Ori(GIN)al offering from Radisson RED

Cape Town hotel launches botanical gin blending bar

Everything you think you know about gin: wipe that slate squeaky clean and begin again; preferably at the Radisson RED Hotel V&A Waterfront Cape Town (RED) which recently launched its own botanical gin blending bar for discerning as well as newbie gin drinkers alike.

Situated in the OUIBar + KTCHN, the botanical gin blending bar offers those wanting to formulate their own distinct flavour of gin a step-by-step blending guide, all the measuring paraphernalia required as well as RED’s own reduced-sugar tonic water, garnishes and – of course – ice and glasses. All the ingredients needed to create and mix the perfect botanical gin and tonic.

Avid gin blenders can create their own brand of gin – as it were – from various botanical gin flavour profiles immediately available to them, including juniper, citrus, naartjie, grapefruit, nutmeg and clove, cardamom, cinnamon, fynbos, honeybush, sage and thyme, rose pelargonium and lavender.

Each botanical gin flavour profile has been distilled and blended with water to be 43% alcohol proof (the legal minimum bottling strength in South Africa), so it’s simply a case of measuring and pouring to come up with your desired flavour profile, and Bob’s your proverbial uncle.

Costs* for RED botanical gin blending sessions

  • Table of 4 people and a 100ml bottle of gin + 2 tonic waters = R300
  • Table of 8 people and a 200ml bottle of gin + 4 tonic waters = R600
  • Table of 20 people and a 500ml bottle of gin + 8 tonic waters = R1,500
  • Table of 30 people and a 750ml bottle of gin + 12 tonic waters = R2,250
    *All costs exclude additional drinks.

Canapés will be served during the gin blending session courtesy of RED.

For those wanting to dip their toes in first to know what to look for in a botanical gin, RED also offers gin-tasting sessions. For R250 per person, gin lovers – and those about to become them – will be offered tasters of RED’s house-brand brews Khoi Cloud and Skinny Dip.

Brainchild of RED’s Creative Team, the cheeky brews offer distinctly different flavour combinations. “Infused with botanicals that are grown right on our hotel rooftop, Khoi Cloud combines citrus peels and herbs to give it an earthy tone,” says RED Curator Dale Simpson. “Skinny Dip on the other hand, is a simple gin with a profusion of pink peppercorns that make for a surprisingly sweet, yet peppery gin.”

To top that, RED also crafted its own tonic water – Atonic Blonde, which is completely natural and finely balanced to ensure the actual taste of the gin it accompanies isn’t masked. Combining lime and grapefruit for a citrus aroma topped with a lemongrass perfume, Atonic Blonde is also lower in sugar than commercial tonic water, which allows the gin to shine through, resulting in a light and zingy, mildly fruity tonic water.

For more information visit www.radissonred.com/cape-town or follow the conversation on social media with the official hashtag #REDginwall


Radisson RED® is an upscale, select service hotel brand that presents a playful twist on the conventional. Radisson RED hotels inject new life into hospitality through informal services where anything goes, a social scene that’s waiting to be shared and bold design that kick-starts the fun. Radisson RED hotels are in vibrant, urban locations where travelers have the unique opportunity to tailor their stay to their style. Guests and professional business partners can enhance their experience with Radisson RED by participating in Radisson Rewards™, a global loyalty program offering exceptional benefits and rewards.

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RUAN: Gin has grown so much in South Africa over the past few years, where did your love for Gin start?

DALE: It’s just such an easy fun drink. Great socially in groups or too unwind with a book and just chill.

The dynamic change of flavours with more botanical undertone really elevated Gin from a sunset drink to a drink for anytime of the day. The pairing of the new styled gins with an update in flavours of tonic also helped with bringing the drink into current times.

RUAN: Can you share with us the process behind the Gin tasting sessions that you offer?

DALE: We offer a gin tasting and also a gin blending experience.

Our Gin tasting is centred around Skinny Dip & Khoi Cloud…the two Gins produced by RED distilled at HOPE on Hopkins. Our Creative takes the sipper through a process of smelling and tasting the botanicals in each gin followed by talking all things garnish, it’s importance and how it elevates the drink.

Gin Blending allows the sipper to create their own gin by taking a base gin and adding gin botanical concentrates. This allows them to choose their personal preference and essentially come out with a once off, never made before, product. The experience is available for the individual or a group of friends/colleagues – bottle sizes range from 200ml’s to 750ml’s.

Both experiences we pair with a few snacks to complement the gin.

With the gin blending, the nice thing is that it starts as small as 50ml which means if you just want an after work drink, you can blend already, you don’t need to wait for an occasion. For a 50ml blending with our tonic, it is ZAR150.

RUAN: What is the importance of being a collaborator (working with Hope on Hopkins Distillery and Craft Soda Company)?

DALE: RED brand is committed to support local. Collaborating with small local business is another way to highlighting “local is lekker”!
We find that people are experience seekers so at RED we can provide a platform where locals and guests from further afield can really experience what is hip and happening in Cape Town and by showcasing the local suppliers, it is a real winner.

RUAN: How has Radisson RED challenged the traditional hotel model?

DALE: Radisson RED is centered around Art, Music, Fashion and Culture. We support the “You’ness in You”. At RED we are creative, out the box thinkers that supply a Hotel that connects to its audience, not through a suit and tie or a Sir or Madam, but rather through a personalized environment where we celebrate the natural connection between guests and crew. For example, we do not have a hotel reception… our reception is called Hi-All Gallery. Our Receptionist and Waiters are called Creatives as they Create experiences for guests.

Our guests experience breakfast DJ’s, pop up art, casual Happy Sak seating and vibrant staff with service delivery that exceeds the expectation.

Really, it is about being your-self, we say everyone is beautiful here where beauty is the uniqueness we all have and we should celebrate that uniqueness not trying and make robots!

RUAN: What are some of the key trends that are impacting the hotel industry (such as catering to millennials, seamless technology, sustainability rules and unique perks)?

DALE: Well there are a lot but to name a few, here goes:

  1. Pets, 56% of people are pet owners and see their pets as a key part of their family network which means when they travel, they want to bring the pets with! The growth and success of platforms such as Pets Pyjamas highlight this. And that’s why we have our own little Baxter!
  2. Sustainability. More and more focus on this through the world and rightly so whether it be alleviating pressure on our natural resources, saying no to plastic and just being clever about food waste, that is why we offer a deli style breakfast and not buffet where waste can be up to 35%. 54 million slices of bread are thrown away in the UK each day, scary.
  3. As a brand, in today’s world, you need to stand for something. Look at Nike, their support of Kapernick in the US. In hotels, you should be bold, be brave and not try to be something for everyone as people are not brand loyal unless you have that strong definition.
  4. Traditional luxury is changing, people seek experience and your hotel should be geared to deliver an experience in all areas.

Sustainability is important. Radisson Red is the first hotel in Africa to be awarded the Green Key Award (https://www.facebook.com/GreenKeyInt/ )

RUAN: Would you say Gin is a seasonal drink or something one can and should enjoy all year around?

DALE: Gin is definitely an all year-round drink – have you not tried a Warm G&T cocktail? We featured some on the roof during the cold nights of June. You will have to po pin next year to try them out.
And actually, try Gin and ginger, it’s a dynamite winter drink 😊

RUAN: Who would you say has been your driving force leading you to your current success in the Hotel industry?

DALE: There have been lots and still are of course. I have been fortunate enough to work across the US, Middle East, Europe and now Africa. The cultural differences already prepare you and you learn a lot. I like to read and I have a few close mentors whom I still call on for advise. But I find listening very important and often we all should do more as the best lessons can come for very unexpected people and places!

RUAN: Would you say that South Africa has some of the best Gins in the world from your own experience working with these brands?

DALE: We have some serious competitors in the market. Gin is being well received throughout the world and drunk differently depending on where you are. In Italy their craft gins are packed with a lot of botanicals and they also drink very little tonic with their gin. South African distillers are playing a lot with colours and garnish… Pink G&T for example comes to mind. A very popular drink on Red Roof.

And don’t forget, gin will always be original in Cape Town as 72% of the fauna and berries used in our gins is only found in Cape Town!

RUAN: Are there any other exciting things we can look forward to from Radisson Red Hotel?

DALE: YEAR END!! We have Euphonik as our Thursday resident on RED Roof which will be THE pool party of the summer. New Years Eve we throwing 3 parties… RED Roof Flip formal to flops with DJ Dino, a local RED Resident, OUI Will Rock You with South African band MONARK and a Beer Garden for those who love their Barley and Hops.

More information can be found in our brochure attached.

For 2019 hot topics …. you will have to stayed tuned!

RUAN: On which social media platforms can we continue to support and follow Radisson Red Hotel on?

DALE: Links below:

FB: https://www.facebook.com/RadissonREDCapeTown/

Instagram: @radissonredcpt

Twitter: @radissonredcpt

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