Gin is very much a global spirit, with no geographic limitations. The craft spirits boom of the last decade has flooded the market with hundreds, even thousands of new gins. But while brands from the US and UK continue to dominate, there are unique gins being produced throughout the world. Case in point: our selection this quarter, Bayab Gin, distilled in South Africa and comprising botanicals from throughout the African continent.
Bayab Orange & Marula Gin
Origin: KwaZulu-Natal province, South Africa
Bayab Gin is inspired by the baobab tree, also known by its nickname, “the tree of life.” Native to the African Savannah, the tree plays an important role in African communities, providing nourishment and shelter. Found in more than thirty countries across the continent, it can live for 5,000 years and grow to be 50 meters wide. Due to their ability to capture and store water, baobab trees are able to endure harsh drought conditions. Their fruit is incredibly rich in vitamin C, antioxidants and other nutrients and its tangy and sweet taste is the basis for Bayab’s three gin expressions, one of which is their Orange & Marula Gin.
The gin begins as a neutral grain spirit distilled in copper pot stills, to which baobab fruit, orange peel, marula fruit, juniper berries, coriander, rosemary, cinnamon, and coarse salt are added and left to steep for 14 days. The macerated spirit is then filtered to remove the solids and re-distilled with water from Lions River in KwaZulu-Natal. Now between 80% and 85% alcohol by volume, it is brought down to 43% ABV using demineralised water.
Spearhead Spirits, Bayab’s parent company, invests in community development across South Africa. They have partnered with the non-profit organization uMthombo, which helps children and young adults living in poverty learn life skills through sports and other activities. Founder Chris Frederick ran a successful bar group and spent time as an international basketball player and NBA agent. His co-founder Damola Timeyin is a brand and marketing expert and author who has worked with global spirits group Pernod Ricard, among others. Bayab Orange and Marula was awarded a gold medal at the 2022 San Francisco Wine & Spirits competition.
Distillery: Midlands Distillery
Baobab fruit from Ghana & Zambia, juniper from Kenya, coarse salt from Botswana, orange peel, Marula fruit, cinnamon, coriander, and
rosemary from South Africa
Fresh citrus notes of orange, grapefruit and sherbet. Refreshing with a hint of sweetness on the palate.
The Gin and Juice
2 ½ oz Bayab Orange & Marula Gin
1 oz Pineapple Juice
Fresh squeezed lime
Add gin to a highball glass filled with ice. Top with juices and stir. Garnish with a slice of lime.
2 oz Bayab Orange & Marula Gin
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
½ oz Triple Sec
1-2 dashes Orange Bitters
Stir all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.