During our annual Summer holiday in December in the picturesque coastal town of Stillbay, South Africa, we visited Inverroche distillery situated on the outskirts of this sleepy town. I’ve heard plenty about Inverroche’s excellent gins before but have never tried them myself so I was very, very excited about going on the distillery tour. First of all, this is probably one of the most photogenic establishments I’ve ever photographed. Every nook and cranny was stylish and just so beautiful. We were taken to the back of the distillery where the staff were bottling gin and going on with their work while we stood in between them learning how this very small distillery started out and how they’ve grown. We were introduced to “Magnanimous Meg” (the 1000 litre capacity copper pot still in which their gin, brandy and cognac are produced) and taken through the entire process.
What makes Inverroche so special is that they use the local fynbos surrounding the distillery to flavour their gin which gives it an original flavour, not found in any other gin. The fynbos gives the gin a wonderfully floral aroma and taste which in turn makes the gin incredibly pleasant to drink. So pleasant that I may or may not have left feeling rather tipsy. At the end of our tasting, we were given a small amount of their homemade honey and lemon cordial to taste. I was instantly in love. The perfect balance of tart lemon and sweet, fragrant honey makes this cordial the perfect addition to gin cocktails and works so beautifully when served with tonic/soda water for a non-alcoholic drink.
I was so inspired by this cordial that I decided to try my hand at it when I got home and I have to say, I’m pretty chuffed with the results. My cordial was slightly thicker and not as sour as Inverroche’s but the flavour was pretty spot on and I think I have the fynbos honey I used to thank for that. If you can’t find Fynbos honey (honey made from South African fynbos) where you live, Blue gum or Wild blossom honey will work equally well.
I used the cordial in gin cocktails over the weekend and you guys. No really now. I have never tasted a more delicious cocktail. Even people who don’t like honey liked it and asked for the recipe for the cordial (which will be pretty fabulous over creamy vanilla ice cream). So while you look at the pretty pictures of the gorgeous Inverroche, I’m going to sneak to the kitchen and knock together another one of these cocktails. Just to make double sure it’s as delicious as I remember it to be.
- ¾ cup fynbos honey
- 2 cups water
- ¾ cup muscavado (dark brown) sugar
- Juice and zest of 4 lemons (approximately 1 cup fresh lemon juice)
- Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
- Allow the cordial to cook for 10-15 minutes until the mixture is amber in colour and has thickened to a syrupy consistency.
- Remove from the heat then allow to cool completely.
- When the mixture is cool, strain the lemon zest out and pour into bottles.
- Keep refrigerated.
- (This cordial will last for 2-3 months if kept in a sterilised bottle in the refrigerator.)