Acclaimed polymath and inventor of all things English, Sir Noël Coward once quipped “a perfect martini should be made by filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy.” A man of his times perhaps but Raphaël Cristini (@RCSA_BA) is a man of ours. For those not in the know, and not surprising because this King of Cool generally keeps way under the radar, Raph (true to his unpretentious style) is the brand ambassador for The Botanist Gin (@thebotanistgin), a product of the Bruichladdich Distillery from that magical Hebridean island of Islay.
I know, I know. I have the same reaction when someone gushes. Deep eye rolls and muttering under your breath as you take a deep sip from your gimlet: “oh G’D, just what we need … ANOTHER artisanal gin?” However, The Botanist, a super-premium artisanal gin isn’t a new kid on the block having been introduced in 2011 (but later to South Africa in 2015) means it’s been around for a while. True to its core, last night’s tasting at Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar were amplified with the incorporation and displayed of spoils from their own foraging expedition led by Raph himself to discover the flora of the Cape Peninsula and then interpret that into a perfectly balanced cocktail. In this instance, ‘That One’ and ‘Basil Faulty’ were their own take on a South African classic serve for this Islay gin.
So what makes this gin any different from the others?
With a core of nine classic gin botanicals, the process by Jim McEwan Head Distiller of Bruichladdich, is akin to alchemy as he augments these nine with another twenty-two hand-forged native island botanicals such as gorse flowers, sweet cicely leaves, mugwort leaves and red clover flowers. Slow-distilled for 17 hours in a Lomond pot-still called “ugly betty”, the process yields enhanced floral and aromatic notes in a big and bold, gin, rich and mellow on the palate with citrus freshness.
The ease of this near perfect gin is that whatever the cocktail you choose to drink it in, the mixer or garnish added to your own taste should only be shared with those equally special friends or lovers. Thank you Caitlin and the team from Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar for this invaluable introduction and experience.
Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar: 219 Bree St, Cape Town, 8000 or follow them on Instagram: @mothers_ruin_gin_bar and Twitter: @MothersRuinCPT