Ways to Dress up your Gin Cocktails this Summer!

Gin Cocktails

Summer is here and cocktail season is back! With so many delicious fruits and flowers back in season dressing up your gin cocktails has never been as easy. A colourful gin available in seven unique flavours and a kaleidoscope of colours ideal for experimenting with is Whitley Neill Gin.

SA’s top bartender and expert mixologist and owner of SIP Events, Owen O’Reilly, shares some of his best flavour combinations especially when experimenting with Whitley Neill’s variants – Protea and Hibiscus and Original. These garnishes are not only easy to source but also easy to make at home. Get ready to wow your guests at your next summer soiree.

Pairing Whitley Neill Protea and Hibiscus

Strawberry and basil, or guava and mint pairs beautifully with the fruitiness of the hibiscus and the floral notes from the protea. Or try fresh pineapple to complement the back notes of cardamom and coriander.

Pairing Whitley Neill Original

Try using a classic garnish like a twist of orange and maybe some rosemary. Or for something different yellow pepper and tonka bean grated over the top. Or fennel flower boasting some anise chocolate notes to pair with the gooseberry and baobab in the gin.

What you can find in the garden.

  • Vine tomatoes grow like weeds and so are easily found in most gardens at this time of the year. They are unusual and therefore eye-catching as a garnish.
  • Lavender is always a beautiful touch and so are fresh rose petals. They look great and add subtle hints of flavour.
  • Star Jasmin is a wonderful aromatic addition and grows in abundance for just a few days at the beginning of Summer.
  • Citrus pelargonium grows everywhere in the Western Cape and adds a fantastic aroma and looks amazing with a cocktail.
  • Fresh cucumber, if you grow them and maybe fresh basil are excellent garnishes too.

 Summer cocktail trends worth noting.

  • More women tend to enjoy cocktails with low sugar or that are not too sweet and you can achieve this by using fresh fruit in the cocktails instead of fruit syrups.
  • A big trend is using everyday ingredients found in the garden that is free of pesticides to lighten up a drink so it can be enjoyed any time of the day.
  • Lower alcohol or low abv drinks and tall refreshing drinks like Gin, soda and fresh citrus with some herbs are all the rage. The idea is to just experiment, and see where your flavour combinations will take you.

Whitley Neill Gin comes in seven variants. Try Raspberry, Blackberry, Blood Orange, Lemongrass & Ginger or Original London dry-style gin. And for an African-inspired tipple try Aloe & Cucumber, a vibrant, yet complex gin distilled with fresh and earthy cucumber and aloe that is endemic to the Karoo or wet your lips with the distinctly purple Protea & Hibiscus gin that fuses protea and hibiscus flowers into a smooth, floral gin that is produced and sold exclusively in South Africa.

The Original – which received Double Gold at the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and Gold at the 2022 London Spirits Competition – is distilled using Cape gooseberries and the tart notes of baobab fruit to produce a soft, smooth gin popping with notes of juniper and citrus.

Whitley Neill Gin is available at most leading liquor retailers and online at Takealot and Liquor Drop (www.liquordrop.co.za).