The amazing L-Gin handcrafted gin, which was started in July 2018 by Sue Harper, Isabel Huxter and Ann Claughton, has a lot to celebrate this year.
Although the global Covid-19 pandemic nearly hit them for a six, these three gin loving friends from Elgin, are celebrating four 2020 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards for their four gin flavours – Lush, Crush, Plush and On-The-Go.
For about 3 years before starting their commercial distillery in 2018, the three friends played around with recipes and ideas using a 4 L copper potstil.
“Our small boutique distillery is situated on a beautiful apple farm in Elgin and our main botanicals are all grown in Elgin.
We were inspired by the scrumptious fruit which grows in the Elgin Valley and the abundance of oak trees which line many farm roads. To celebrate our valley, we wanted to create artisanal spirits which ‘distil’ the essence of our Elgin valley into unique gin.
We now produce four flavours: Lush, Crush, Plush and On-The-Go of L-Gin craft gin in small batches, using the locally grown fruit and locally grown juniper which we are very fortunate to have access to. The water used in our production process is collected from a natural spring in our beautiful valley.
We were extremely fortunate when we started with our commercial distilling that we had guidance from Roger Jorgensen, known as the godfather of gin in SA, who patiently spent many hours with us directing our distillation process and advising us on every step of the way. It has been an amazing experience entering the craft gin industry and we have been overwhelmed by the warmth, advice, and honesty from many great local craft gin distillers.
LUSH – Elgin is mainly an apple producing valley so the first gin that we produced in 2018 was LUSH, distilled with Granny Smith apples, Elgin grown juniper, Elgin lemons, fresh ginger, coriander and angelica root. We battled for months to get the flavours right. In fact we refer to LUSH as our problem child because of all the problems we encountered and time spent before achieving the perfect fresh flavour we wanted.
2020 Michelangelo Awards: Double Gold
CRUSH – The second gin we produced was CRUSH which is distilled with Elgin grown Blueberries, Elgin grown juniper, Elgin lemons, Salvia, African striped pepper, coriander, and angelica root.
2020 Michelangelo Awards: Gold
PLUSH – Last year we decided to capture the beautiful Autumn colours of the Elgin Valley with the many oak trees lining our farm roads. This inspired us to produce PLUSH. With the cold winters in Elgin, we wanted to create a sipping gin which can be enjoyed neat on ice in front of a cosy fire. PLUSH is our contemporary gin distilled with locally grown juniper, citrus, coriander and angelica root. After distillation PLUSH is matured with oak to create a smooth balanced flavour. PLUSH has woody and earthy tones with notes of caramel but remains juniper forward. The oak adds complexity and a subtle sweetness, almost like starting as a young whiskey and finishes off as gin.
Michelangelo Gin Trophy 2020: Best gin
ON-THE-GO – To keep our spirits high during the difficult time of the alcohol ban in lockdown, we spent our time experimenting with a new recipe and a new concept. This gave birth to our L-Gin- On-The-Go, which we were able to launch when the alcohol ban was finally lifted. It is our classic gin with an Elgin ‛twist’, in a more economical smaller tube with a twisting tap which pops out.
On-The-Go is distilled with Elgin juniper, Elgin Lemongrass, Elgin lemons, fresh ginger, coriander and angelica root. It is not a pre-mix, pure craft gin and you still need to add tonic if that is your preference.
Never before has drinking gin been more convenient, ideal for smaller groups, picnics, camping and concerts, for when you are ‛on-the-go’.
2020 Michelangelo Wine & Spirits Trophy: Most Innovative Alternate packaging
Michelangelo Wine and Spirits Awards
We are blown away, honoured and extremely grateful for being rewarded with these Awards. Receiving the Michelangelo awards is truly the best reward we could have hoped for after all our hard work.
The three of us have spent many hours distilling, bottling and labelling each and every bottle by hand. We can honestly and proudly say our L-Gin is true handcrafted gin. The three of us have spent many hours over the weekends promoting our gin at The Elgin Railway Market and we are extremely proud to be able to tell our clients about the great Michelangelo awards our gins were awarded.
The exposure we receive from winning Michelangelo awards is a great way of getting our brand out there, and we realise how extremely fortunate we are to be rewarded for what we are passionate about and love doing.
Through small batch distillation our long-term dream of Elgin inspired gin became a reality and a celebration of our friendship. Moreover just because we are three girls, we do argue that the antioxidants in juniper and blueberries and the cell repairing agents of apples and some of the other botanicals we use, make us believe:
‘Never before has drinking gin been more anti-aGINg!’
Our L-Gin Craft Gin Bar at the iconic Elgin Railway Market is open every Saturday and Sunday and also open daily during the Festive Season in December.”