What is gin? Gin is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks and is still extremely popular today Each brand of gin offers its own unique style and flavour profile.
On a recent road trip from Johannesburg to Cape Town, we stopped over in the small town-Stillbaai in the Western Cape, where craft gin brand – Inverroche is situated. Inverroche is an independent distillery in South Africa. Each bottle of Inverroche gin is distinct, handcrafted and distilled in small batches.
Being a gin lover, I was ecstatic and took the opportunity to visit Inverroche. We chose to do a gin tasting of their 3 gins- the classic, verdant and amber, and a chocolate and rum tasting of their signature rum. And we learnt how this South African craft gin is made by using the South African fynbos plant.
After a gin tasting we discovered a room filled with copper distillers, glass flasks and ingredients on rustic wooden boards laid out on a long table. This was the ‘Gin School’. Once we saw this and heard we could make our very own Inverroche Gin here, our only question was “Where do we pay?”.
We chose our seats and were given an introduction to gin and its different types. We learnt what the key ingredients were and how the gin recipe is formulated. From this, we started designing our own gin. We were given a flavour wheel of which ingredients go well together and which will give a citrus, spicy, fruity, earthy and floral taste to the gin.
From this knowledge and insight, I decided to stick to the flavors embodying a classic gin of citrus notes, with the idea in mind of sitting by the pool in the summer heat with lemon rinds and blocks of ice accompanying my gin and tonic in a big gin class. From this I chose to add lemon zest, rosemary, buchu, nutmeg and toasted coconuts to the basic ingredients which have to be added to achieve a zesty citrus flavour profile.
With my basis down, I started the distilling process of a steeping and boiling distillation, where the ingredients are placed in bags and soaked in the base spirit (which is derived from vodka) and then distilled.
This was an incredible experience and really made me appreciate and understand the craftsmanship behind each bottle of gin. Inverroche is now one of my favourite gins alongside the likes of international brands like Malfy, Musgrave and The Ginologist.