Forget everything you thought you knew about gin. Cape Town’s trendiest street, Bree, is home to the country’s first concept gin bar, Mother’s Ruin.
HL chatted to owner and ultimate gin-enthusiast Mark Mulholland about this latest venture:
For a lot of reasons: It’s the hottest, trendiest, most innovative spirit category right now. It’s accessible and easy to understand, so it’s reaching a younger audience. The great thing is that people have been pushing the boundaries of flavours and botanicals to add in the distilling process. It’s not just the juniper berry anymore. We’ve got crazy additions like baobab and green tea. They’re getting creative. We wanted that here.
Is this a new trend globally?
Absolutely. It’s super sexy right now. On recent trips to New York and Barcelona I noticed they’ve been hosting pop-up gin bars just for a season, so the spirit’s been getting a lot of attention on an international scale. We wanted to bring that here, since it hadn’t been done yet. We’re aiming to import 100 gins from around the world (so far we’re at 80). And most people don’t realise how many distilleries we have on our own continent. We’ve imported Ugandan gin, Ethiopian gin, Kenyan and Tanzanian gins.
Tell us about your Mother’s Ruin cocktails.
Our cocktails are designed from scratch and all tastings are done and approved by me. It’s all a bit of trial and error and experimentation. We’ve got cocktails like the Marmalade Tea, an infusion of green tea, homemade orange oil essence, bitters and marmalade. Or the Lawrence of Arabia which is a cocktail of honey, dates and tonic. Tonics are also huge right now! They’re also really affordable, about R48 for a delicous, one-of-a-kind cocktail (Also, most of our cocktails are 2 shots of gin… and the rest are 3!).
So what’s the concept?
The concept is there are 80 international gins to choose from. You choose your gin, one of 7 tonics and then your garnish of choice. These aren’t your average G&T’s. It’s the quintessential after-works drinks spot catering to a very foodie niche.
And what’s in the name?
That’s actually a pretty weird story. In 1700’s UK, gin, which was created initially as a cure for malaria, was the most abused drink across all classes. Mothers were literally selling themselves for money to buy more gin, and in fact 1 in 4 homes were being used as makeshift distilleries. It became known as the Mother’s Ruin since it caused so many orphans. We also happen to be just off of Orphan Street, so the name was destined.
WHAT TO EXPECT: A very chilled, low key affair with trendy decor and unpretentious atmosphere. Mark is super enthusiastic about gin and its history, so feel free to ask him what he knows and he’ll divulge all, letting you smell and experience all the different infusions. Very affordable cocktails, from R48 – R66.
X FACTOR: Charcuterie and tapas are served from 5 to 7pm to accompany those delicious cocktails.
WHERE: 219 Bree Street