Why are we so obsessed with gin?
It is safe to say that over the last two years or so, the South African gin scene has well and truly exploded. It’s one of the coolest things to drink at the moment and shows no signs of slowing down. We chatted to AJ Snetler, barman at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront about why this juniper-based drink is more popular than ever before.
1) What has caused gin to become such a trendy drink?
There are many reasons, but one is definitely that it’s such a versatile drink. It doesn’t have a strong taste like many of the other spirits. In fact, in many cases, the gin itself is flavoured. This makes it a pleasant tasting drink that can be enjoyed by many.
2) What, in your opinion, is one of the best gin drinks to make?
Fun fact – did you know that gin is the most widely used spirit in classic cocktails? I don’t have an outright favourite, but I do love the classics – they are classic for a reason, right? A gin martini is always a good bet and something that can be had at any occasion.
3) What makes the Cape Town gin scene so special?
There are so many well-known gin distilleries in Cape Town and they set themselves apart by offering something unique as part of their gin experience. Perhaps it’s the hint of Rooibos or perhaps it’s the colour. Also, many local makers of gin use plants out of the Cape floral region – 70% of which can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
4) What are some fun ways to experience gin?
Do some gin tasting or make your own cocktail with your favourite flavours. This is a great way to not only discover what you like in a drink, but it also gives you the opportunity to master some gin facts and tricks of the bar trade. At Tobago’s at the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront at the moment, for example, we are offering a luxury gin menu, with Inverroche, where guests are able to work with the bar team on what they want their gin drink to be. They would start by choosing between a selection of Inverroche gins, then move on to tonic choices, and round it off by choosing between three elegantly flavoured foams – citrus-Mandarin foam, vibrant wild-cherry foam and floral-violet foam. It’s trendy and a really fun way to explore different flavours.
5) Any idea on what the next trend is?
It’s difficult to say. But with gin always reinventing itself, I don’t see gin going away or giving way to anything else anytime soon. It’s popular for a reason, and it’s pretty much kept up the momentum with brands offering more unique varieties of gin as the years go by. I’m just excited to see what’s new from some of my favourite gin distilleries.