In the lexicon of cocktail bars there are perhaps few letters that enjoy the immediacy, the sense of words happily left unsaid, than ‘G’ and ‘T’. G&T. Gin and tonic. A GT. However you prefer to order yours, rarely does such a simple cocktail deliver such pleasure.
The proliferation of premium craft gin shows no sign of abating, with distilleries mushrooming countrywide and inspiring innovative flavour explorations. Look, for instance, to The Gin Lab @ The Conservatory at the upscale 12 Apostles Hotel in Cape Town. The spirit once known as ‘mother’s ruin’ is winning over legions of new fans. Is the launch of South Africa’s first black-owned gin brand, Mayine Gin, a tipping point for this once-colonial spirit?
While the rise of craft gin has brought new pleasures to fans of an elegant martini or negroni, the simple G&T has lost none of its allure. But what makes these two such a great combination? What’s behind the alchemy? And how can you make sure you’re doing it right when you’re mixing it up at home? We asked four of South Africa’s leading craft distillers to talk us through it.