Gin is no longer the old, boring drink favoured by semi-retired people. It’s become the trendy spirit of choice with the tastemaking millennials and there are no signs of this changing. It’s so popular, it even has it’s own holiday- World Gin day.
The second Saturday of June has, since 2009, been known as World Gin Day. It started in America when one gin lover, Neil Houston, put in the time and effort to create a memorial to the spirit on the internet. It has since become a day celebrated by all gin fans, worldwide.
Taking vodka’s crown in the cocktail tipple of choice, South Africans jumped onto the global trend of gin cocktails in 2014. Part of the global and local take-off for gin has been that it’s become more aromatic and flavourful to the palettes of Millennials and mixology has become more creative in the way gin is distilled and flavoured. That means it’s not the same gin that your grandparents used to drink- it’s modern, tastier and demands to be appreciated.
It’s this break away from heavy Juniper flavours and our own blossoming drinks culture that has seen an avalanche of craft gins enter the market, bar counters, liquor stores and of course endorsed by Instagrammers.
Niche Brand Ambassador for Rémy Cointreau, Caitlin Hill, says one of the reasons South Africans have renewed their love affair with gin is because local producers have so many aromatic options available than before. South Africa is becoming a major player in the world of gin, which is partly the reason for the sustained growth of the spirit in the country.
“Gin making is not limited in its geography (like sparkling wine), so around the world in different regions you’ll discover various aromatic gins. And with all the fauna available in South Africa to choose from it was just a natural transition for gin makers,” she adds.
The Botanist Gin is just one such example as it uses 22 foraged botanicals, adding to the depth of flavour in the spirit. “A good gin has one unique characteristic that makes it perfect, either over ice or with a mixer,” says Hill.
What you add to your gin is crucial because you run the risk of drowning out the aromatics and flavours that are meant to be enjoyed and you could be left with just a watery, flavourless mix.
Sugary drinks are also not to be relied on and that is why many gin makers have teamed up with authentic mixers so that when their spirit is mixed, nothing is lost in your glass or on your taste buds.
Fitch & Leedes is one such mixer and although the pink colour might raise a few eyebrows as it’s poured over your gin and ice, there is method to what at first blush appears to be madness.
They market their tonics as “quadruple filtered water….tonics that amplify the hard work and skill of the craft distiller.”
One of the stand out local gin distillers says it was a no brainer to team up with Fitch & Leedes.
Between now and the World Gin Day 2018 it’s anyone’s guess what flavour gin will be served at bars in South Africa. It’s a safe bet though that gin is going to remain a fixture on the drinks menu and will become an even stronger local flavour.