Gin is where it’s at right now. It’s never been more popular in South Africa. It might come as a surprise that there are more than 75 local gin brands being produced by 50 local gin distillers dotted around the country. Now, thanks to the launch of The Gin Box, SA’s first craft gin club, gin lovers can enjoy the multitude of locally produced, craft gins and tonics, with a different brand delivered to their door every month.
We were privileged to attend their official Jozi launch at the very beautiful Beechwood Gardens in Hyde Park. We got to try some of the very best gin SA has on offer, in a lovely garden setting. It’s as if the venue was created solely for the sipping of gin and tonics. This is also where I got to meet the founder of Gin Box, Jean Buckham.
“Gin has long been enjoyed in South Africa and, for decades, we have been drinking many imported British gins, because, up until recently, we had never really ‘South Africanized’ it. In addition, it had always been drunk with a simple tonic, but it could be adapted and made more original by adding hints of flavour, garnishes like pomegranates or rosemary, through to even changing the colour of the gin,” says Jean.
South Africa has the benefit of a massively diverse flora that provides botanical ingredients unlike anywhere else in the world, rooibos and fynbos among two of the most common examples. In fact, SA is the only country in the world with an entire plant kingdom inside its borders. This, together with a local appetite for entrepreneurship has seen many distilleries popping up, crafting often adventurous, small batch gins to satisfy any palate.
Members of The Gin Box will receive on a monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or ad hoc basis (gifts, for example) a magnificent box showcasing a small batch craft gin with unique tonics that accompany the gin and hand-picked gourmet food items that complement the taste journey of the month. No two months will be the same.