This is just the spirit for your seraglio or sundowner bungalow in Clifton, writes Neil Pendock
That salty old pirate Billy Bones knew he was done for when Blind Pew pushed the black spot into his palm in Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island. South African citrus got the same judgment from the EU when black spot fungus appeared in 2014, leading to a ban on exports of fruit grown in all provinces of South Africa except the Western Cape.
Now one man’s poison is another’s meat, and just as Lowveld citrus farmers were looking to semigrate to the Cape, that province’s wine farmers – caught in a vice of no-profit bulk wine exports, labour unrest and drought – were dropping like fruit flies.
Zandvliet in Robertson is a good example, and the Citrus Cartel swooped. Last year, vines were grubbed up and ClemenGolds – a fancy naartjie from Morocco – were planted.
The sweet and tangy fruit makes excellent marmalade and is a super botanical for boutique gins like this one, made by Mooi Cobus Joubert in Woodstock. This is just the spirit for your seraglio or sundowner bungalow in Clifton.
Mooi Cobus is from grape farming stock and launched his gin on the 75th anniversary of Oupa Schalk-Willem and some friends from the Tradouw Valley opening Barrydale Wynkelder en Stokery Beperk, home to Joseph Barry Brandy.
A century ago it was brandy that saved South African wine. Today gin is in favour and this one is up there with the best – one of colonialism’s finest contributions to an African lifestyle, with a funky label designed by Fanakalo in Stellenbosch.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Price: R350 per bottle
Where to buy? Citrusgin.co.za
This article was originally published in The Times.