If you love gin and fancy starting off your weekend in style, then The Conservatory at the swish 12 Apostles Hotel & Spa is definitely the place to be on a Friday evening!  

When is it? 
Every Friday at 17h00. Booking is essential.  

Where is it? 
The Conservatory at 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa, Victoria Road, Cape Town.   

How much does it cost? 
R495 per person.  

Why should I go?
Not only do you get to taste top-class gins while scoffing delicious canapés at a super-stylish establishment, you also get to learn about the different styles of gin and the gin-making process, along with taking home a small bottle of your personally handcrafted gin.  

Bookings are essential. Go to the Facebook event page, or call them on (021) 437 9029. You can also visit their website for more information. 

For some reason, whenever I have a date at the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa, the South Easter shows up in all her fury. Thankfully the venue for their recently launched Gin-Making Experience was in The Conservatory, so I could still enjoy the fabulous views of the ocean and mountain through the giant windows without being swept away! What did sweep me away however, was the the fantastic array of delicious gins and beautifully crafted canapés on offer.  After all, what else would you expect from this swish hotel? The experience doesn’t come cheap, but it’s a wonderfully stylish way to get the weekend started and you’ll long forget the price tag after your first sip of pink gin dotted with rose petals paired with a pretty pink macaroon!

I don’t want to give too much away, otherwise there would be little point in you going, but you can expect the following experience and more during this two hour indulgence:  

  • A “Lavender Love” welcome drink – pink gin infused with cucumber, strawberry jam, lime and fresh lavender from the hotel garden – accompanied by seared tuna drizzled with Wasabi mayonnaise and topped with caviar.
  • A tasting of three gins, including Woodstock Inception and Inverroche Amber gins. You get to taste the gins neat, then add various botanicals (think rose petals, orange peel, cinnamon or thyme) and finally a tonic water, including Fitch & Leeds and Woodstock Tonic.
  • Pairings are both savoury and sweet and include a mini braai broodtjie, smoked springbok tartare, salmon roulade with cream cheese, turkish delight and macaroons. There are also bowls of olives, coated peanuts and savoury corn kernels to nibble on.  Note: They do cater for almost all dietary requirements, including Halal, vegetarian and vegan, but 24 hours notice is required. That said, a member of our group forgot to mention she was vegetarian, so they quickly put together a lovely nibble selection and prepared a cheese board for her too – which we happily helped her with! 
  • You will learn all about the gin-making process and how important juniper berries are! They also have a botanicals tray on your table with all the major botanicals used in making gin, including star anise, lemon peel, coriander, cardamom, hibiscus, rose petals and of course juniper berries.
  • After enjoying your gin, rose petals, cucumber slices and canapés, you get the opportunity to make your own bottle of gin, choosing from a selection of juniper berries (mandatory, otherwise it wouldn’t taste or smell like gin!) star anise, fennel seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, thyme, orange peel and lavender.  You can then take your creation home and enjoy it after a few days.
  • You are also welcome to try any of the gins they have on offer, including The Botanist, Jorgensens, Tanquerey, Clemengold, Wixworth, The Elephant and Monkey 47. Take your time and enjoy!

Added to all of this is your charming host, Angus van Aarde, who is both the Leopard Bar Manager and Mixologist extraordinaire! It’s thanks to Angus that this event takes place as he loves gin and he’s only too happy to add more gin (or tonic) to your glass (cheers to that)! He’s extremely knowledgeable with a great sense of humour and I daresay that without him guiding you through your gin tasting, petal picking and gin-making, the evening wouldn’t be half as much fun. If you do go, ask him what the next big thing in craft beverages is going to be – he’s in the know!

Inside information:
Did you know that the Leopard Bar adjoining The Conservatory is pet-friendly? In fact you can have your dog stay over with you too. Just be nice to Ingwe, the much-loved hotel cat, whose nose gets a little out of joint when her space gets canine visitors!  

Published January 2018 | Hosted by 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa