberg region of the Western Cape. The result is a unique and truly South African Gin, vibrantly red in colour with the distinctive taste of Rooibos.
ClemenGold Gin almost needs no introduction – all of the best parts of gin, infused with delicious Clemengold flavour. The essence of sunshine that the fruit imparts to this cosmopolitan gin is headily aromatic and upon raising your glass of gin for the first sip, a perfume of citrus draws you in. ClemenGold and orange peel, cinnamon, honey, ground almond, juniper berries, angelica and orris root, and coriander are macerated and vapour-infused to bring gin aficionados this smooth Classic Cape Dry style gin with subtle hints of citrus. We love!
Produced by liquor heavyweight KWV, Cruxland is infused with the rare Kalahari truffle as well rooibos and honeybush.
Distillery 031 Durban Dry Gin
There is no doubt that this Durban-proud distillery is making waves in the gin scene across the country. They experiment with a number of spirits but loyal fans seem to come back for their gin every time, their London Dry is particularly bold with the mix of botanicals resulting in a noticeably oily (but delicious) and rich palate.
Die Mas Kalahari Dry Gin
Die Mas has been producing wine for some time now but their recently-added range of gins fit right into their repertoire. They feature gins infused with naartjie, pomegranate and even the Kalahari truffle.
As the name suggests, this father-and-son distillery in Durbanville is producing simple, no-fuss gin, as well as rum and vodka.
Flowstone Wild African Botanicals Gin
Crafted in the Cradle of Humankind, Flowstone really makes the most of the incredible indigenous ingredients available. Their gin perfectly infuses marula, wild cucumber and bushwillow to create a deliciously unique South African gin.
Local wine heroes, Chris and Andrea Mullineux have teamed up with distilling whizzkid Jean-Baptiste Cristini to produce Geometric Gin – an ode to the Cape Floral Kingdom. Their dry gin is clean and refreshing with delicate notes of cardamom and citrus.
Ginny Fowl Gin
Ginny Fowl Gin introduces four cold infused bathtub method gins with food-driven flavours, and their London Dry Classic Resurrection gin. The flavours include Hibiscus and Naartjie, Lemongrass Kaffir lime leaf and Fennel, Chamomile and Bay leaf and a special Black Sesame, Cacao and Orange zest Sipping Gin, created to be enjoyed without tonic as a digestif, also in ‘ginish’ coffee or Dom Pedro.
Highlighting the science behind distilling, Ginologist has produced three distinctly flavoured gins – citrus, spice and floral – each as easy drinking and delicious as the next.
Hope on Hopkins
Probably one of the first distilleries to be making gin locally, Hope on Hopkins is based in Salt River and is run by Leigh Lisk and Lucy Beard – two ex-lawyers. Their flagship range includes a classic London Dry, the Salt River – an infusion of fynbos and kapokbos – and their Mediterranean – with olives, rosemary and basil. They also have a ‘tequila’ and a small-batch vodka.
Also one of the stalwart South African gin brands, Inverroche has become synonymous with great gin. Their Amber Gin, which has become one of their most iconic flavours, is infused with fynbos hand-picked from the aromatic blooms scattered along the dunes of the southern African coastal region. But their Classic and Verdant (and ode to local summer blooms) are equally delicious.
Also one of the early gin producers, Jorgensen’s makes the most of locally harvested juniper and allows it to shine in their iconic classic style.
MONKS is a dry gin, handcrafted and double-distilled in small batches using a hybrid artisanal still called ‘Jennifer’, named after Nic’s mother and of Nic’s own design. Expect intensely flavour-forward botanicals, nine of them hand-picked and many endemic to the area. Combine with crystal-clear mountain waters and the result is a rewarding one, featuring ripples of citrus, berries and Cape Buchu.
While MONKS makes no claims whatsoever as to the health benefits of their gins, the key ingredients in each make for interesting reading. Mysterium is infused with, among other things, the herb Sceletium, a natural mood enhancer sometimes referred to as the ‘pathway to the gods’. Medella features blueberries, farmed by the Lategans and well known as a vitamin-rich superfood high in antioxidants; while Mary Jane is endowed with hemp, widely accepted as a miracle plant. Make MONKS the magic ingredient in your next cocktail and experience a taste of something gratifyingly glorious.
With a strong British history, Musgrave does the English proud. Their flagship classic gin includes no less than 11 botanicals, but their pink offering has almost become their most popular – owing to its millennial pink hues.
New Harbour Distillery
With a striking, minimalist label, it’s hard to ignore this South African gin brand. We’re big fans of their spekboom gin, with a clean, crisp flavour.
Pienaar and Son
Run by the irrefutably cool André Pienaar, with the help of his father, Pienaar and Son has been around for two short years but has the maturity and ease of a much older business. He features two very unique gins; Empire – with citrus, cucumber, nutmeg and cardamom – and Orient – a heavily spiced mix of vanilla, rosemary, cinnamon, almonds, ginger and allspice.
Prohibition Gin – Silver Creek Distillery
Silver Creek Distillery, the folks that brought us moonshine, put their minds to making a clear craft gin in the New World style – fresh, crisp and happy; not too dry and infused with traditional botanicals of juniper, coriander, lemon, angelica and cinnamon. The resulting Prohibition Craft Gin, bottled at 43% alcohol, is a versatile spirit ideally suited to be further enhanced with botanicals, fresh fruit and herbs and good quality craft tonics. The Prohibition Pink Gin, also at 43%, is Silver Creek’s Craft Gin further infused with raspberries and blueberries, with a touch of hibiscus flowers and rose water. The result is a refreshing drink that is both aromatic, flavoursome and romantic.
Both new Prohibition Gins are sold in a distinctive traditional bottle, complete with finger-loop for easy carrying.
Six Dogs Distillery
Sitting on the fringe of the Karoo, it is almost guaranteed that Six Dogs is going to have some of the most locally-flavoured gin around. Their Karoo gin features Karoo Thorn flower and Wild Lavender as well as a medley of citrus including limes, Clemengold and lemon buchu, along with cassia, chamomile and angelica. Their Blue offering is a fun infusion of the Blue Pea flower that turns pink when mixed with good tonic.
Southern Cross Gin
Southern Cross Gin is a unique small-batch gin made with 21 Botanicals, triple distilled Pinotage and seawater from both the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Inspired by a love of Africa, all things nautical, intrigue for our Southern skies and travel.
Stretton’s London Dry Gin
Carrying the flame for the family name known for producing quality gin, their London Dry is a no-frills, tasty gin.
Sugarbird Cape Fynbos Gin
Inspired by the bird’s natural habitat, Sugar Bird, based in Cape Town, features a gin that is overwhelmingly floral. With notes of rooibos, honeybush, rose geranium and the Cape May Flower, this is the easiest drinking South African gin around.
The Old Packhouse Distillery
This range of crafty gins originates in Tzaneen. Yip, they’re distilling gin in Tzaneen. The Old Packhouse Distillery is producing three gins in their range, Blueberry Gin, Crystal Gin and a citrus-infused Valencia Gin. They even make a schnapps!
Time Anchor Distillery
Representing the Joburgers, Time Anchor Distillery produces a quality London Dry as well as their exciting Livingstone Botanics – a delicious infusion of fynbos honey, rose geranium, sour figs, rose hips and indigenous honeybush.
Triple Three Estate Distillery
Produced on the Blauwklippen Wine Estate, this juniper-forward gin is no shrinking violet. It’s punchy and refreshing and has become an instant classic South African gin.
The General’s Gin
With a gorgeous design and a striking name, The General’s Gin is bound to fit right in with your gin collection. The flavour of their flagship gin is balanced with fresh notes of lemon zest and candied orange peel, pine needles and black pepper and is mellowed out by earthy characters of fennel, dill, buchu and vanilla
Wilderer Fynbos Gin
Having been distilling grappa since 1995, the Wilderer team knows what they’re doing. Their fynbos gin is a perfect balance of fynbos botanicals, roots & spices, including wild dagga, honeybush, buchu and devil’s claw.
A quintessentially South African gin, Wixworth is artfully balanced, handcrafted and infused with six natural botanicals including juniper berries, coriander, cassia bark, angelica root and orange peel, Wixworth’s distinct, earthy flavour is emphasized by its signature use of Renosterbos. It is an exquisitely balanced, delicately fragranced gin that’s crisp and dry with hints of spice and zesty citrus notes. Enjoy the classic Wix & Tonic – Wixworth Gin and tonic water with a lime wheel over ice.
Woodstock Gin Co.
Known for their wine and beer-based gins, Woodstock Gin Co is anything but ordinary, they also offer a High Tea – infused with local rooibos – as well as a fine cask-aged gin.
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