South Africa has definitely jumped on the gin bandwagon, with local producers like Jorgensens and Hope on Hopkins making proudly South African spirits. We’ve also seen a handful of dedicated gin bars popping up. For your next refreshing G&T or gin cocktail, we’ve tracked down the hippest dedicated gin bars – and more broad spectrum bars with great gin menus – around.
Daddy Cool (City Bowl, Cape Town)
This swanky city spot offers guests a customised gin bar menu with a not-so-ordinary cocktail selection. The menu has been expertly formulated by award-winning flavourist Kurt Schlechter, and offers top quality gin cocktails. Sip on: The old classic dirty and dry martinis or intriguing options like the Hogart’s Dream with Inverroche Verdant Gin, raspberry pepper shrub, vanilla syrup, lime, red peppercorns and sparkling water.
The Gin Bar (City Bowl, Cape Town)
This conceptual gin bar tucked behind Honest Chocolate on Wale Street is a hidden gem on the Cape Town bar scene. It’s located in the chocolate haven’s atmospheric crumbling brick courtyard and serves only gin and gin cocktails. The tranquil speakeasy-style spot serves a very small but refreshing range of cocktails based on some of the best local gins. Sip on: The Head Remedy, which is said to cure low self-esteem and headaches, and contains Jorgensen’s Gin, thyme, star anise, lime and Swaan Cape Dry Tonic.
Mother’s Ruin (City Bowl, Cape Town)
At Bree Street’s popular gin house, expect a long gin list from local and international distilleries, including some lesser-known gems. Try one of the classics or be bold and order one of the gin-reinvented options. Sip on: The current favourite cocktail, Lawrence of Arabia, which is made up of Tanqueray London Dry Gin, fresh muddled dates and honey, topped off with a sparkle of tonic.
Social on Main (Bryanston, Johannesburg)
This vibey Joburg hotspot was one of the first bars to bring over G&T cocktails from the United Kingdom nearly two years ago. Specialising in both imported and local gins, the large range of gin cocktails changes with the seasons, and includes delicious flavours and syrups that are made in-house. Sip on: The Elderflower and Apple G&T with elderflower nectar and fresh apple.
Workshop 55 (Parktown, North)
This fresh new gin, whisky and tapas bar offers a menu that includes smaller distilleries and exciting newcomers, such as Hope on Hopkins. To shake things up a bit, the social spot offers a range of interesting build-your-own gin, tonics and enhancers instead of cocktails. Sip on: The Botanist Islay Dry Gin with Fitch & Leedes Indian Tonic and orange zest.
Where’s your favourite spot for a G&T? Tell us in the comments.