Local is lekker: Guide to South Africa’s best drinks experiences

South Africa has several accolades to boast about. Whether it’s the natural scenery, rich culture or warm hospitality - this is a country worth bragging about! One of the biggest industries is liquor, producing world-class alcohol in various styles and types. Wine, beer, gin, beer… it can all be found and enjoyed around South Africa.

This past week, Van Ryn’s Distillery in Stellenbosch was awarded “World’s Best Wine Brandy” for its 20-year-old potstill at the 2022 World Brandy Awards. When celebrating this win, we thought it would be a great time to showcase the Western Cape’s thriving liquor production industry! Think of the picturesque wine estates, historic brandy distilleries and vibey breweries dotted around Cape Town and its surrounds. This is definitely the place to drink and be merry!

To help you enjoy South Africa’s most popular exports and fantastic local products, dk villas has put together a list of the best experiences in Cape Town and surrounds featuring the local drinks industry.

Celebrate

1. Wine, wine and more wine!

South Africa is an award-winning wine destination. The Western Cape in particular is a centre for wine production. There are literally hundreds of wine farms, estates and vineyards in the Western Cape that are excellent destinations just waiting to be enjoyed!

Travel to one of the region’s wine routes for a world class wine experience. The Cape Winelands (home to Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl) is one of the most popular wine destinations in the world. Here, you can visit well-known wine estates such as Babylonstoren, Tokara, Boschendal and more! Or, visit newer, boutique wineries for a different kind of experience. In Franschhoek, you can enjoy the Franschhoek Wine Tram which is a fun and unique way to explore the wine farms in the area. The Constantia Winelands region is located a short 20-minute drive from the Cape Town city centre. Here, you’ll find the Cape’s oldest wine estate, Groot Constantia. Visit the historic estate, taste the wine and enjoy the atmosphere!

More fabulous wine routes to explore are located along the West Coast, Hermanus, and Route 62 which is the longest wine route in the world!

Looking for something to enjoy soon? Take a look at these winter wine festivals taking place across the Western Cape.

Wine Farm Lunch

2. Grin and beer it!

Beer fan? Cape Town and surrounds is the place to be! Visit the SAB Newlands Brewery for a #BeerExperience brewery tour and beer tastings. Craft beer breweries such as Jack Black’s Brewing Company in Diep River, Woodstock Brewery, Devil’s Peak Taproom in Salt River, and CBC - Cape Brewery Company - located at the Spice Route in Paarl, all offer excellent beer tasting experiences.

Craft Beer Brewery

3. Fancy a tipple? Gin for the win.

Craft gin has skyrocketing in popularity over recent years around Cape Town. Several fantastic craft gin distilleries have opened in and around the city.

Gin is great enjoyed classically with tonic or jazzed up with flavoured tonics and garnish or in a cocktail.

Gin

To taste local gin, pay a visit to one of the distillieries around town. Top gin destinations include the Woodstock Gin Company, Hope on Hopkins Gin Distillery in Salt River, Deep South Distillery in Kommetjie, and Pienaar & Son Distilling Company in XXX.

The Gin Bar Cape Town City Bowl is another hot spot to visit. Located behind Honest Chocolate in Wale Street, the Gin Bar was previously known as the Secret Gin Bar… however, the secret quickly got out! Visit in the evenings to enjoy a selection of gins and gin coktails which are expertly prepared and presented by the resident bartenders. The layout, interior design and ambience make it one of the coolest places to enjoy a drink in the city.

Clemengold

4. Brandy, a South African classic

Brandy is a South Africa staple! “Brandy and coke” is a classic South Africa combo. Whether you enjoy your brandy with a mixer or prefer to savour the tastes neat, you are in for a treat in the Western Cape.

Van Ryn’s Distillery and Brandy Cellar is located in Stellenbosch for those who would like to taste the award-winning potstill and more! Oude Molen Distilery in Grabouw is another great destination to visit for a brandy experience.

On top of the distilleries specialising in brandy, several wine farms produce world-class brandy including Laborie, Backsberg Estate, Nederburg Estate.

Brandy

5. Love liqueur!

Finally on this list, we had to include a mention of South Africa’s most beloved liqueur. Amarula is a cream liqueur infused with the fruit of the marula tree. It is a long-time favourite that is now enjoyed around the world! While it originated with the classic Amarula cream liqueur, today there are two new flavours to enjoy: Ethiopian Coffee and Raspberry, Chocolate and African Baobab.

In Cape Town, you can enjoy Amarula in most bars and restaurants. It’s best way to serve Amarula is neat over ice. It’s also a popular drink to enjoy on game drives in South Africa. Mix it with hot chocolate or coffee in the early mornings or evenings.

Amarula

Conclusion:

Mark these destinations off on your Cape Town “must-see” list. It’s one of the most exciting ways to enjoy a taste of South Africa! We do all like to enjoy ourselves, when it comes to alcohol, always choose to be lekker and drink responsibly. That way we can all have fun and peace of mind!

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