Catch Gin & Tonic Fever
Considering the country's seen a steady rise in specialist gin bars and craft distilleries of late, it was only a matter of time before it also welcomed its first festival dedicated to this earthy spirit. The 'time' we speak of is Saturday 30 January 2016, when South Africa's inaugural G&T fair goes down at the Mason's Press building in Cape Town’s Woodstock. Botanical booze-loving folk have been so excited by this news that the first two batches of tickets to the festival sold out faster than you can say 'juniper berry', but a new set of special edition passes were released on Monday, 4 January, giving locals another chance to get in on the good times. The festival will feature the gins of around nine local micro distilleries and several overseas brands, with small-batch producers like the New Harbour Distillery, Jorgensen's, Hope on Hopkins, Musgrave and Bloedlemoen Gin, which launches to the public at the event, on the cards. Similarly, an assortment of artisanal tonics will also be available for sampling in combination with their handcrafted spirit counterparts. As much a taste experience as it is an educational one, the affair will be frequented by a number of gin experts and mixologists who will talk about all things gin. One of the most notable of these is Vincent Parisis, the Belgian founder of ginsonline.be, a mighty popular online shop that stocks hundreds of gins and tonics from around the globe. He will be imparting his wisdom and offering a few tasters of especially unusual gins. The good news for food fanatics is that there'll be handmade bites on offer to pair with the cocktails. And there's good news for Joburg-based gin lovers too: there are plans for the festival to make its way to Gauteng in the very near future. Just keep an eye on the fair’s Facebook page for the announcement of the date and venue. The special edition tickets to the Cape Town event cost R120 and can be bought via quicket.co.za; a balloon glass for tasting is included in the price.