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
As the name suggests, Autograph Gin is all about signature style. And the style it signifies is African Dry – something the brand’s co-owner Anthony Norton and distiller, Matt Beech are championing.
The distinctive scent of juniper berries combined with refreshing citrus flavours underpin this superb African Dry Gin. Base notes of Angelica Root, overtones of fragrant coriander and hints of delicious artemisia afra, give this gin unique strength and unparalleled depth and warmth. Together this harmonious medley of unique Cape flora is the brand’s Autograph. The perfect serve – a double shot neat on the rocks. Or for the somewhat less adventurous, add a dash or two of tonic and garnish with the zest of soft citrus.
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. Their award-winning Black Meerkat Old Town Gin has been crafted using an Old Tom recipe and is an homage to Old Tom gin and Cape Town – hence old town.
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. They also scooped a Gold medal at the Wolrd Spirits Awards in San Fransisco in 2018. Blind Tiger Gin is pot-stilled in South Africa and infused with juniper, coriander, angelica, passion flower and lemongrass. Their latest addition is Blind Tiger Blue, a blend of Juniper, Angelica, Coriander, Blueberry & Elderflower. 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.
Distilled and bottled in the Cape, Cape Town Gin Co. gins celebrate the vibrant diversity and inspiring creative energy of Cape Town.
Inspired by the plant so steeped in heritage and healthful properties, the 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. It’s vibrantly red in colour with the distinctive taste of rooibos.
The Pink Lady Gin is a delightful Gin, distilled with Rose Geranium (Pelargonium), an indigenous multi-branched shrub, dried hibiscus flowers are ground to a powder and then added to the Gin to create the wonderful salmon pink colour and a heavenly hint of Rosewater is added to compliment the natural rose scent of the geranium plant.
The Cape Town Classic Dry gin pays homage to the gins first made centuries ago. Classic botanicals Juniper, dried orange peel, coriander, star anise, orris root, cardamom and cassia bark are used. Dried Rhino bush, a low growing plant indigenous and part of the Fynbos family is then added to the gin to create an African interpretation of a classic.
Cape Fynbos Gin
Cape Fynbos Gin is a small-batch distilled, premium, handcrafted gin distilled from the finest white spirits in small forty litre batches. This is infused with premium juniper berries and elements from more than 30 indigenous botanicals, sustainably hand-harvested for their bark, roots, berries, flowers, stems, peels or leaves. We just adore this pretty packaging.
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. We do love that leather bound neck.
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. They also now have a Scarlet Gin and a Barrel Aged gin too and a whole host of awesome awards proving that this KZN team know what their doing.
Die Mas Kalahari Dry Gin
Die Mas has been producing wine for some time now but their gin fits 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. They have three gins in their range that represent the flora of the area. The range consists of Bushwillow, Marula and Cucumber gins each crafted with a unique blend of botanicals to truly reflect the essence of the bushveld.
Distilling whizzkid Jean-Baptiste Cristini to produce Geometric Gin – an ode to the Cape Floral Kingdom. This Cape Dry Gin is clean and refreshing with delicate notes of cardamom, citrus and mountain fynbos.
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. Their Citrus gin has notes of lime, grapefruit and a hint of lemon. Their Spice Gin is a complex array of spice notes on the nose, led by the hard peppers and underpinned by cinnamon notes from the cassia bark. Their floral gin is a fragrant spirit with notes of rose geranium underpinned by pollen notes from Orange Blossom. 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.
The world’s first elephant dung gin! Yes, we’re not kidding. This exclusive gin is for the person who loves the spirit of Africa – the freedom, the sunsets, the textures and the flavours of the African bush. Elephant dung (full of African botanicals of course) is collected, extracted, cleansed and used in the distilling process, so essentially, elephants are the foragers – how unique! 15% of the profits of Ndlovu gin are donated to the Africa foundation to support wildlife conservation projects.
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 (an ode to local summer blooms) are equally delicious. Look out for their limited release gins that make great gifts for the avid gin collector.
Jin Gin is relatively new to the scene but sports three really unique flavours on the gin scene – Rooibos, Orange & Honey, Olive & Honey and Tomatoes and Sweet Piquante Peppers. Born out of a lot of passion (and a lot of tastings) these unusual gins are the perfect party accompaniment. The range’s creator is SA music and food talent J’Something and so the gins bring a blend of SA and Portuguese flavours to the mix.
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. Look out for their new Wild Rose Distillery gin too.
Misty Mountain Gin
Misty Mountains Estate is situated just outside Stanford in the Western Cape. Misty Mountains Distillery produces four handcrafted gins on the Estate. Dragonfly is their traditional gin with Butterfly, Firefly & Mayfly all flavoured with unique tastes and colours. They carefully select only the finest botanicals to make their gin with and triple distill their alcohol to ensure a smooth mouthfeel with every sip. Due to the small amounts produced each year, Misty Mountain gin is currently only available for sale in their Tasting Room. Visit us next time you’re driving down the R43.
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. They distell from their carbon-neutral distillery in Somerset West and create three unique gins with local flair – Maroela, Spekboom and Rooibos.
Pienaar and Son
Run by the irrefutably cool André Pienaar, with the help of his father, Pienaar and Son has been around for a few 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. Check out their new L’Agulhus gin too, with subtle hints of lemon and lavender with Wild Buchu (Cape May), Coriander and Honey Bush.
Strettons has three gin in their range – Double Cut, Original and Triple Berry. Double Cut has citrus and evergreen aromas on the nose that mingle seamlessly with fresh herbal notes. Original has a secret blend of ingredients, including juniper berry, coriander seed, acacia bark and orange peel. Triple Berry offers flavours of strawberry, raspberry and sloeberry, with subtle undertones of blackcurrant.
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 Mirari Gin
Time Anchor Distillery produces 3 beautiful gins, Amber African, Pink Damask and Blue Orient, each with their own distinct flavour profiles. We love the beautiful packaging, and what’s inside of course.
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
Victoria Handcrafted Luxury Gin
The creator of Victoria Handcrafted Gin fell in love with the town of Prince Albert in the Karoo and this inspired the creation of this range of 3 gins. Victoria Pink, Victoria Amber and Victoria Blue. The Victoria range, blue, pink and amber burst with bouquets of African and traditional botanicals. A portion of every bottle of Victoria gin sold is donated to the Karoo Donkey Sanctuary in Prince Albert, we love that.
Victoria’s Stag Gin
Made by Van Loveren, most famous for their wines, this strawberry infused gin gets its sweet flavour by infusing handpicked and air-dried strawberries with juniper berries, cassia bark, angelica root, orange peel and coriander seed.
Wilderer Fynbos Gin
Having been distilling grappa since 1995, the Wilderer Distillery team knows what they’re doing. Having accrued over 70 international medals and awards, Wilderer has become synonymous with quality, artistry and integrity. Produced in harmony with nature, the purest wine spirit, water from the Franschhoek mountains and unique Fynbos botanicals make this Cape Gin a true South African speciality. Wilderer Fynbos Gin boasts a very well balanced assortment of herbs, spices and zest on the nose. On the palate, it reveals juniper berries and typical Cape Fynbos in stunning depth and complexity. To be sipped neat, mixed with quality soda or tonic water.
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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