Q&A with a gin maker
Owner and distiller of Rottcher Wineries Frank Theron has revamped his distillery and launched a variety of new drinks, including the delicious Limoncello Slush Puppy – with an alcohol content reduced to 7%. Next on his list is gin production.
Why gin? Gin is definitely the “in” drink at the moment. The nice thing about it is that the distiller can be creative and make up his own recipe. There are no hard and fast rules, which dictate the recipe. The only criteria is that it must be infused with juniper berries and have an alcohol content of over 38%. I am excited about using an orange based alcohol, as I don’t know of anyone else doing this.
Tell us about your orange-based gin? The prime ingredient for gin is juniper berries. Most gin is made from fermented grain, which is then distilled and infused with the various botanicals. There are a few distillers who are also making gin from grape based alcohol. I will be using my orange “wine” as the base. The gin will be double distilled and on the second distillation, it will be infused with nine botanicals.
How long does it take to make gin? The fermented product takes about five weeks and the distillation requires a day for each distilling run. So if I double distil, the process should take between five and six weeks. What will the alcohol content be? Around 43%, which is the norm. What other craft drinks can we look forward to? Once the gin is finished, I would like to experiment with a chocolate chilli liqueur and possibly a coffee and orange liqueur. All my drinks will be made from a citrus based alcohol.
INFO Rottcher Wineries at Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre, White River; 083 293 5001, www.rottcher.com