Yuppiechef's list of our favourite craft gins that we believe everyone should try
Gin is the latest tipple to follow in craft beer's footsteps — an artisanal gin movement is gaining momentum. From liquorice and citrus flavours to nutmeg and even fynbos, each gin distillery has its own secret recipe and technique to give their gin its depth of flavour, infusion of natural botanicals, character and story.
Here's our list of craft gins you absolutely have to try.
1. Sugarbird Gin
Sugarbird Gin is a floral driven gin, with notes of rooibos, honeybush, rose geranium and the Cape May flower. Perfect on ice or as a mixer, Sugarbird has a citrus backbone that is accentuated with the addition of tonic.
You'll love that it's local, that it pairs well with tonic, and that it comes in a beautiful gift box option.
2. Six Dogs Distillery Blue Gin
This naturally coloured blue gin gets its striking colour from a unique Blue Pea flower infusion. Brewed in the De Wet Valley in the Karoo, Six Dogs Blue Gin has a classic dry taste, enhanced through the addition of rose geranium.
You'll love its unique colour and its beautiful, giftable packaging.
3. Malfy Italian Gin
Malfy comes from the birthplace of gin, Italy — the word 'gin' is derived from the Italian word for juniper, ginepro. The range offers Malfy Originale, Con Limone, Rosa and Con Arancia variations; each one providing a unique range of perfectly-balanced, refreshing flavours.
You'll love Malfy's pedigree and their clear focus on creating the perfect Dolce far niente moment in every bottle — the sweet art of doing nothing.
4. Aviation Gin
Every bottle of Aviation Gin is handcrafted in limited 100-case batches by a small, dedicated team of master distillers in Portland, Oregon. As America's original craft gin, Aviation was created by a bartender-distiller partnership with a vision for a versatile and mixable gin. The gin has a wide botanical medley of ﬂavours, with juniper in the background, and citrus and ﬂoral in the front. The palate is softer, more subtle, and balanced.
And yes, Aviation Gin is the one owned by Ryan Reynolds.
5. Musgrave Pink Gin
Musgrave's Pink Gin is distilled with all the spice and flavour of their famous Musgrave 11 botanicals, but is gentler and has a subtler spice. It features top notes of cardamom, African ginger and Grains of Paradise. Rosehips and a rosewater infusion add subtle perfume and exotic flavour to the gin. Musgrave's Pink Gin won gold at the 2016 Michelangelo Awards and is a Yuppiechef customer favourite.
You'll love it's fresh, summery taste — which some say has a hint of turkish delight. And its beautifully designed packaging makes it a great gift for any gin lover.
6. Hope on Hopkins Salt River Gin
Hope on Hopkins' Salt River Gin is a contemporary gin, distilled in Cape Town. The gin is infused with local botanicals, including kapokbos (wild rosemary) and buchu — which gives it a blackcurrant and earthy flavour. Salt River Gin works well with slice of grapefruit and a sprig of thyme. But we enjoy it with two-thirds tonic and one-third soda, lemon zest and a sprig of rosemary.
This gin is perfect for those looking for a straight, nicely balanced gin with not too much overriding flavour.
7. ClemenGold Gin
The ClemenGold Gin is handcrafted according to an age old recipe, resulting in a classic, Cape dry style gin that is very smooth. Distilled using 9 botanicals — including juniper, angelica root, coriander and sundried ClemenGold peel — it has subtle hints of citrus, complementing almond and cinnamon. The gin is refreshing with tonic, as well as in classic gin cocktails, but shows its true colours when served on ice with a twist of orange or a cinnamon stick.
We enjoy its subtle hints of citrus, and love its beautifully designed packaging.
8. Wilderer Fynbos Gin
Wilderer's Fynbos Gin won gold at the 2016 Meinungen International Spirit Awards in Germany. It's the result of Helmut Wilderer's vast knowledge in creating spirits with unique South African botanicals. This crystal clear gin effortlessly combines the classic juniper and citrus flavours with the distinctive aromatics of local wild dagga, honeybush and buchu for a charismatic finish.
You'll love that it's 100% natural — no artificial flavourants, colourants or preservatives — and it's elegant bottle.
9. Woodstock Gin Co Inception Beer Distilled Gin
Woodstock Gin Co's Beer Distilled Gin is robust, punchy and — as the name suggests — is made from pale ale in the initial distillation. It has a defined juniper and spice flavour with a slight malty taste coming through in the finish. Enjoy it on its own or add Mediterranean tonic water, a sliver of orange rind and a piece of cinnamon bark for a G&T with a twist.
You'll love its unique taste — a truly amazing gin with South African flair.
10. Inverroche Amber Gin
Inverroche Gin is double distilled in small batch, limited volumes, using a specialised pot still process. Their Amber Gin is a handcrafted blend of intriguing flavours, combining the fresh floral botanicals of Africa with spices and berries from India and Europe. It's well balanced and full bodied, it is smooth on the palate with a dry, warm finish.
You'll love its golden amber colour and subtle rooibos tea flavours and fresh citrus notes. We enjoy it neat on ice or with tonic and a curl of orange zest.
Bonus: The Duchess Non-Alcoholic Gin & Tonic
The Duchess offers you the choice of a sugar-free, calorie-free, and hangover-free refreshment. With incredible attention to detail, The Duchess botanists crafted this G&T with re-distilled juniper extract and their own botanically infused tonic water. It has the distinct gin and tonic taste, blended with aromatic layers of orange peel, allspice, star anise and devil's claw.
You'll love its proper gin and tonic taste — guilt free.