Yep, you read right! I went to Gin School at the Wilderness Hotel with RPRX (Real People, Real Experiences) and graduated with flying colours. My brother invited me a long to the intro class hosted by Inverroche. I first thought we are just going to a tasting but as soon as I found out it was a tasting AND gin school I was super excited. We started the evening with Gin School where we got to make our own bottle of gin and ended it with a biltong and gin tasting where we paired the gin with some biltong.
What is Gin School
Gin School is a journey which is part science and part personal creativity where you select your own combination of botanicals to create your very own gin infusion. Once you’ve fired-up your small copper pot still, you will record, taste, observe and measure the spirit as the concentrated vapours start to flow from the condenser into your spirit glass. When the last drop has emerged from your mini-still you will measure your distilled spirit and personally bottle the liquid, before naming your gin with your own limited edition label.
My Own Gin
There was so much information to take in that I actually didn’t even know where to start this post! We each got a mini workstation with a small copper still, a range of base botanicals mixed with top note botanicals and a tray filled with additional botanicals to choose from to create our infusion. The base contained flavours like juniper, orange zest and cassia and it was mixed either to be Floral, Citrus, Herbal, Cool or Spicy.
I wanted to make a strawberry and chocolate gin so with a little help I went with the Floral Mix – Lavender, Rose Malva, Wild Dagga (and no it’s not family of what you all are wondering ) and Kooigoed. To this I added some Strawberry, Crushed Cacao Nibs, Raisins and Coconut.
After all the ingredients got selected everything went into a cloth that got tied up with a string and bruised a bit to release the flavours. This then went into the still that had heat underneath and the waiting game began. The first 20ml is called a foreshot and had to be discarded. Then the tasting of my own gin began, as the time passed we tasted drops and could experience all the flavours developing. When the beaker reached 250ml the gin started tasting watered down and this is called the tails. The last step is to then dilute the gin with distilled water to get your 500ml. I wanted mine pink and hibiscus got added where it then got filtered and bottled.
Before being watered down my gin measured a 93% alcohol content. This was the highest in the class and totally insane if you think I’ve been tating that!
The finished product is a creamy semi sweet gin. It has lovely chocolate notes and a hint of strawberry, and it’s pink! The other gin was made by my brother and had a citrus twist going on.
Gin Tasting with Biltong Pairing
After Gin School we had a Inverroche tasting and paired some gin with biltong. Inverrroche is known for their Fynbos Gin Collection that includes their Gin Classic, Gin Verdant and Gin Amber.
- Classic – This gin is crisp complex and was paired with springbok
- Verdant – This gin is fresh and flowery and was paired with eland
- Amber – This gin is rich and aromatic and was paired with kudu
We also got to taste the Inverroche Black Strap seven year old rum that was paired with dark chocolate. The highlight for me however was the liqueur. This botanique liqueur that tasted like turkish delight. Yum! We ended off with a lovely glass of gin and tonic.