5 Fun Facts About GIN!

5 Fun Facts About GIN!

Jolly Rooster @ Fynbos Distillery

5 Fun Facts About GIN!

@The Jolly Rooster Fynbos Distilleries we have 4 expertly crafted GINS full of flavours!

• Purple Haze Gin

• Arabian Rose Gin

• Just Juniper Gin

• Citrus Bomb Gin


South Africa’s gin industry is continually growing, year on year. There are now around 135 different local craft gins on the market, with 65 distillers across the country, from the Karoo to Stilbaai, and over to Phalaborwa.

While South Africa tends to follow the UK in trends, we always add our own spin and creativity to create a unique signature. Taking inspiration from our natural South African resources - Cape fynbos and bushveld botanicals - our local gin industry has exploded with craft distillers, bringing a new world spin on the craft.


Gin has had a rather chequered history, and it is certainly a long and often violent one (there were even gin riots!), and it has given rise to some of the familiar phrases we hear today – from the Orange War and a soldiers “Dutch Courage” to satirical socialist Bernard Mandeville’s comment of “Mother’s Ruin”, because no mother can survive the ravages of gin.

Gin made it’s way to South Africa in the 1600s, as an outpost of the Dutch East India Company, and it was popular for more than just for the joy of drinking. For troops stationed in tropical or sub-tropical climes, the quinine in tonic water helped to ward off malaria, but its bitter taste made it unpleasant without a heady pour of sweet, botanical gin!


It’s not only been the gin craze that has hit SA but also the creation of more craft tonics. Thankfully to those of us that want to drink a guilt-free G&T, some of these tonic producers have developed a sugar-free option too.

Fitch & Leedes offer their Indian Tonic Lite which contains less sugar, and lower calories without losing from the taste. Pretty in pink with whiffs of rose petals and fresh cucumber, Fitch & Leedes also recently launched a sugar-free Pink Tonic. It is a delightful alternative without compromising on taste.

Barker & Quin Light at Heart is another highly recommended guilt-free tonic to accompany that gin. What makes Barker & Quin so unique and delicious is they seem to have really mastered the taste, despite losing the sugar. Low in sugar and calories, mixed with mountain spring water. 

Toni Glass’ tonic water range is also sugar-free and available in 3 varieties available - Citrus, Watermelon and Original flavour.


Our local manufacturers use our uniquely South Africa botanicals, including fynbos and other indigenous plants and trees. “A lot of these are incredibly punchy, giving many South African craft gins bold and unusual flavour profiles,” says Lucy Beard of Hope on Hopkins. As with wine, there’s much to appreciate.

It starts with the aroma. Nose the gin: take a slow, gentle sniff and allow your nose to acclimatise to the alcohol (South African gins are bottled at a minimum of 43% which is quite strong!).

Taste the gin neat at room temperature: swill it around in your mouth to explore the different flavour elements.

Add a splash of cold water or block of ice, then sip and swish it around in your mouth. The water or melting ice encourages the release of the botanical flavours within the gin, as the oils are released into the water.  Then swallow and breathe in gently after swallowing, to prolong the release of flavours.


Gin works great in a cocktail, but since our South African Distillers are being as brave and showing such innovation, why not learn how to serve the perfect gin and tonic?

The joy is that not much equipment is needed: good ice, (ice that doesn’t melt too quickly and overly dilute the drink), good tonic and a flourish of garnish to either complement or enhance the gin in question.

The trick here is not to drown the gin with tonic. Aim for about a 1:4 ratio for every tot of gin. Choose a tonic that isn’t highly flavoured, so the natural botanical gin flavours can be appreciated.

Choosing the right garnish will enhance those flavours even more, but be sure to pick the right garnish! No two gins are the same, and so each garnish should be paired for perfection. Download the Ginventory app for helpful tips!

If you always head for a lemon slice with your G&T, take this advice from Hope on Hopkins - “using lemon zest is far better! A lemon slice introduces a lot of bitterness, whereas the lemon zest has all the beautiful zingy oils and will enhance any gin. I also recommend serving in a tumbler or wine glass, rather than a high ball: this allows the aromas of the botanicals to reach your nose, which really adds to the drinking experience.”

5 Fun Facts About GIN!

Jolly Rooster

From the earth to the bottle, Jolly Rooster @ Fynbos Distillery in Stanford strives to make the best spirits money can buy. The secret lies in small-scale batches, passionate distillers, and a delicious Mediterranean food-pairing menu that make the Jolly Rooster @ Fynbos Distillery a unique experien...

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