Sun out, gin out. That is how the saying goes right?! In my world it does. Spring is here, and with a summery bang. This past weekend is the first time we’ve experienced a proper summers day in Cape Town and I couldn’t be more ecstatic. When the sun comes out so do all Cape Town locals. We all come out of hibernation and flock to the nearest beach to soak up some much needed VitD. I even managed to get my first sunburn of the season, which is quite surprising considering my olive tone. What pairs even better with glorious rays of sunshine is the perfect, ice cold, gin. Cruxland sent us a bottle to test out a little while ago, and we couldn’t think of a better way to officially welcome in Spring and the promise of balmy summer days.
By nature, I’m a red wine drinker, whether it be a pinot noir for summer or a full-bodied pinotage in winter, I have the instinctual habit of sniffing out my booze. With gin it’s no different, the minute I open a new bottle of gin I give it a whiff before assembling my drink and over the last few summer seasons I’ve come to know South African gin flavours as having various notes of fynbos, BUT Cruxland gin has pleasantly surprised us and concocted an incredibly unique gin. Made from a grape base, its infused with Kalahari truffles and beautiful botanical notes. Inspired by a trip to the Kalahari Desert, KWVs brandy master decided the fungus would pair wonderfully with gin, and we couldn’t agree more. The combination of the eight botanicals; aniseed, rooibos, honeybush, lemon, coriander, almond, juniper, cardamom and the elusive Kalahari truffles work well to give you the feeling of home.
I often find with a lot of fynbos infused gins the botanical taste is quite overpowering but Cruxland gin has managed to create an incredible and subtle harmony that gently takes you on an interesting flavour adventure. We paired it with the perfect standout fruit, some dollops of sunshine, gooseberries. To me, they represent the first signs of spring. At local markets, they’re a vibrant sea of small yellow balls and are often referred to as golden berries- you know, like the golden rays of sunshine. They remind me of tiny tomatoes but with a sweet-tart flavour and are surprisingly, related to the tomatillo- which makes complete sense if you slice a gooseberry in halve and admire the plethora of tiny edible seeds. They might be tiny, but they have an impressive amount of nutrients that are all beneficial to your body and well being. One of their more impressive qualities is the fibre content, one cup of gooseberries supplies you with 6.5% of dietary fibre, that’s 26% of your daily recommended intake. Talking about fibre may remind you of the Special K adverts (or maybe that’s just me), but getting the correct amount o fibre in your diet is incredibly important for your digestion, the prevention of certain cancers and heart disease. Gooseberries can be incredibly tart and I’m sure many grandmothers combined them with other fruits to help sweeten their gooseberry pies but paired with the right flavours gooseberries don’t actually need much sweetening. For our Spring Celebration Cocktail, we paired the botanical flavours of Cruxland gin with the tart and subtle flavours of the golden berry. The subtle flavours of rooibos, honeybush, and coriander play well with the bitter and tart flavours in the gooseberries. Add a sprig of mint to your cocktail and you’re set on your way to the perfect Spring/Summer cocktail, celebrating all the wonderful, unique flavours of South Africa.
- 2 cups Fresh Gooseberries
- 1 Grapefruit juiced
- 30 ml Cruxland Gin Or 60ml if you'd like a double
- 250 ml Indian Tonic Water
- Large Handful Ice
- Sprig of Mint
Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, add your gooseberries and grapefruit juice, using a potato masher or fork, gently press down on the gooseberries to release some of the juices. Try and keep some whole.
Let your gooseberries simmer for 4-6 minutes until it's reduced to a compote consistency. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.
Once your gooseberry compote has cooled start prepping your cocktail; fill two glasses with ice, add your gin, followed by two tablespoons of your gooseberry compote and top with your Indian tonic water.
Garnish with some mint and enjoy!