Salute to sun-whipped seas, spices and fragrant trees.
If you’ve known me for a while, you would know two things: I love gin and I frequent The Leopard Bar at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa - which is probably where my love for gin started.
It was in the beginning of 2016, when the craft gin wave hit South African shores. My parents decided to treat me to sundowners at The Twelve Apostles (12A), before I had to return to university. The drive along Chapman’s Peak alone is breathtaking - moving along the coast, between mountain and sea. It’s a very surreal feeling, and you almost can’t look enough to take in all the natural beauty.
On arrival in The Leopard Bar, we were greeted by the friendliest staff - sporting spotted waist coast and the warmest smiles. We then received a trio of complementary bar snacks - the most delicious olives, spicy dried corn and sweetened peanuts.
The view from the terrace is incredible and definitely worth the visit. The scenery is of waves crashing calmly against the shore, the deep blue waters stretching far into the horizon - allowing you to soak up as much as your eyes can, and a picturesque snippet of Lion’s Head and the Twelve Apostles mountain range.
It was here that I was first introduced to one of my go-to drinks: Iverroche Gin Amber with Fitch & Leedes Indian Tonic. The Amber Gin is infused with Fynbos from the Cape Floral Kingdom - more specifically, coastal Frynbos, which is aromatic and spicy. I fell in love with the amber color of the beverage, and the simple, yet effective presentation of a sprig of Fynbos and a twirled orange rind. The gin pairs so well with the Indian Tonic - sending you on a citrus and botanical voyage.
I don’t know how many Iverroche Amber and Indian Tonics I’ve consumed up until now, but it’s one drink I’ll always fall back on. It’s aesthetically pleasing, very refreshing and it does not disappoint. It sparked my love for gin, and I will forever be grateful.
On my most recent visit to The Leopard Bar, I discovered another exquisite pairing. This time, it was a more floral concoction: Woodstock Gin Co. Inception Wine Base and Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic Water. This tastes like butterscotch and toffee apples - I’m not joking. It’s like you’re sneakily eating the caramel sauce your mom made for a pudding (with your finger in the bowl, going back frequently for “one last taste” - you know the one). I’m completely off with the tasting notes, but I don’t mind at all. The Woodstock Gin Co label says this wine based gin has tastes of rose geranium and wild rosemary on the palate; accompanied by light notes of buchu, citrus and rooibos. As for the tonic, it contains rosemary and lemon thyme. However, the garnish was two thin crisp slices of apple, so maybe my imagination didn’t run as wild as I think.
I have temporarily halted my love affair with Amber and Indian Tonic, and traded it in for a rendez-vous with my butterscotch, toffee apple delight - Woodstock Wine and Mediterranean Tonic. I’ll be sipping sweetly this summer.
For one of the most unforgettable sceneries, sensational sundowners, wondrous pairings and implacable service, be sure to stop by The Twelve Apostles Leopard Bar.
Some of my other favorite Cape Town drinks bars:
Orphanage Cocktail Emporium