Thumbs Up/ Thumbs Down: Thumbs Up!
Price Range: R85/ tasting
Type: Craft Gin Distillery
Crowd: By Appointment
Day Of the Week: Saturday
Time: 3.00 pm
Address: 7 Hopkins Street, Salt River
Although perhaps a little left field for the Cape Town City blog, this review was inspired by an incredible afternoon spent in Salt River with some of the suburbs’ great local producers and so it only felt right to share.
About the Owners
Started around 3 years ago by an incredibly friendly Lucy and Leigh, Hope on Hopkins is a small craft Gin distillery in the heart of Salt River.
The idea to move to South Africa and start a craft Gin distillery was conceived while the pair were sat in a bar in Spain while on holiday. Asked by the barman “what type of Gin and Tonic they would like”, the two quickly realised that the simple Gin and Tonic was in fact not as simple as one may like to think. It was at this point that the two decided to dig a little deeper.
The now self-taught craft distillers decided shortly after returning from their Spanish holiday that the corporate life was simply no longer for them. They packed their bags and departed the UK, bound for Salt River, to get their distilling life in Cape town underway.
About the Distillery
When talking about artisanal/ craft production, the idea of small scale, owner-managed facilities comes to mind. Hope on Hopkins is the absolute epitome of this vision with two very passionate distillers at its helm. With a limited sized facility and just the minimal equipment to produce commercially, it will become quite clear to you how “artisanal” Hope’s production facility really is – allowing for a very intimate experience and appreciation for the process.
The “Hope” Tour & Tasting
Without giving away too much, I will let you know that a visit to the distillery in Salt River includes a tour of the distillery as well as a very interesting tasting, run by the owners themselves. With drinks offered neat and then paired with a variety of flavourful accompaniments, including mint, cloves and even grapefruit, the tasting gives you a good idea of how to best make and serve a good Gin & Tonic.
Hope on Hopkins, at the time of my visit, had 4 Gin’s which formed part of the tasting, including their “London Dry”, “Salt River”, “Mediterranean” and “Lucy’s Summer Gin”. All slightly different from one another, the tasting really gives you an appreciation for the time, consideration and effort that goes in to producing each drop of this clear majestic liquid.
Although I wish Lucy and Leigh all the success, I secretly “hope” that the distillery does not grow too quickly so as not to risk losing the artisan spirit shown by the duo. This spirit and care is so easily visible in their production process, as well as the interest and knowledge that they are so willing to share with those who share their enthusiasm for the craft.
As a casual Saturday day trip out or even a special occasion (perhaps for the avid Gin drinker’s birthday), an outing to visit Lucy and Leigh at Hope on Hopkins is a great decision all round and highly recommended. Perhaps if you are lucky, you will even get to sample some of the distilleries “coming soon” items. Bookings ahead are a necessity!
PS: Hope Gin has only been available for purchase since mid 2015, so it is still quite new and rare, but can now be found in several Cape Town bottle stores.