Prohibition gin – helping folk dance since 1933
Hark back to the 1920s US hot jazz, speakeasies, flappers dancing the Charleston, and gin made in bathtubs to dodge the Prohibition police – with two new craft gins made not quite underground, but in an old mine building in Gauteng.
As with his Southern Moonshine range launched last year, ex-PE restaurateur Mark Taverner was inspired by the 1920s-era Prohibition ban in the US, with its tales of illegal liquor distilled under the cover of darkness and smuggled by moonlight, in the making of the new range ofProhibition craft and pink gins.
“Our Prohibition gins are made in the same style as back then. We like to think of it as helping folk dance since 1933!” he laughed, referring to the widely celebrated lifting of the ban.
The moonshines and gins from Taverner’s Silver Creek Craft Distillery are made in an old mine building in Randfontein, where everything is done the old-fashioned way by hand, each bottle numbered and signed by the distiller.
The craft gin – Mark describes it as fresh, crisp and happy – is infused with the traditional botanicals of juniper, coriander, lemon, angelica and cinnamon, as would have been used in Prohibition times.
Citrusy, fresh and smooth, the gin works well with a twist of orange, ice and good quality tonic. Take into cocktail territory with more fruit, fresh herbs, perhaps a piece of cinnamon stick or peppercorns, liqueurs and syrups – the possibilities are pretty much endless.
The pink gin has added infusions of raspberries and blueberries, hibiscus flowers and rose water for an aromatic drink that “conjures up images of an exotic eastern bazaar, with tantalising Turkish delight and crushed peppercorns”, according to Taverner.
Fortunately both taste a whole lot better than those Prohibition-era gins must have, as gin cocktails have their origin in the need to mask the unpleasant flavours of cheap grain alcohol, water and flavourings mixed up in the old-fashioned portable metal bathtub.
You can have your Prohibition Craft or Pink Gin mixed into a much classier cocktail at The Yellow Door at Bocadillo’s in 1st Avenue, Walmer or buy at bottle at R300 at Preston’s in Main Road Walmer for sundowner G&T’s or your own more elaborate inventions.