With over 50 craft gin distilleries popping up in recent years, South Africa has fast become a haven for the Juniper berry-loving, tonic-inclined, and straight-up gin aficionados. Here are five of our favourite Cape Town-based gin experiences you absolutely have to try if you love gin:
1. Hope on Hopkins Distillery, Salt River
Contact: Tel 0214471950, Hope Distillery
This was the very first gin distillery to open in Cape Town. We love them for their super laid back and fun ambience; resident rescue animals, Mr Scruff, the dog, and cats Martini and Mimo; and the fact that they offer Gin Popsicles made with Hope Gin.
Pull up a seat at either of their long tables, the bar, or find a snug corner on the couch as you await to be served your choice of three or four gins, which arrive in mini medicine-style bottles, served with tonic. Of course, you'll be educated on all the accompanying fun facts your gindulgent mind desires by your knowledgeable server and booklet tasting guide.
You can book a tasting here.
2. Deep South Distillery, Kommetjie
Contact: Tel 0217830129, deepsouthdistillery.co.za
The Deep South Distilliery is a wee one located in an industrial park in the sleepy-ish seaside suburb of Kommetjie. Born in mid-December 2017 to Steve Erlank and James Copeland, it is quite obviously the result of a passionate love for local gin.
You can watch bottles get hand-labelled, while learning about the distillation process, and then taste their two gins, Cape Dry Gin (London, dry-style gin infused with Cape botanicals, including mountain fynbos and Honeybush) and the super floral Ruby Gin, which was originally intended to be a Christmas-exclusive. Plus, you'll get all the frills – orange peel, thyme, strawberries, rosemary, to name a few – all of which you're encouraged to play with curiously and experimentally.
Book a tasting or tour here.
3. Cape Town Gin Company, City Bowl
In the game since 2016, The Cape Town Gin Company offers you a tasting of their three gins (two of which are award-winning) at their tasting room in the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront – with sprawling views of the ol' Table M to boot.
Last we checked, Richard Purce is the guy to go to for the full 411 on their handcrafted, small-batch gins. You'll learn all about their distillation process, the botanicals used and why, and maybe even pick up some dinner-party-worthy history around the origins of gin.
Their Cape Town Classic Dry Gin nods toward the first gins made in Holland and England when Juniper berries were the predominant flavour. Their Cape Town Pink Lady Gin is named after the Mount Nelson Hotel and boasts a hibiscus flowers- and rose petals-infusion. Finally, their Cape Town Rooibos Red Gin is infused with organic, handpicked rooibos – a South African exclusive.
Tastings are done via an online appointment which can be booked here.
4. The Gin Bar, City Bowl
Contact: Tel 0712412277, theginbar.co.za
Yes, the rumours are true – this building used to be a morgue! But don't let that leaven you too shaken or stirred to visit. When it first opened, its reputation made rounds of the city; the words on everyone's lips were "The Secret Gin Bar". Why? Well, it's hidden behind a chocolate shop in Wale Street!
And while the secret is very much out, it's still oozing with the mystery and charm you'd expect as a first-timer. Simply, it's the perfect spot to savour a gin or four. They do tastings in the Upstairs Bar (minimum six people) where you will become adept at identifying a myriad of botanical flavours and experiment with different mixers and garnishes.
The Gin Bar is open from Tuesdays to Thursdays from 17:00 and on Fridays and Saturdays from 15:00. The small courtyard is on a first come first served basis.
5. The Sky Bar at The Grand Daddy Hotel
Contact: Tel 021 424 7247, firstname.lastname@example.org Up the Grand Daddy luxury boutique hotel’s vintage elevator lies the cute-as-a-button, romantic-as-a-rom-com Sky Bar, complete with fairy lights, vintage trailers, and IG-worthy views of the city skyline.
It's most definitely the daddy of Cape Town’s rooftop bar scene – a firm favourite among locals and clued-up tourists alike. Expect fun, creative décor that is at once relaxed and high-end. The vibes are cosy and chilled – perfect for summertime romancing over a local GNT.
You can expect the cream of the crop in South African craft gin labels here, such as Six Dogs’ Blue Gin, Inverroche’s Classic Gin, and Cruxland Gin from KWV. (You can also purchase all those via Deeliver!) You absolutely must try their version of the Gin Martini, but opt for one of the local craft gins instead (when in Cape Town...). As it's part of a hotel, there’s also a snack list, diverse wine options, and a wide array of other spirits and craft beers.
Not keen on stepping out? Shop our wide selection of local and international gins here. Plus, have them delivered to your door at the click of a button – fast and easy, just how you like it!