Lifestyle: The gin explosion

South Africa’s nascent gin culture has seen exponential growth over the last couple of years, evident from the variety of gin bars and brands (both local and international) to be found, in Cape Town specifically. We unpack some of the trends in the industry.

Commenting on the global evolution of gin over the last couple of years, Travis Tober, global brand ambassador for Aviation American Gin, says, “The global gin market is on fire! The Asian market, especially, has embraced gin very quickly. With gin-focused bars in the region, there’s absolutely no slowing down.”

With so many an offering in the market, it’s important that brands distinguish themselves from competitors out there. “It’s imperative to stand out from the crowd,” says Travis. “With our gin, for example, we pioneered the ‘American’ or ‘western’ style: lighter juniper with the other botanicals working together. Our gin was also the first to be made with cocktails.”

Travis says one of the most interesting pairings is a glass of gin on the rocks with a lemon peel and buttered movie popcorn. “I know it sounds crazy, but it’s absolutely fabulous and really makes the movie-going experience way better.”

Travis’s top two gin trends

  • Old Tom will make a comeback. It first started coming back, but it was too early in the gin renaissance that people’s pallets weren’t ready for the complex taste.
  • Gin and club soda will be the go-to drink. My recipe: 443ml gin, 740ml Fever Tree club soda, a lime wedge and a green olive.