Botha’s Hill gin connoisseur Bronwyn Ablett talks mixers, botanicals and stem wear coasters – added extras that’ll make your gin-ventive cocktail look extra special.
With the growing appetite for gin around the world, gin botanicals have become a trendy and adventurous means of creating new and unique flavours to enjoy. “They are all the flavour. They are an opportunity to tell a story about the place and the way that they grow and, in my case, a journey from events coordinator to pimp-your-gin connoisseur,” laughs Bronwyn.
As her work opportunities were hit hard by Covid, Bronwyn’s initial fun idea soon turned into a fabulous side-hustle that now sees her marketing carefully crafted gin infusion kits.
“The idea sprang from some gifts I bought in 2019 for friends who are avid gin drinkers. I found a small box at the local bottle store that had four different dried ingredients to add to their gins. It was a master stroke as they all wanted more. But I discovered the kits were not being imported any more, so I decided to create some.”
In the initial black box, there were (and still are) eight ingredients that change according to seasons, and over time, Bronwyn’s created a variety of new and different gifting options.
“Each infusion kit comes with a ‘cheat card’ – an explanation of the ingredients for each delicious flavour that guides the aspirant cocktail mixer as to what botanicals go with which types of gin and so you can also choose depending on your mood!”
Some sets contain a cocktail glass shining cloth and stem wear coasters as added extras, but the aromatic botanicals speak for themselves.
“Gin is eye catching in a fabulous round glass with fruit and spices floating in it – enjoyed any time, with anyone you fancy chilling with. The garnish (of which citrus is the most popular) not only makes it look enticing, but also adds that moreish flavour. Trust me, once you open the jars and that smell wafts out, it gets really exciting!”
The botanicals taste good too (we had a nibble while photographing them), and we can’t wait to munch on them once they’re all plump and juicy from floating in our next delicious gin!
“There is a best before date and allergy warnings on the back of each card and all the dried fruit, from Robertson in the Cape, is dried naturally without using sulphur. The freeze dried flowers and petals are from a small farm in Balgown in the Midlands and the spices are from a secret haven up the north coast. The boxes are all hand made from recycled cardboard and the glass jars can be recycled as well.”
“This is still very small so not self-sustaining as yet, but I never say die to something new. I am still doing events when they come my way, but I’m really loving being adventurous and helping others do the same, especially since we are able to mingle and socialise more. To that I say cheers!”
A new spin on gin
Bronwyn shares two of her favourite gin cocktail recipes which she says are ideal to add a warm touch to any beautiful Durban sunset this time of the year.
Warm Gin Cocktail
You’ll need: 50ml Sloe gin; 150ml apple juice; 50 to 100ml freshly squeezed orange juice, to taste; 1 tsp cranberry jelly (optional); a cinnamon stick; any additional festive spices of your choice: try star anise, cloves or cardamom pods, orange slices and/or fresh cranberries to garnish
To make: Add the juices, jelly and spices to a pan, heat gently, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until the jelly has dissolved. Remove from the heat, strain into your glass, and then top up with Sloe gin. Garnish with a slice of orange and/or a few fresh cranberries; you can also pop a fresh star anise or cinnamon stick in, for added flavour.
Gin Sherry Cobbler
You’ll need: 15ml gin; 60ml Fino Sherry; 15ml lemon juice; 10ml syrup; 2 orange slices, plus one to garnish; cinnamon stick and Maraschino cherry to garnish
To make: Fill a tumbler with crushed ice and set aside. In a cocktail shaker, add all of the ingredients, keeping back one slice of orange for your garnish. Fill the shaker with ice, shake well, then strain into the glass. Garnish and serve.
And just what options are there:
Little Black Box – for the person who has it all – with eight botanical garnishes in glass jars. This is a nice masculine gift as well.
Gift Bags in white or black – with botanical garnishes in glass jars and a cocktail branded glass shining cloth.
Stack Boxes – in black and craft with Citrus/Spice and Fruit botanicals.
Glam Your Glass – for any celebration drink. These are individual infusion sachets. There are seven different variants each with two botanicals in them. They’re also great as table favours for celebrations or social distancing parties.
Craft Infusion Sachets – a pack of four with four botanicals in each – gift these with a bottle of gin or keep them in your cupboard for when you need to impress guests with your cocktail skills.
BUY The gift boxes are priced from R310 to R420, and sachets are R35 for individuals and to R150 for the four craft pack. Bronwyn also does refills, so if you like a few specific botanicals you can get a refill pack with just the ones you want. Details: pimp-your-gin.co.za
Photos: PENNY KATZ PHOTOGRAPHY, pennykatzphotography.myportfolio.com, 083 214 0692
We’ve got four Pimp-your-Gin black boxes (with eight ingredients) in each, to giveaway to some of our gin-drinking moms.