In celebration of a woman-led spirits company, one that began with an idea in England and evolved into a full-fledged powerhouse alcohol brand, Musgrave is our choice for the top South African gin of 2021. Simone Musgrave is the guardian of the recipes and proprietor of Musgrave’s incredible gin varieties. We were lucky enough to try her small batches while in town and fell madly in love with each and every flavor. Since 2015 the brand has impressed connoisseurs throughout the world and has brought them to Africa to see what all the hype is about.
Cape Town is like a second home to me, a city that I love through and through. Being that the city has so many influences, there is a bevy of local products that are particular of the area and not found many other places. Before traveling to South Africa for the first time in 2005, I wasn’t a gin fan. It was too herbal for me and often tasted too much like pine. It wasn’t until I began sampling gins in South Africa that I realized they do it better and some really stand out above the rest.
Musgrave makes all their gin in small batches. This is not a spirits company that finds itself trying to maximize volume but, instead, quality as each bottle is made. They also make brandies, which are incredibly unique and specialized. I tasted each variety offered of gin and brandy and was truly blown away.
Musgrave offers two gins, the Original 11 – which is composed of 11 unique botanicals that reference the ancient African spice route. This gin is so delicate, so aromatic it is absolutely incredible. It is perfect for your classic gin and tonic with a large slice of lime, orange or grapefruit – and a sprig of rosemary. The Original 11 is a true masterpiece.
The second gin is the absolutely fabulous Pink gin. This gin takes a gin and tonic and kicks it up a notch. A rose gin with 12 botanicals and notes of pink peppercorn and kefir lime – I can’t get enough. This gin is perfect for serving a beautiful cocktail to guests with a sprig of thyme. You can even infuse it with muddled berries if you wish.
Musgrave’s brandies are very special. They offer two, the Copper Black Honey and Copper Vanilla. The Copper Black Honey is deep and rich, with added flavor from honey found in the forests of Zambia. The Copper Vanilla is delicate and flavored with African vanilla – perfect with a touch of sparkling water and lemon.
Musgrave is an impressive brand – unlike any other. I really love the woman-led aspect and see Simone as a true trailblazer on the continent of Africa. For anyone looking for incredible gins and brandies with an inspiring story and quality ingredients, Musgrave is it.