Salt River, Cape Town
Hope on Hopkins Distillery is a small artisanal distillery in the heart of Cape Town that prides itself on truly crafting its own spirits. Unlike many gin distillers we make some of our gins from scratch ourselves, so that you know where it (and our carefully sourced quality ingredients) comes from. We’re one of the few distilleries in the world using barley as the base for our spirit, which we cook, ferment over several days and then triple distil to make our base neutral spirit for our London Dry and Salt River Gins. We then go on to distil a fourth time, allowing the alcohol vapours to infuse through select botanicals.
We are the proud owners of the first stills to be licensed by the City of Cape Town: Mildred and Maude. We’ve now added to our line up with a further pot still and also have a little experimental still which we use for recipe development.
A large stainless steel pot still, named after Leigh’s grandmother, Mildred is the hard worker. She not only strips the spirit from the fermented grain – a long day’s work for an old lady – but is also used for the ginning runs: when a botanical basket is fitted above the pot, through which the alcohol vapour passes.
Maude is a true beauty, named in honour of Lucy’s grandmother who was beautiful and sophisticated. She is an 8 plate rectification still – the still is stainless steel, but plates are copper – in which the spirit is distilled a further two times, to ensure maximum smoothness.
We make our base spirit using 100% South African grown malted barley. Our gins are then infused using a range of botanicals including:
Juniper, an essential ingredient in all gins, currently sourced from Tuscany, where it is harvested from the hillsides once a year, the ripe berries beaten out of the trees. While juniper is available in South Africa, most of it doesn’t produce berries with enough essential oils to create great flavour
Angelica root, another botanical common to most gins, sourced from Belgium and responsible for marrying together the flavours of all the other botanicals used
Coriander, a favourite ingredient among distillers: the oil from the seed is the perfect blend for booze, faintly woody yet dominated by citrus flavours, which perfectly complements the juniper. We source our Coriander locally from the Cape
Citrus, including organic lemon and orange zest from the Cederberg. Our peel is hand peeled and hung up to dry in the sun
Herbs, grown in the winelands just outside Franschhoek
Mimo, the Distillery cat
Every good distillery needs a cat and Mimo is delighted to have been relocated from a rainy Islington flat to a large warm and sunny warehouse in Salt River. Tasked with keeping the barley free from prying mice, he spends most of his days curled up on the couch upstairs, but does do his daily rounds checking that all in the distillery is in place and good working order.
Mimo was suitably unimpressed when he was joined by a younger brother, rescued from a beach in Elands Bay. Martini is desperate to win Mimo over, but when he’s tired of trying to impress you can find him asleep in the Tasting Room.
Mr. Scruff, the rescue pup
A visit to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market to pick up olives for our Mediterranean Gin saw us falling in love with a rescued pup, who we adopted (from Sidewalk Specials) and he has now joined the Distillery team. Mr Scruff – no longer mange ridden so not quite as scruffy – is always about to welcome you.