• Fynbos, botanicals, exotic spices, spirited stories and the scenic setting of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront are the magical ingredients of this world-class gin-tasting experience.

    The Gin Emporium is a hidden gem in the heart of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. You’ll only discover it by chance when you cut across the yacht marina towards the pedestrian bascule bridge and pause to soak up the harbour views. Cape Town Gin & Spirits Company’s simply stylish headquarters is an island of sensory experience amid all this maritime activity, offering tutored gin-tastings, creative gin cocktails, a pocket-sized specialist whisky boutique on the side, and some of the best views of Table Mountain in the V&A.

    Cape Town Gin Emporium
    Photo: Supplied

    Tuning the palate to next level G&Ts

    The Gin Emporium’s tutored gin-tasting experience guides you all the way from A – Z (or G to T) in the art of gin appreciation. Jars of aromatic spices and botanicals, containers of suggested garnishes, chilled cans of Fitch&Leedes Indian tonic, and of course tasting glasses of Cape Town Gin & Spirits Company’s four gin varieties line the centre of a long table.

    The spice jars hold all the individual botanical aromatics of Cape Town Classic Dry Gin: juniper (the essential flavouring of all gins), dried orange peel, cardamom, cassia bark, star anise, coriander seed, orris root. Smelling and examining each spice gives the olfactory sense a chance to tune in to what is to come.

    RECIPE TO TRY: Sugar and spice gin cocktail

    We’re instructed by Emporium manager, Jacorine in the correct way to appreciate the aromas of neat spirits (inhaling through the mouth not the nose). Next a cautious sip, holding the gin on the tongue to accustom the palate. First off all you sense is the alcohol burn, then gradually the aromas come to the fore.

    Once we’ve familiarised ourselves with the undiluted essence of each gin, it’s time to add tonic. Another sip to assess the bare bones of the G&T, then it’s play-time: adding garnishes to see how the flavours develop and evolve with each addition.

    Four gins for all seasons

    Cape Town Classic Dry Gin is the base for the three other gins, which have their signature fynbos and other botanicals added after distillation.

    Next up on the tasting menu is Cape Town Rooibos Red Gin: warm, woody, earthy and subtly spicy with the essence of organic rooibos.

    Then Cape Town The Pink Lady Gin: floral with rose geranium, rose water and hibiscus, reminiscent of the best sort of Turkish Delight, and named in honour of Cape Town’s iconic Mount Nelson hotel.

    And lastly Cape Town Black Rhino Gin: herbaceous with the scents of the veld, buchu and renosterbos (aka rhino bush) and a touch of citrus, pepper and liquorice.

    RECIPE TO TRY: Black horn cocktail

    While we are recommended complementary garnishes for each gin during the guided tasting, the emphasis is on experimenting and having fun. Learning the possibilities: how to activate fresh herbs for example, so that you can put your own personal stamp on a gin and tonic.

    Book your gin tasting

    You can walk in for a non-guided tasting (as long as there is space), but for the full 30-minute tutored experience it’s essential to book. There are six time slots daily which are limited to 8/10 people per session. Linger over your sipping after the tutorial is complete, and follow up with a perfectly crafted experimental cocktail from bartender Rhys McBeth, who adds another layer of creativity to the Gin Emporium experience.

    The perfect way to while away an afternoon and harness your inner mix.

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    Issued by Paddington Station PR

    Feature image: warrengoldswain via Getty Images