Stewart Berry, owner of Bryanston based liquor store Berry and Bottles has a little secret up his sleeve. Not only does his store stock a large and varied alcohol range, but he also happens to own some of them.
Imagin gin caught my eye as soon as I walked in, not only because of the lovely bottles and strategic placement, but because I had never seen or heard of this gin before.
“This gin was brought out into market specifically to compete with products like Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire. We want people to support local without having to pay the international price,” explained Stewart.
The price point is incredible at only R270 for a 750ml bottle, there is no locally produced gin of that size that falls into the same price range. “We just wanted people to have the taste of local without trying to rip the customer off.”
Stewart does not distill the gin himself but rather outsources that task, only sharing costs and organising sundries. It is a unique way of doing things that frees him up to focus on orders and also allows for the unbeatable price of the gin. Although very secretive on the topic. he did let slip that there some future plans for another gin that we can look forward to as well.
Imagin is a classic gin which allows for the consumer to try the spirit in a variety of styles. They did not wish to be restricted by a more niche and bold flavour which is successful for many other brands, but can also be almost limiting as there are a very finite number of flavours and botanicals that can be paired with a very rooibos or very spiced gin for example. Imagin is restricted only by the imaGINation in that the pairing possibilities are almost endless.
The flavour profile is orange and coriander made with a one potstill process but it does not mean that the gin itself is orange flavoured. These botanicals serve to tone down any floral or intense flavours in the gin, again making it soft and palatable.
It’s more of an everyday drinking gin with serving suggestions of your personal favourite tonic, lemon or cucumber. That being said, that they do want people to experiment with the gin and it is for this reason that there are no specific recipes that dictate how Imagin Gin should be served, only suggestions of what could work, allowing you as the consumer to pick your pairings.
In terms of fruits, Stewart does recommend those with skins such as strawberries, which will hold their own in the gin. It is best to add the fruit first, pour the gin and finally add the tonic.
The subtleness of this gin does mean that once you have paired it with your choice of garnishes, it begins “to taste like more,” in Stewart’s words. Meaning you can have a number of them in a row and not feel it until you stand up, which is exactly my kind of gin.
Imagin Gin is available in select stores but can always be found at Berry and Bottles Liquor Store in Bryanston.
Check out their website and Facebook page for more info