Who would’ve thought the first gin distillery in Cape Town would open in Salt River? Parts of this industrial – and somewhat grunge – area in Cape Town are seeing a slow gentrification, and it’s places like Hope on Hopkins that’re helping to make it so.

Partners Lucy Beard and Leigh Lisk, after spending 16 years as practicing lawyers in the UK, returned home to South Africa and opened their own distillery. Together they have toiled with the distillery process, creating ‘grain to glass’ spirits packed full of new flavours and an interesting range of botanicals. The spirits are made using the age old process of batch distillation with their two faithful stills – Mildred and Maude. We had the opportunity to meet the couple (and Mildred and Maude) at their distillery, and learn about the intricate process of batch distillation. Despite it being 10 am in the morning, we weren’t shy to try the various spirits – nothing like a G&T to kick-start the day.

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Leigh and Lucy’s dedication to their craft and respectful handling of carefully sourced quality ingredients culminates in their maiden craft triple distilled Hope on Hopkins Single Malt Vodka and their three Hope on Hopkins Gins: the classic London Dry Gin, the South African inspired Salt River Gin and the more experimental Mediterranean Gin. We were so impressed with the flavour-rich spirits that we have since started serving London Dry and Salt River in the bar – and of course listing it on our website. Never before have G&Ts been so fresh, full flavoured and unique – and the story behind their creation equally so.

Visits to the distillery are by appointment only, 7 Hopkins Street, Salt River. Book your visit by emailing Lucy on lucy@hopeonhopkins.co.za or call +21 447 1950.

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Photography David Cope, Words Lisa Wallace