Could gin be any cooler? We certainly don’t think so. The local gin scene has well and truly exploded, with distillers making the spirit with all sorts of indigenous ingredients and botanicals. To experience these gins at their greatest, visit any of these bars in the Cape.
The Botanical Bar comes from The Gin Bar family expanding into Longmarket Street. The focus here is on foraged local ingredients used in house-made bitters, shrubs and liqueurs. The standouts are the drinks made with these shrubs – a lightly pickled fruit mix – that are mixed with gin and topped up with soda water. The result is a refreshing drink, perfect for summer. They also serve some pretty tasty bar snacks, including curried chicken samoosas and lamb frikkadels.
Servicing the southern suburbs is recently opened Botany. Part of Patina Steak and Fine Wine, this bar has a sweet courtyard that is perfect for after-work drinks before dining at one of the great restaurants nearby, or at Patina itself. Botany specialises in bubbly as well as gin, so you can bank on some tasty gin-based cocktails, but mostly we love their large glasses of ice-cold gin and tonic topped up with herby botanicals.
Though Cause & Effect’s main focus is reviving the local brandy scene, their ethos is also about supporting local industries – including gin. They have an extensive range of cocktails all made using natural, foraged ingredients and they make all of their own bitters, liqueurs and flavourings. While the cocktail offering changes with the seasons, the Organoleptic available at the moment is particularly delicious. Made from Wilderer gin, strawberry shrub and topped up with hibiscus and green tea, it’s the ultimate refreshing summer drink.
Housed in a contemporary art gallery featuring works from local artists, The Drinkery is a fairly new kid on the block. Along with a great list of local wines, they have a decently sized gin offering too. If you’re looking for a quirky spot to enjoy a G&T, this is definitely the space for you.
The Gin Bar was one of the first bars dedicated to all things gin and is known for its comprehensive offering of local gins. Tucked behind Honest Chocolate Café, it makes you feel as if you’re escaping the hustle and bustle of the outside world. Find a seat in the magical courtyard and sip on one of their crafted gin cocktails.
The duo behind pioneering local distillery Hope on Hopkins has partnered up with A Mari ocean gin and Geometric Drinks to bring The Gin Dock pop-up to life. With unparalleled views of the waterfront and a succinct cocktail menu, this is the spot to make the best of summer. The only downside is that The Gin Dock will only be sticking around until 28 February.
Orphanage can be credited with starting the curated cocktail trend in Cape Town and has always been known for their expertly prepared drinks. We especially love the Child Catcher cocktail, made from gin, elderflower cordial, grapefruit and blackberries.
Easily one of the most chic places to enjoy a drink, The Stack also offers a well-curated list of gins and their eponymous cocktail is a wonderful mix gin-soaked rosemary and lavender topped up with tonic water and juniper berries. The bar snacks are great too, complete with charcuterie from Neil Jewell.
The Instagram-worthy Silo Hotel was always going to have a beautiful bar and The Willaston bar on the 6th floor certainly doesn’t disappoint. The bar is stocked with a range of local gins, which are used in perfectly prepared cocktails. If you’re planning to hang out here all night, you’ll be happy to know you won’t go hungry – their kitchen closes at 10pm.
Classic Cats is a special place that combines vintage cars and local gins, which means you can admire the scenic views of Vredenheim wine estate and stroll amongst old school cars all whilst sipping on your favourite local gin.
You may think that there’s nowhere to drink gin in the Swartland, but you would be wrong. The Royal Hotel in Riebeek Kasteel, known for its neverending stoep, has a very well-stocked gin collection. Their gin and tonics are served in large, cognac-style glasses with stacks of ice and interesting botanicals and fruit.
Can you picture anything more enjoyable than sipping on a great gin and tonic while surrounded by rolling vineyards? We certainly can’t. At Sansibar, you can do just this. Set on the Asara wine farm, Sansibar boasts one of the most impressive gin collections in the Western Cape. Look out for their Flower Pot, made from Hope on Hopkins Salt River gin, rosemary syrup and a generous splash of MCC.
Did we miss any awesome spots for great gin? Let us know in the comments below!