I have always had a passion for gin. Even if it makes me emotional sometimes, there is not much that a well made G&T can’t fix. Ice cold, the tonic hissing against your lips, the quinine making your taste buds pucker in anticipation, turning the gin blue against the light; a gin and tonic is a gorgeous drink, almost ethereal in colour and heavenly in taste.
Having recently celebrated my birthday, my significant other was kind enough to book us a spot each at a gin tasting. It was a thoughtful gift and a delightful experience. Time Anchor Distillery is a craft distillery situated in Maboneng Precinct. On the way there, I was certain that we were going in the wrong direction but as the bridge loomed nearer, so was the distillery tucked in between the large buildings. We used Uber but there was ample parking inside as well as a guard for security.
Time Anchor Distillery is a craft brewery that specialises small batched artisanal spirits. They host tastings in groups of up to 20; ours was a group of 12 which was ideal because it was more intimate and enjoyable.
The high ceilinged Tasting Room has beautiful copper floors which, upon closer inspection I realised were 5 cent pieces all lain next to one another and covered in resin. The coins amount to a total of R6000 which we were informed was how much the required industrial tiles would have cost. Each coin is a different colour so even though it is flat surface, the floor has texture and depth that boring old tiles wouldn’t be able to offer. There is also an L-shaped bar that we were seated at and from whence we experienced our tasting.
Some of the botantics resting on the amazing coin floor
View of the bar from behind
I won’t give away too much but the tasting ranged from passing around to sniff and taste the various botanics that are used in their gins to putting a piece of ginger between my teeth and sipping gin through it to experience a new depth to the alcohol. Different garnishes bring out previously hidden flavours when they are matched according to the various botantics used to distil the gin. For example if a gin is distilled with a particular botantic such as cucumber then you would want to use cucumber as a garnish. It sounds weird but ever noticed Hendricks gin served that way? Now you know why it works! The same would go for if lemon is a botanical then obviously a lemon garnish would work but you would mix it up and try any other sort of citrus. A world of flavours is hidden within each sip and it is up to you to discover it.
For those who don’t know, botantics are the various ingredients that make up a gin – the first and most important of course being the juniper berry which tastes like crap on its own by the way. Angelica root or coriander seeds are considered the two most important next to juniper and are sometimes called the ‘Holy Trinity’ in gin distilling. Thereafter the possibilities are endless. These are what give each gin its own unique flavour and many companies keep their botanics a close secret.
Sneak peek at the whiskey casks and distillation tools at the back
Time Anchor is a very active and ever growing distillery. Their grain based spirits are made using an artisanal mill and each bottle is filled and labelled by hand, meaning each batch is unique. Even more so when they experiment as with the Alchemy trials wherein they created the most delicious tasting Gincello liquer which is sweet and dessert like – best served cold. I purchased one on the day.
To end off the tasting, we were mixed up a gorgeous botanics gin which was a pure taste sensation and the perfect send-off after all of the gin knowledge that we had acquired.
Incredible G&T's and some of our own hand bottled gin
The Time Anchor Distillery tasting experience is a sit down, taste and discuss format. You get to taste up to 3 of their crafts gins followed by a craft cocktail or G&T and more insight into the fascinating world of craft distilleries. At only R150 for about an hour and a half of tasting and experiencing it is not to be missed. You also get to take home a 50ml gin which you get to bottle and label yourself just for authenticity. Booking is essential in advance so contact them on email@example.com for your taste extravaganza