If there’s one spirit that is the coolest of the cool, it’s gin. No longer is it reserved for grannies or trips to the bush, gin has soared in popularity over the last couple of years and it doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere.

In South Africa, the gin trend has had a positive effect on local distilling industry. It’s estimated that there are close to 50 gin brands coming from a wide range of distilleries across the country. This Saturday, the 9th of June, the entire world is stopping what they’re doing to celebrate the mother’s ruin. And in honour of world gin day on the 9th of June, we’re giving some of our favourite local gin distilleries some love.

Hope on Hopkins

Hope on Hopkins, run by the ebullient Lucy Beard and Leigh Lisk, was probably one of the first gin distilleries to open in South Africa. You could even say they were making gin before it was cool. The distillery is in the gritty, industrial area of Salt River, Cape Town, where the couple also lives with two cats and a dog. Their flagship gin range is comprised of their Salt River gin (an infusion of wild rosemary, fynbos and buchu), the Mediterranean (with notes of basil, olives and rosemary) and London Dry (a straight-up version with citrus and juniper). They’ve also expanded into making a tequila-style agave spirit, as well as a dangerously-smooth vodka.

Pienaar and Son

Could Pienaar and Son owner and master distiller, Andre Pienaar, be any cooler? The guy was in a band (remember Ashtray Electric?), he’s married to the incredibly talented jeweler, Famke Koene (of Famke Jewellery) and he makes gin. Pienaar and Son, situated in the centre of Cape Town’s city bowl, produces three stellar spirits. On the gin side, his Empire is a nod to the classic London dry, with citrus, juniper and angelica notes. The experimental Orient is a clean infusion of ginger, allspice, vanilla and mandarin, while his corn-based vodka, Waskis – named for his mother’s maiden name– is buttery and delicious.


Distillery 031

Representing the folks in the same area code, Distillery 031 is known for their gin, but these guys are no one-trick-pony and they also produce other smashing spirits, such as rum and brandy. Their Durban Dry pays homage to the London dry, with notes of juniper and citrus finished up with a rich mouthfeel.

Geometric Gin

When you realise that wine dream team Chris and Andrea Mullineux are behind this gin, it explains why it’s so brilliant. They’ve teamed up distiller Jean-Baptiste Cristini to bring Geometric to life and their dry gin is clean and citrus-forward with notes of cardamom.


Time Anchor Distillery

You’ll be able to pick the Time Anchor gins out a line-up, thanks to their remarkable colours and variations. Their Mirari gin, a deep, jewel-toned blue, is a standout with notes of jasmine, grapefruit and vanilla. The Joburg-based distillery also produces a white rum, as well as their classic London dry and rose-infused pink gin.