The Cradle of Humankind, located an hour from the hustle and bustle of the City of Gold, is where our story begins. For all of us. Fossils from the earliest of lifeforms lie within the soil of this land proving that we are all African – bringing together races, cultures, creeds, classes to this stretch of land. It is also the home of a unique, African craft gin that takes its name from the rock formation that defines the area, Flowstone. Drawing its flavours from the rich palette of indigenous bushveld botanicals, Flowstone’s unique gins were crafted to capture the essence of this African wilderness.
“We moved to the beautiful Cradle of Humankind almost 15 years ago,” says Glyn French, owner of Flowstone. “Having been in love with the bush and spending most holidays up in Botswana, we longed for our own little piece of that closer to home.” Glyn quickly fell absolutely in love with this hidden gem when she first visited the area. “There is simply amazing botanical and biological biodiversity that is second only to Fynbos,” she adds. Beyond the stromatolite fossils and the amazing paleo record that has given the area its name, there is a deep and profound feeling of timelessness and natural beauty that permeates from it.
The story of Flowstone is so rooted in the Cradle’s many treasures, one wonders if it would even have come about were they living anywhere else in the world. During the early 2000s, an American palaeontologist Dr Justin Adams started work on fossil sites in the area. Glyn and he quickly struck up a friendship and, learning that he was staying in a tiny back room at the Ditsong Museum in Pretoria, Glyn invited him to stay with them in the Cradle. From then on, Justin would return each year to continue his research, each time bringing other researchers to work with him.
“One year a few became many, and we had the team sleeping on every couch in the house,” she laughs. As a thank you, Justin bought Glyn a case of Hendrick’s Gin. “It was a beautiful highveld winter’s afternoon and we set about making some seriously well-deserved G&Ts, but we needed cucumber to garnish and there were none in the house,” she recalls. With no shops in the area, Glyn decided the beautiful and spiky wild cucumbers that were just coming into season in the garden would have to do. “The resulting G&T not only looked stunning but tasted amazing, and someone made one of those throwaway comments that ‘someone should make a gin out of this’.”
A month later the idea was still floating around Glyn’s head, so she bought a small 5l still and began experimenting. With a lot of help from neighbours and friends Flowstone was born. Today, she and her son Mark alongside a small team work tirelessly to bring a range of gins that is authentically African. “In 2019, we became the only ever gin range to hold three Double-Gold medals from South Africa’s largest spirits competition, the Michelangelo awards,” beams Glyn. “And in 2020 we were the highest awarded SA gin range at the IWSC, the world’s largest and most competitive spirits competition.”
Each gin is intrinsically linked to The Cradle. The bushwillow family produces beautiful, winged seed pods, large enough to comfortably fill an adult’s cupped hand. The fruit in the Flowstone Bushwillow Gin results in a full-flavoured sip with unusual and seductive woody, earthy notes.
The iconic fruit of Africa, marula has been enjoyed by man and elephants alike over the millennia. The Flowstone Marula Gin delivers a luscious Marula bouquet that primes the palate for the soft tang that floods the mouth.
As its colours change from speckled green to a distinctive swirling orange, the wild cucumber’s vibrant but subtle flavours of green melon and kiwi emerge. The Flowstone Wild Cucumber Gin is smooth and refreshing, the perfect every-day sipper.
The snuffbox tree gets its name from its small dark fruit which used to be hollowed out to store snuff in. Quite unlike anything you have ever tasted, Flowstone Snuffbox Gin is released in individually numbered batches of 1 000 bottles at the start of each summer as the fruit matures.
What started as a passion project to celebrate the richness of the area, has now become something that, as a family, they are hugely dedicated to and this shows through in the flavours they have developed and the awards they have garnered.
Not your mama’s cucumber
Also known as the African horned cucumber, the wild cucumber thrives unimpeded in the bushveld. And though its outside appearance may seem harsh with its skin surrounded by sharp spines, its fruit delivers wonderful, fresh cucumber and lime flavours early in the ripening cycle. As its colours change from speckled green to a distinctive swirling orange, vibrant but subtle flavours of green melon and kiwi will start to emerge. It is this fruit that forms the basis for an authentically African craft gin, Flowstone. The Flowstone Wild Cucumber Gin delivers a smooth, fresh and clean complex cucumber gin that is perfect for the everyday gin sipper.
For a fabulous tipple that highlights the best of this gin, try the Wild Cucumber Julep.
Wild Cucumber Julep
- 50ml Flowstone Wild Cucumber Gin
- 20ml fresh lime juice
- 15ml simple syrup*
- 2 to 4 mint leaves
Drop your Flowstone Wild Cucumber Gin, fresh lime juice, simple syrup and mint leaves into your shaker then get your arms moving. After mixing thoroughly, fine-strain it into a chilled gin-goblet, before adding three mint leaves and ice. Muddle the mint just before serving for a deliciously cool and refreshing cocktail for that hot summer’s day.