From Angel Heart Beverages, the team behind Ginifer Chilli Gin seek to provide a gin inspired by all that Johannesburg, South Africa has to offer.
Distilled in a copper pot with thirteen different botanicals. Some botanicals are sourced locally from the Faraday Market in Johannesburg. The market is a fascinating melange of traditional medicine and supernatural belief. They shop here to “honour Johannesburg.” [source]
Then it is aged for two months in locally grown oak turned into barrels. This “chilli infused” version adds chili peppers to the botanical blend for an assertive kick of spice.
Green pepper and chili-like heat on the nose. It’s as if you breathed into the capsaicin fumes of a freshly cut jalapeño pepper. Hints of black pepper are present as well, but it’s hard to nose Ginifer Chilli Gin for too long. The chili is present.
The palate is completely unexpected. Given the intense heat of the nose, I don’t think you’d believe me if I said for the first 2 seconds, you don’t get any heat. It holds off until the finish.
Green bell pepper, orange rind, coriander and black pepper early, Ginifer Chilli Gin has a hint of shiso mixed with pepper mid-palate. Late, some juniper comes on in concert with a slow, throb of chili-like heat.
The heat comes on in the back of the throat; however, it sits at medium volume. The chili heat note is filled with flavor. Hints of smoked paprika, orange rind, chipotle, and green bell pepper, with a distinctive note of capsaicin, that’s still somehow subtle.
The finish is only medium-length. The heat dissipates quickly. Even drinking several sips back to back doesn’t cause the usual multiplicative effect of hot peppers.
Ginifer Chilli Gin stunned me with the way it was able to incorporate the heat of the peppers and the flavors of the peppers, without being “too hot.” Something in here seems like magic to me. Perhaps its whatever else they picked up at the multhi market. This gin is great on its own.
Mixed, the chili heat notes comes through, in a very similar way. It makes a compelling and unusual Dirty Martini, with the olive complementing the chili notes. But I have to say hands down the combination of onion, the chili and pepper notes, absolutely beg for a Gibson treatment. Or make a Red Snapper with it. It’s beautiful the way you can go light on the Tabasco or other hot sauce ingredients. The gin does the work here. And I think it’s even better than a normal Red Snapper. The Gibson and Red Snapper are highly recommended. It’s really the gin part of the holy trinity (of cooking).
Perhaps skip the Gin and Tonic and go for the Gin and Celery Soda. The vegetal notes of Ginifer Chilli Gin combine so nicely that there may be better spicy gin on the market.
That being said, I think the chili notes do make it a peculiar gin. I’d suggest avoiding it in milk/cream based cocktails like the Violet Fizz or Ramos Gin Fizz, creamy egg based drinks like the Gin Sour and Clover Club Cocktail. Ginifer Chilli Gin is absolutely dissonant with floral cocktails, like the Aviation.
Ginifer Chilli Gin is a niche gin that does one thing so well that you could be forgiven for ignoring the things it doesn’t work in.
If you’re running a brunch program, Ginifer Chilli Gin is a must have for your next house Bloody Mary… er I mean Red Snapper. Bartenders who are playful will find a lot of intriguing applications for Ginifer Chilli Gin, but bartender and home-drinker alike should be cautioned against expecting anything other than a chili flavored gin. But it’s way better than you’d expect.
Highly Recommended in its category.