As both a previously-cooped up traveller and social distancer, with not that much of an appetite for hard-drinking (see: my aged Glenlivet Founders Reserve whisky still as full as it was in March), I have been reaching for anything that somehow draws me to far-flung destinations and the rose-tinted memories I have of my travel escapades.
So far, my pandemic nostalgia and yearnings, have led me to sample Spotify playlists solely based on locations (do try Palm Springs!), publishing my backlog of reviews, as well as dressing up and having impromptu solo karaoke hour (which can sometimes be enjoyed on my Instagram Stories & Fleets). Now though, 2020s wild mood leads me to suspend the formulaic rules of spirits, to try whiskies and gins in sweeter concoctions of my own making – basically: it’s Cocktail time!
When you think Gin, what comes to mind?
I’ve never really had a head for the rules and provenance of booze, wanting to simply enjoy the straightforward taste and my context when socially drinking. However, I’ve really noticed just how Gin has thrived everywhere in the last couple of years – particularly in South Africa.
“Terroir-driven spirits—liquors that taste and smell like their places of origin, either through single-estate production or utilizing native botanicals for flavor—have been gaining ground in recent years thanks to their focus on local production and artisan craftsmanship.”Zoe Baillargeon, Conde Nast Traveler
I remember when the national lockdown commenced, and how confusing the suddenness of the cultural shift was, and how it put the alcohol, food & beverage, and hospitality industry’s bottom lines in such focus. I recall wine tasting sessions in the winelands being automatically cancelled. I remember the many Happy Hour‘s I could no longer enjoy. I remember the weekend booze runs with friends, I couldn’t go on. I remember not having a mind to drink alone at home.
By July, I had started coming to terms with the fact that the pandemic would not be ceasing its tyrannical reign soon, nor returning us back to a ‘normal’ state at any point – that realization came from the bottom of a Sauvignon Blanc. Social drinking was replaced with quarantine coping libations, and DIY mixology for fun, and then cycled right into a pretty decent relationship with my small stash of varied local spirits by what is now the festive season.
Inverroche Gin is considered quite the local champ done good. It is world-renowned, considered a premier gin by flavour and accolades alone, and was even favoured by Hollywood star Charlize Theron for her charity organisation’s New York-based schmooze benefit.
I, honestly, kind of love the range of gins (Amber, Verdant, and Classic) for their refreshing taste first and foremost. Whether you sipped this gin lukewarm or dressed up with ice and garnishes, it would still wake your system up like lemonade in Summer. However, at events I attended pre-pandemic, Inverroche gin was usually made up for me by Mixologists not wanting to ruin the flavor profile of the carefully crafted gins, with their different local habitat fynbos botanicals. In the wild west that is my 2020 palate, I have no such qualms.
In the spirit of (tame) lawless stay-at-home activities – and while I generally do appreciate the endemic ingredients used by Inverroche gin distillery to create a gin embodying of the qualities and “vibe” of the Cape – in my cocktail tries using this spirit, I made this Inverroche Classic gin’s terrior meet a potent batch of Sir Lemonade Juice & a smidge of Lime cordial.
Switching to the rest of the bigger Inverroche bottles, I felt a bit bad at some point for not appreciating the fundamental craftsmanship that legendary champion bartender Travis Kuhn put into my limited edition Inverroche Pioneers Collection gin, and so I did look up some recipe guide straight from the brand, and prepared my next (couple of) gin glasses, as the pro’s do – with Double Dutch Indian Tonic, and a twist of Lemon.
The Inverroche gins, are gins of all gins – great for festive revelry without a hangover, or violently disagreeable aftertaste. They don’t really fight against any other ingredients if you favor more sweet fusions, or something even more bitter. I plan to try a grapefruit and kiwi blend somehow very soon….maybe even watermelon when that African sun shines properly soon.
If you are keen to taste some of this Inverroche gin, visit the following and hope their stock of this brands collection, still holds a few bottles: Takealot, Tops, Makro, Norman Goodfellows, YuppieChef, and Ultra Liquors.
Amateur Tip: Have snack with your gin!
So tell me: How do you mix your Gin up?