Thirsty? R40 000 will buy you SA’s rarest and most exclusive cocktail

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To announce the start of Summer, and what Hendrick’s Gin calls the “Gin O’Clock season”, a very special cocktail was unveiled this week at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town. 

The Scottish brand of gin, known for it’s uniquely flavoured gin (which is particularly delicious with cucumber) has collaborated with a handful of South African brands to create the ultimate premium gin cocktail experience available to only 3 South Africans, which can be yours for R40 000. 

The theme is “unusual, premium, small batch, and hand-crafted”, and when you hear some of the ingredients you’ll understand the hefty price tag.

Hendrick’s Gin South Africa Brand Ambassador and master mixologist Marson Strydom is the mind behind this creation, as he carefully oversaw every aspect of the ”Something Marvellously Unusual” cocktail.

The cocktail contains components from some of South Africa’s most well-known brands such as Klein Constantia Vin de Constance, handmade ceramics from Ardmore Ceramic Art and a custom distilled tonic water by Barker and Quin. 

Add to that recipe ice blocks made from Svalbard Norwegian glacier water (the world’s most awarded, purest and most expensive bottled water,), a splash of Hennesey XO and of course - small batch distilled Hendricks gin and just a sprinkle of saffron strands. 

The tonic water, of which there are only 12 bottles, was created by hand by oenologist Dr. Hanneli van der Merwe, South Africa’s first female Doctor of Wine and managing director of Barker and Quin.

We were invited to taste a “near-replica” of the cocktail because of course, only 3 people can ever enjoy the final product. It has a rich golden yellow colour (from the saffron) with scents of lime peel, with the buchu and honeybush coming through strongly but pleasantly. The tonic combined with the hand distilled vermouth added a bitter, tannin-like kick which balanced the drink out quite nicely. It was reminiscent of a very expensive, boozy iced tea. 

The drink is served in a handmade ceramic trophy shaped goblet, each unique and deeply layered in texture and symbolism. Animals, flowers and fruit are prominent motifs and the goblets themselves bring a sense of Alice in Wonderland meets enchanted forest meets high-end cocktail bar. The drink is finished off with a touch of gold leaf, naturally. 

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Good news for the rest of us: Hendricks is also releasing a series of seasonal cocktails at a much more quaffable price. 

“While the Something Marvellously Unusual cocktail experience will only be enjoyed by less than a handful of people, the Hendrick’s Gin official 2018 summer cocktail selection will be available in all participating bars and restaurants. 

These cocktails include the ever popular and always unusual Hendrick’s Gin and Tonic, The Hendrick’s Gin Buck, The Hendrick’s Orchard Collins, and the Hendrick’s Gin Mule. While these cocktails certainly won’t cost you R40 000, once you’ve tasted them, you would probably agree that they should,” concludes Stemmett with a wry smile. 

The Hendrick’s Gin ”Something Marvellously Unusual” will be sold at Marble in Johannesburg, the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, and The Oyster Box Hotel in Umhlanga.

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