From lunches and carols to markets and meeting Santa
Learn to make your own gin
Expert distillers guide you in designing the perfect bottle, from gin to label
Last updated: 24 October 2023
Love for wine is enriched when you learn more about your wines. That’s true for gin, too. At Distiller’s Union, you don’t only taste award-winning gins, you get to distil, create and bottle your very own, and even design the label. The experience, which happens in a working distillery, is best enjoyed as a group, as there’s also wood-fired pizzas, cocktails and ginger beers, which you can enjoy on the sunset deck.
Customise a bottle for yourself, or make a personalised gift. Image: Distiller's Union
WORKING DISTILLERY IN WOODSTOCK
The two-storey distillery is embellished with retro and industrial decor: Wooden tables, exposed brick, moody grey walls and giant copper stills where the gin is made. It’s home to brands like 5 Pence craft gin and Dragon Ginger, an alcoholic ginger beer, which are available for tastings.
Upstairs you’ll see smaller antique-style copper stills and glass bottles filled with spices, herbs, citrus and floral botanicals. That’s where the magic happens.
Take the time to look over (and sniff) all the bottles of ingredients. Image: Distiller’s Union
THERE ARE TWO GIN-MAKING COURSES
The standard course includes a guided gin-making experience, two drinks (a welcome drink and a personalised G&T made from your own gin) and the 500ml bottle of gin that you’ve made, labelled with a design you created yourself.
The deluxe experience includes all the above, along with edible glitter that you can mix in your gin, a branded copper straw, resin seal, and a gin tasting.
Expert distillers help you along the way. Image: Lara van Zyl
CREATE YOUR OWN UNIQUE FLAVOUR
To concoct the gin, all you need to do is stay within the “gin triangle”, made up of the core ingredients of juniper, coriander and angelica root. Besides those, you are free to make a gin to your taste. The gin experts recommend using between 3 and 10 ingredients.
The gin you create is only limited by your imagination. Some enjoy the citrus undertones of a sweet and fruity gin, while others love the spicy notes of coriander, peppercorns or ginger peel. Try to balance strong flavours (like buchu or chilli) with delicate ones (like cucumber or florals) – otherwise your gin will be overpowering and unbalanced.
You measure each ingredient with a syringe to equal 100mls in total. Image: Distiller’s Union
TASTE GIN OR GINGER BEER
There are also three tasting options. A guided gin-tasting experience with four neat gins, a garnish pairing, tonic and snack plate. You can do a tasting during your gin-making experience, or as an entire experience by itself.
There’s also a Dragon Ginger tasting with Dragon Original, Double Dragon and two Dragon Hard Seltzers (orange and berry).
The brave can do a Beast Tasting (a Double Dragon, a double shot of Cask Aged 5 Pence Gin, and Distillers Cut).
You can nibble on the snack platter while creating, tasting and learning the history of gin. Image: Distiller’s Union
PIZZA AND COCKTAILS ON THE DECK
While you wait for your gin to distil, you can order some wood-fired pizzas and hangout on the outside deck overlooking Table Mountain.
There’s a variety of pizzas, including Vegetariana (bell peppers, onion, mushrooms, black olives) to Salami and Bacon or Feta Avo. Enjoy it with a cocktail (made with in-house liquor), or Dragon Ginger. Or indulge in the homemade spirits from Distillers Union.
All pizzas come with freshly chopped garlic and chilli. Image: Distiller’s Union
TEAM BUILDING, YEAR END, BIRTHDAYS & MORE
The distillery has such a unique industrial aesthetic that it’s an ideal venue for a big corporate event, birthday celebration or bachelor/ette. As a function venue, Distillers Union can take up to 70 people. The gin making experiences can take up to 36 people.
You don’t need to book one of the experiences to host your party at the distillery (although it makes for an awesome party favour). For bookings you can preorder pizzas as part of the experience. You can even host brainstorming sessions, corporate meetings or team functions in the distillery.
The whole experience is great for any celebration or get-together. Image: Distiller’s Union
VISIT DISTILLER’S UNION
Distiller’s Union is open for experiences: Wednesday to Sunday, 11am - 5:30pm
Distiller’s Union is open for retail: Daily, 11am - 5:30pm
Find it: 156 Victoria Road, Woodstock, Cape Town
Book: via Distiller’s Union’s website or email@example.com
Cost: R595 for standard gin making experience; R750 for deluxe; from R130 for a tasting
Contact on: 021 447 2517, @distillersunion
Please note that to facilitate preparation no bookings will be accepted closer than 24 hours before the event. If you need to arrange a booking time slot that is not available online, email firstname.lastname@example.org
TASTE MORE OF WHAT CAPE TOWN HAS TO OFFER
While you're at it, book out Distiller's Union for your next big event.
Taste wine in a themed cave at Klein Roosboom.
Find more unique wine tastings around the Western Cape.
Go big on your birthday with one of these special places.
Discover what else you can do this weekend.