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Learn to make your own gin
Master distillers will guide in making the perfect bottle to suit your taste
Distiller’s Union is a working distillery where you don’t only taste award-winning gins, you get to distill, create and bottle your very own. You’ll choose the percentage of alcohol, flavor profile, colour and even design the label. Distiller’s Union shares the distillery with Sweet River Brewery, a local craft beer company, which also serves wood-fired pizzas, which you can enjoy on the sunset deck.
You can customise a bottle for yourself, or it makes a lovely personalized gift. Image: Lara van Zyl
CREATE YOUR OWN UNIQUE FLAVOUR
All you need to do is stay within the “gin triangle”, says Simon von Witt, Distiller's Union co-founder. The triangle is made up of the core ingredients of juniper, coriander and angelica root. Besides those, you are free to make a tipple to your taste. Some enjoy the citrus undertones of a sweet and fruity gin, others the botanical fragrance that comes from juniper berries, while still others love the spicy notes of coriander, peppercorns or ginger peel.
You measure each ingredient with a syringe to equal 100mls in total. Image: Distiller’s Union
As you walk inside you'll notice several small, antique-style, copper-pot stills in the middle of the table. That's where the magic happens. As you settle into your seat, take the time to look over – and sniff, if you like – all the bottles of spices, citrus, herbs and floral botanicals placed around the stills.
Each ingredient is stored in an alcohol solution and contained in an assortment of glass bottles and containers. Image: Distiller’s Union
CHOOSE AGIN-MAKING COURSE
There are two gin-making experiences you can choose from, the standard course and the deluxe. The standard course includes a guided gin-making experience; two drinks (including a personalised gin cocktail made with your gin and garnish of choice); a snack platter of olives, crispy corn and biltong; and a 500ml bottle of gin, filled with the spirit you concocted, and labeled with a design you created yourself. The deluxe experience includes all the above, along with a gin tasting that makes for a great weekend celebration.
You can nibble on the snack platter while creating or tasting your gin. Image: Distiller’s Union
TOUR THE WORKING DISTILLERY
While you wait for your gin to distill, you get creative with a name for your gin and design your own label with the coloured pens and labels provided. After about 15 to 20 minutes the alcohol will be distilled and you can decant your gin into a bottle, select your alcohol percentage and brand your special gin with your labels.
Knowledgeable staff members help you along the way. Image: Distiller’s Union
Since you’re in a working distillery and beer brewery, take some time to look around and watch the artisans in action. You’ll notice Sweet River Brewery beer as you walk in – you can even smell the sweet malt in the air.
The whole experience is great for any celebration or get-together; you can even book out the whole distillery for a big event. Image: Distiller’s Union
STAY FOR BEER-TASTING AND PIZZA
All this gin-making and exploring can work up an appetite, so we recommend ordering some wood-fired pizza from Sweet River Brewery. It can be ordered with your booking and brought to you while you are making your gin and doing a tasting.
Or, if you’d prefer it after gin-making, you can sit and marvel at your creation or mingle on the balcony, which has views of Table Mountain. At the far end, there’s a large wood-fired pizza oven and a couple of high tables and stools to enjoy your Sweet River Brewery pizza or beer.
Or you can pop down to the brewery and do a beer tasting. The guided and informative tasting experience includes four 200ml Sweet River Brewery beers, including pale ale, lager, IPA; one 500ml beer of your choice and one wood-fired pizza. There is also a range of Hopmans craft beers.
Ranjit Gaind established Sweet River Brewery in 2017. Image: Distiller’s Union
WHEN + WHERE TO GO
Distiller’s Union is open: Wednesday + Thursday, 8am - 6pm; Friday + Saturday, 10am - 9pm
Find it: 156 Victoria Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
Book: via Distiller’s Union’s website
Contact on: 021 447 2517, Instagram: @distillersunion + @sweetriverbrewery
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