Beet the chills with gin cock­tail

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - EAT, DRINK & BE MERRY - Louise Lieben­berg

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.

CLAS­SIC NE­GRONI

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

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