One of my favourite cocktails is a Negroni, one tot each of ice cold gin, red vermouth and Campari, definitely for grownups, and delicious. The other is a superbly dry Martini with a twist and in which the Martini plays a very minor role.
For each of these you need to have the best gin you can lay your hands on. This doesn’t always mean the most expensive but one that appeals to your nose and palate. Enter Rolf Zeitvogel at Blaauwklippen, the home of fabulous Zinfandel wines and one of the few places in the world that makes excellent Zinfandel bubbly. Rolf recently launched three superb 100% handcrafted gins distilled at Triple Three Estate Distillery at Blaauwklippen, cleverly calling the event Zin Gin. They are not made with Zinfandel.
The Juniper Berry flavour has notes of menthol, pine, cloves, and lime tempered with some white pepper and is perfect partnered with Fitch and Leedes Tonic water. Notes of vanilla and rose petals reflect the natural sweetness real juniper berries possess. The Citrus Infusion version is made using oranges from the Eastern Cape and lemons from Stellenbosch. The complex aroma of these fruits and red grapefruit enhanced by juniper is irresistible, especially in a really dry Martini. The piéce de resistance is the one they call African Botanicals with dried and fresh leaves of buchu and rooibos, cloves, cedar wood shavings and pine. Sweet and toasty notes make it the perfect gin for a Negroni to remember. I am hooked.
The gins are available for tasting at Blaauwklippen and sell at R300 each.
On The R44 at Technopark Turnoff Stellenbosch, 021 880 0133
Words: Greg Landman
As the wine writer for Country Life magazine for the last 15 years, Greg has met and interviewed more than 150 of the country’s top wine makers. His articles offer unique insights into where to eat, what to drink, and where to go all over the Western Cape. With his dining companion Beryl Ormsby Browne, he has also reviewed more than 60 country restaurants for the magazine and has been a reviewer for the prestigious Eat Out Guide for 12 years. His passion for everything the winelands has to offer has led him into the world of wine tours. To find out more, visit his website Magic Grape Tours.