November 2019 came to an end with style and grace as we cheered farewell with some premium spirits in a beautiful setting. The Gin and Tonic Festival that was held this year at the artisanal utopia that is the Victoria Yards in Lorentzville. This occasion on the 30th of November marked the 9th episode in its 4th year for the festival.
Celebrating and encompassing the gin culture that has truly taken off, the Gin & Tonic Festival and The Gin Journey saw the celebration of both local and international producers and the inclusion of non-alcoholic gin.
Besides the local craft courtyard that hosted over 40 local gin producers, the festival was set on taking everyone on an expedition that started with the Malfy Garden, then taking you to the Beefeater Boom Room and ending us off in Monkey 47 The Black Forest.
An Eden within the utopia, the Malfy Garden was the gin paradise of the day. Sitting on a lush green lawn and surrounded by trees and vines, the marquee played host to three gins – Malfy, Inverroche and Ceder’s.
Known as the Italian gin, Malfy is a super-premium gin that is inspired by the Amalfi coast. To date, they still use a distilling method, which is said to date back to the 11th century, that marries spring water from the Monviso Mountain and botanicals that include juniper, coriander and cassia. Enjoy this refreshing gin with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic and garnish with a lemon or lime wheel. For extra decadence go on and add a splash of champagne to take your cocktail to the next level.
Inverroche is a proudly South African gin that is skilfully made by nature from three regions within the Cape floral kingdom. Having being made from citrus and koigoed botanicals, it can be enjoyed with a simple pink or Indian tonic and garnished with a lemon or lime zest.
None drinkers by choice or circumstance need not fret as they will not be left behind. Ceder’s came through with a cart to cater to us a delicious non-alcoholic gin. Made in Sweden, Ceder’s uses wild and rare botanicals from the Cederberg Mountains of Western Cape. These botanicals include Cape floral fynbos and rooibos and can be enjoyed with Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic. Add a lemon slice and a rosemary sprig or grapefruit and basil to add additional fresh flavour to your mixture.
Beefeater Boom Room
The Beefeater Boom Room was where the indoor part was at! Nestling a large dance floor was a bar, DJ booth and vintage couches that one could relax on. Serving up Beefeater only, the London gin hosted a silent masterclass session within the festival that was held by Global Ambassador – Sumaiyah Edwards. Named Beefeaters to commemorate the Queen’s Guards as they always got an extra serving of beef, Edwards treated us to a tasting of:
- Beefeater London dry
- with a light citrus flavour.
- Beefeater Pink
- Based on the original London dry gin, it is a fun easy-to-drink strawberry gin.
- Beefeater 24
- The Master Distiller’s contribution to the Beefeater legacy, it is a sophisticated and modern London Dry Gin that is made from 12 botanicals, which include Chinese Green Tea and Japanese Sencha
As a bonus, me and the six ladies that I was sharing a table with got to be the first group in South Africa to taste the Beefeater Blood Orange Gin. A bright orange gin, it is distilled from 10 botanicals and is inspired by Beefeater founder James Burrough. As an honour to him, it was found that Burrough had hand-selected oranges from the London’s Covent Garden Market in 1867 to indeed create an Orange gin. Using hand-picked Seville oranges picked in Spain, it is a fresh citrus gin that will I’m sure be loved by all South Africans.
The vibe in the Beefeater Boom Room was created and maintained by:
The Black Forest
this destination within the Gin Journey was without a doubt one of my favourites. Made up of high bar stools and tables and marquee lights that read Monkey 47 right above the bar, the monkey booth was the real showstopper (this is minus the actual gin, of course, you’ll read about that in a bit. What you had to do was walk up to the booth and ring an unassuming bell. Thereafter, a monkey’s hand would come out and give you a shot of the Monkey 47 gin.
I definitely would not classify myself as a gin drinker but an exception could be made in regards to Monkey 47. A Schwarzward dry gin, you immediately get a burst of orange accompanied by fruity and floral notes.
A Gin Journey of note that saw me see gin in a different light as I went through and discovered my taste. It was both knowledgeable and fun and just packed with one of the most beautiful Joburg crowds I was fortunate to be proud of.
As it would seem, this festival is obviously tradition. And as such, I look forward to yet another rendition next year. Cheers 🥂!