Beet the chills with gin cocktail
ONCE the preserve of grumpy grannies, gin has experienced a massive surge in popularity in recent times, including in South Africa where it is now being produced at quite a few boutique distilleries – and winning international awards.
If you’re been enjoying your juniper fix all summer and are looking for fun ideas for cocktails before winter kicks in with gusto, here’s a recipe with a difference – and two clever twists on the classic G&T. The recipes are supplied by Wilderer, whose founder, master distiller Helmut Wilderer, recently passed away.
The brand has seen many successes since it was established by Helmut – also the innovator behind South Africa’s first cutting edge grappa distillery – in 1995. His successor, Johan Monnig, completed his apprenticeship under Helmut’s close guidance.
Wilderer topped the ranks as the most awarded craft distillery in the country late last year when it received two gold medals and a silver from the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirits Awards. Its Fynbos Gin and Grappa Muscato Barrique received gold while the Peach Mampoer claimed silver.
Situated in Simondium (between Paarl and Stellenbosch) since 2000, and now also operating at La Grapperia at the Spice Route Destination in Suid-Agter Paarl, the distillery uses a state-of-the-art, 700-litre copper pot still to create its triple-distilled spirits.
BEETROOT GIN COCKTAIL JUG, DONE TWO WAYS
Here is Wilderer’s longer, overnight recipe, which allows for extra flavour: INGREDIENTS 1 medium beetroot, chopped into small chunks 2 litres of Wilderer gin METHOD Steep the beetroot in the gin for about 24 hours before serving. Chill either in the fridge or else in any cool spot away from direct sunlight.
Here is the shorter, quicker recipe, for instance when you have unexpected guests around: INGREDIENTS 1 medium beetroot, grated 2 litres of Wilderer gin METHOD Add the beetroot to the gin. Wait at least 15 minutes before straining the beetroot from the gin using a sieve.
A longer waiting period will result in deeper red colouring.
INGREDIENTS 1 part Campari 1 part Vermouth Rosso 1 part gin (25ml per shot glass) METHOD Blend all the ingredients. Serve immediately on ice.
QUICK AND EASY GIN AND TONIC RECIPE TIPS
After adding one to two gin shots (25ml per shot) to about 200ml tonic water, you can add either of the following for an unusual flavour burst:
ý A few mint leaves and the juice of half a lemon;
ý One to two slices of pineapple and a few curry leaves.
GIN UP: The humble beetroot can transform an already satisfying gin into a show-stopping cocktail