“But all these are golden dreams.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes from Underground
With the rise of the craft gin trend in South Africa in 2016, one gin in particular caught most of our eyes. This gin was like none other we had seen before... IT WAS PINK! Yes, I’m referring to Musgrave Pink Gin - the first of its kind in South Africa (as far as I’m concerned). I am not exaggerating when I say that I drank Musgrave’s Pink Gin for 2 years on end, and due to my insane brand loyalty, I will probably never taste another pink gin in my life. This marvelous gin just has that extraordinary appeal that turns a once boring G&T, into an aesthetic feast for the eyes.
I’m sure you can imagine my excitement and eagerness when this very special opportunity presented itself for me to re-create and try one of the Musgrave Cocktails for myself. The most I’ve really experimented with gin was to add different types of tonic waters and garnishes to it - I have never ventured into the gin cocktail-making experience. I always think of cocktails being rather complicated, and not easy to make at home, but Musgrave’s The Golden Talisman Cocktail has taken away that mentality, and will be a new regular drink of choice for me.
The name of this cocktail lead me on a little etymology journey. I discovered that a talisman is an object that someone believes holds magical properties which bring good luck to the possessor or protect the possessor from evil or harm. Given that a G&T is supposed to keep mosquitoes away, I think this name is very suitable.
Now, onto the elements of the cocktail itself. The heart of the cocktail is the Musgrave Original Gin, which is crafted with 11 botanicals that embody the flavors and history of Africa and the ancient spice route. The top notes are all members of the ginger family: cardamom, African ginger and Grains of Paradise (seeds native to Africa that have a woody aroma).
To act in harmony with these notes, Nettari Gingerbread Syrup is the perfect accomplishment! Simone Musgrave used this syrup for a sweet and nostalgic touch, and it achieves exactly that. I was immediately transported back to early childhood days when my dad would bring my brother and me a gingerbread man cookie from the Fournos Bakery at the airport. I also couldn’t help but think of Gingy, the gingerbread man from Shrek, and him asking Lord Farquaad about the muffin man who lives on Cherry Lane.
The Warwick First Lady Chardonnay is really delightful, with citrus notes and apple blossom fragrance. Fitch and Leedes Indian Tonic is probably my all-time favorite tonic water and a definite go-to in all situations. I’ve never had a bad drink when this tonic water was involved. The garnish for this cocktail are deeply intertwined with the gin itself: cardamom pods and star anise, beautifully presented in little Musgrave packets.
The Golden Talisman Cocktail has a taste of no other. Soft, smooth, sweet, spicy, subtle. The gingerbread syrup and the chardonnay compliment the Musgrave Gin so well, enhancing those botanical, and the Indian tonic ensures that you take your time to enjoy this drink, and you don’t get a rush of alcohol at once. It is light and refreshing, definitely the perfect drink to be enjoyed as a sundowner on a lazy summer’s day. You’ll be amazed by how beautiful the golden hues from the Golden Talisman match the golden sun-rays of the late afternoon sun. All that’s left for you to do is sit and sip on this magical drink and watch how the sunlight dances off your glass of gold.
I had so much fun making this cocktail and thinking of ideas for the presentation (special golden glow thanks to the late afternoon sun). As I mentioned, the gingerbread immediately drew my mind to a gingerbread man cookie, so I decided to get a gingerbread girl to help me with the set up. And you won’t believe what an incredible sweet and spicy circus this combination brings to your tongue. I don’t know why we haven’t thought about gin and gingerbread sooner? It’s right there in the name: GINgerbread.
Below is the recipe for you to try at home. I hope you’ll enjoy it and have as much fun making it as I did. Once you’ve recreated this golden glory, share it with us on social media using #TheGoldenTalisman and tag @musgravespirits and @isavanzyl in your post.
The Golden Talisman Cocktail
Double tot Musgrave Original Gin.
Single tot Nettari Gingerbread Syrup.
Stir these two together.
Add a big handful of ice into your gin glass.
Add a heavy-handed dash of Warwick First Lady Chardonnay.
Top up with Fitch and Leedes Indian tonic.
Garnish with star aniseed and cardamon pods.
Visa them at http://www.musgravegin.co.za