What do you buy for the gin lover who has everything?

Released once a year in a small batches, Flowstone’s double-gold award-winning Snuffbox Gin draws its intriguing complexity from an indigenous botanical found in the Cradle of Humankind. 

With big aromas, including hints of citrus and spice, it conjures up all the traditional scents, warmth and happy memories of the Christmas season. Each sip is a journey of discovery – the palate offers a superb balance of botanicals, with gentle juniper tantalising flavours that hint at burnt caramel, cacao, chocolate and an edge of vanilla, all leading to a malty finish.

It is perfect as a sipping gin, over ice. For a festive serve, add a splash of tonic water and float miniature red carnations on top – they add a scent reminiscent of cloves, which complements this gin superbly. Another great garnish for Snuffbox Gin are cornflowers – their startling blue is exquisite (drop in a clove and three warmed coffee beans for a truly unique gin experience). 

Befitting its status as the very limited, collector’s edition of South Africa’s highest awarded gin range, each bottle of Snuffbox Gin has a striking label, a unique, hand-written series number, and comes elegantly presented in black, gold and white packaging. A rare and very precious gift.

Making a sustainable gin

To craft their gins, Flowstone uses the Bushveld botanicals that grow wild in and around the Cradle of Humankind where their distillery is located. These are sustainably hand-harvested by members of the local community each October while additional trees are planted each year to ensure a thriving local population.

The tree, Oncoba spinosa, gets its name from its hard-shelled fruits that are hollowed out to store precious snuff. If left to dry with the seeds inside, they make great rattles for children and are also tied to anklets and armlets and used as dancers’ percussion instruments. The dark, pulpy fruit creates a gin of intoxicating complexity and a panoply of elusive flavours. 

The Snuffbox tree bears sweet-scented, white flowers with masses of yellow, overlapping stamens in the centre and a petal span of up to 9cm. The flowers are bisexual and are borne at the base of the leaves or the end of the branches.

In the flowering season the morning air around the Flowstone distillery thrums with the sound of bees mobbing the trees they’ve planted in the area. With Flowstone’s commitment to the environment and going green, most of their gin boxes contain a ‘grow your own botanicals’ pack, and if you’re lucky enough to receive a snuffbox seed, you could grow your own tree and enjoy this annual spectacle in your own garden.

All ingredients used in Flowstone gins are renewable, including the water. “The area was traditionally known among some people as Malmani – the place of water,” distiller Mark French explains. “We have a natural spring on the property that is perennial except in very dry conditions, and even then it continues to seep. The karst system of the Cradle is a vast reservoir of fresh water; nevertheless we harvest rainwater and use it sparingly.”

The little snuffbox grove near the distillery is fed with what’s left after production of the Flowstone gins (spent botanicals and treated water), which beautifully closes the circle. 

Fast as a flash cocktails for the holidays/summer

Festive gin fizz

Start by placing a few frozen cranberries in a champagne flute. Pour in 25ml gin, add 50ml of Liquifruit Cranberry Cooler, top with bubbly, and serve! (You can mix up a jug of 1 part gin and 2 parts cranberry juice ahead of time.)

Not a fan of sparkling wine? Substitute ginger beer for the bubbles. If you choose this option, consider a plain cranberry juice that’s less sweet than the cooler.