Gin Tastings – The New Entertainment

Over the past few months I have seen a dramatic increase in the demand for Craft Gin Tastings.

From book clubs and birthday parties to corporate functions and fundraisers, Gin tastings are the new entertainment and it is only a matter of time until Gin comes for you!

A typical Gin tasting usually comprises of a few elements.  Obviously its all about the Gin being presented – Usually three or four that showcase the versatility and variety of the Juniper infused spirit. This, paired with a garnish and tonic can, on its own, take the participant on a wondrous journey of flavour and wonder. Hosts of Craft Gin tastings are, however, taking it much further than just letting you taste a few Gins. The tumultuous history of the Botanical Concoction makes for quite the introduction and as a lead up to tasting your first Gin, it’s not uncommon to be taken on a journey into the past.  After all, there is much to say about the origins of Gin and a brief history lesson piques the interest just enough for people to realize there is a lot more than they thought to the drink that we all considered our Gran’s Poison, the good old Gin and Tonic.

You see, Gin has evolved! Gone are the days of Gordon’s London Dry and Schweppes being your only option at your local pub or Liquor store.  The Craft Gin Revolution has seen no less than about 200 new Gins hitting the South African Liquor market with purpose.  Here to take the lead from top selling brews and spirits.  Now you can experience beautifully crafted Gins from Distillers such as Monks, responsible for the first Hemp infused Gin; Hope on Hopkins, who have become synonymous with quality in the industry, so much so, that other popular Craft Gin brands are distilled by them in a practice known in the industry as ‘Contract Distilling’; and Six Dogs Distillery, who created the well known ‘Six Dogs Blue’ with its nifty trick of turning Pink when a Indian tonic is added.

Watch the Magic Happen!

Other Distilleries, like Time Anchor, go further and create shimmering pink Gins and 23 Carat gold leaf Celebration Gins. Ginifer created a Chilli Gin and the owner Jacqueline, who also owns Westcliff, has somehow managed to bottle the ‘man made forest’ of the wealthy area of Joburg by meticulously crafting raw spirits and botanicals to allow its drinker to smell and taste the blooming Jacarandas in the heart of the City of Gold.  Her passion sees her releasing Limited Edition batches of unique and once off infused Gins, she calls ‘Tincture’, that are so popular they are usually sold out by the time anyone can realise they have gone on sale.

Gin tastings allow people the chance to taste these different Gins before committing. No wonder tastings are being held in almost every distillery and being hosted by many food and drink establishments. The fact is that at between R350 and R500, the average price of these Gins, are quite overwhelming to the regular consumer.Not to mention the introduction of ‘Fake Gins’ looking to fool their unknowing victims. We must remember the frame of reference used to be a bottle of imported Gin for under R100.  So anything new must be craft and therefore must be expensive? Gin tasting hosts have the task of convincing consumers that the money they are required to part with, to be the owner of these premium Gins, is well worth the investment.  Luckily for them, there is no exaggeration or foolery needed in the sales pitch when presenting a quality properly crafted distilled Gin.  Botanicals are expensive and Juniper needs to be imported. The beautiful bottles do not come cheap and no expense is spared on even the smallest details like the cork on a bottle of Autograph Gin, proudly perched on top of a generously awarded spirit. Distilleries need to invest millions before they are even allowed to sell one bottle of Gin once licences are approved.

Equipment in the Gin making business can easily break the bank!

The one hard and true fact is…Gin would be nowhere without you, the consumer. The most important part of this cycle!

No one to purchase and enjoy Craft Gin would render it absolutely redundant. Amazingly, like something going viral on Youtube, Gin has taken the world by storm. With over 6000 different Gins around the globe it has earned itself the right to be called a Revolution! And whether you are a fan or not, you can expect it to be around for quite some time still.

And do not be surprised if you fall in love with it. The people presenting these tastings have a peculiar sort of passion…the kind of passion that can easily get you excited about buying your next bottle of Craft Gin.

Your spirits guide and author of Booze Blah Blah-The Bearded Gin Guy

Trust me I’m a GINius!

The Bearded Gin Guy