Arriving in Durban, you are surrounded by the city’s quirky and colorful art deco buildings that may remind you of a drive down Collins Avenue in South Beach. Durban is also known for its popular surfing spots, as well as recently being named Africa’s first City of Literature by UNESCO in 2017. Gin has seen resurgence of late in Durban, with several pop-up bars opening throughout the city. For example, The Secret Gin Bar, which opened late 2017, has a selection of over 35 different local and international gins, offering a DIY G&T experience with a range of gins, mixers, garnishes (think black pepper, star anise or curry leaves) and bitters (such as rhubarb, peach or fennel). The Secret Gin Bar has been popping up at different locations since opening, and was recently at Mamma Luciana’s restaurant and Distillery 031.
Distillery 031 is planted in the Station Drive Creative Precinct in Durban and is known for its D’Urban Dry Gin, made with a blend of 10 botanicals, including African rosehip. It has strong citrus notes and a distinctive but subtle juniper flavor. The other favorite, D’Urban Barrel Aged Gin, is aged in French oak barrels, which impart subtle spiciness and vanillins. On the Distillery 031 facility tour, you’ll see the process behind distillation, and sniff the complex flavors and aromas of the different botanicals added to the gin.
On Florida Road, Durban’s dining and entertainment district, The Gin Gallery features a wide range of gins and gin-based cocktails with ingredients like lavender sugar syrup, freshly picked herbs and locally-sourced fruit.