The world’s first floral rum comes from South Africa. “Suncamino”, meaning “journey to the sun”, is aged for up to eight years and infused with hibiscus, honeybush, and orange blossom.
Says Stewy Van Der Berg who founded the premium. Africa rum brand with Inus Smuts: “We created Suncamino to inspire moments of storytelling. We wanted to bottle and share the feeling of Cape Town where wild, picturesque landscapes meet an eclectic mix of cultures, tastes, sounds, and sights.”
Caribbean sugarcane molasses is fermented using South African Distillers yeast, distilled in both pot and column stills. The signature blend is then tropically aged in French oak, ex-bourbon barrels in Barbados before traveling to South Africa’s Cape Floral Langdon for the final floral touches.
Although there are good South African rums like “Copeland”, “Mhoba”, “Whistler and Pretoria’s 25 Degrees South, South African gin is making a name for itself.
In the same famously botanic region, another South African gin is made with “fynbos”, the diverse floral vegetation unique to the Cape area. Inverroche uses hand-harvested lead botanicals like sour fig, citrus buchu, and African sage.
One of the mountainous, rocky terrain “fynbos” used is Helichrysum Petiolare, more commonly known in South Africa as Kooigoed or Imphepho – it has a soft delicate floral note, which gives the Inverroche Verdant gin its earthy undertones.
The brand takes its name from the combination of the Scottish word “inver” meaning ‘a confluence of water’ and the French word “Roche” meaning ‘rock or stone’.
Kenya also boasts “Procera Gin”. Made with a wild high-altitude, equatorial Juniperus procera (tall juniper) harvested by the local community in the highland forest of Kijabe. The Nairobi-distilled gin which comes in a hand-blown “Kitenegale Hot Glass” bottle has already won gold twice at the prestigious San Francisco spirits awards.
According to Procera’s founder, Guy Brennan “Mango wood gives you the smell of sweet popcorn when you go to the movies and would work well with a Bourbon.”
The Procera tree only grows at altitudes higher than one mile above sea level, helping its berries to develop distinctive nutty and savory characteristics. “Procera is proudly African, distilled at Kenya’s first craft distillery,” adds Brennan. “With our unique blend of botanicals and ingredients, it is the ultimate expression of the African terroir – from the plains of Morocco in the northwest to the Indian Ocean islands in the southeast.”
Procera Blue Dot Gin has already picked up a variety of awards, winning gold medals at 2019, 2020, and 2021 San Francisco World Spirits Competitions. Bottled at 44% ABV, Procera Gin is priced at $84.99 per 750ml bottle.
The continent’s other gin includes the rosewater “Musgrave”, “Muti” (the Zulu word for medicine). Cape Town’s “Empire Gin”, the mandarin “ClemenGold”, “Red Rooibos”, The Deep South Distillery’s mountain buchu-infused and Spice Island Gin, a tribute to the aromatic heritage of Zanzibar and other Indian Ocean spice islands, the Du Plooy brothers’ “Die Soet Rooinek Cherry Gin,” “Die Mas Kalahari Dry Gin” infused with naartjie, pomegranate and the Kalahari truffle, “Hope Gin”, “Blind Tiger“ named after the Prohibition Speakeasies, aloe blossom “Magalies Classic Jorgensen”, “Wixworth’s Gin using “renosterbos”, “Woodstock” and the world’s first blood orange gin, “Bloedlemoen”.
And finally, the world’s first elephant dung gin! Savannah vegetation gives “Indlovu Gin” its uniquely wooded, earthy flavors.