Date Night Bucket List: Indaba Hotel Flowstone Gin Pairing

As the story goes, a bunch of students from Cape Town were sipping on their Gin and Tonics, and the only garnish they could find in the garden was wild cucumber. This transformed the taste of their Gin and they were convinced that this needed to be bottled and shared for others to enjoy. And so Flowstone was born.


  • Flowstone Wild African Botanical Gin is hosting an array of Gin inspired experiences at The Indaba Hotel Gin School until the end of July 2022.
  • Explore the origin of Gin then fast forward to modern times and understand the great popularity Gin enjoys today.
  • Start with a Gin Tasting or go all-in with a Gin School Masterclass and make your own Gin.
  • Visit www.sandtontimes.co.za for more stories.


The Indaba Hotel Gin School hosted a select group of media and influencers to launch their brand collaboration with Flowstone Gin, a handcrafted, small batch premium gin crafted using unique African Bushveld Botanical. Flowstone Gin maker Mark French welcomed us into his class for the night at the Indaba Hotel Gin School, where we were seated amongst distilling pots, tasting glasses and boards of canapés with a rather curious looking fruit taking center stage.


The wild cucumber, which forms the base of the signature Flowstone Gin’s, is officially “the African horned cucumber”, which has interesting tendrils, hairy leaves and stems – nothing like a cucumber I’ve ever seen. Image: Makaira Govender

The wild cucumber apparently bears white or yellow flowers, which produce a soft-shelled fruit that resembles a sea creature. I’m not sure of why someone cut it open and discovered this – but it has a lovely, clean yet grassy taste. Flavours typically from the Western Cape region, is what you’d find in Flowstone Gin variants and for the tasting, these were each perfectly paired with bite sized winter canapés from the Indaba’s Head Chef, Joe Owen.


Mark encourages us to first sip the Gin neat, to experience the flavours fully. While tonic was available, he pushed us to try the Gin with still water – I was surprised at how this completely opened up the Gin allowing the flavours to be released.


Next it was time to try the Flowstone signature Wild Cucumber Gin paired with a Smoked Trout Pate. The tastes were fresh and clean; almost cleansing the palette before the richer flavours came through. Strong cucumber and kiwi notes, balanced with juniper, worked well with the Trout. Then the Flowstone Bushwillow Gin was paired with peppered Beef Fillet, topped with Chicken Liver Parfait. This was a rich, nutty flavoured Gin, which was warming and distinct. It went well with the meat dish.


We also tried a Flowstone Marula Gin paired with Cumin Gouda – fruity and floral, it went well with the lighter cheese canapé. I was delighted about the combination of powerful cumin with our proudly South African Marula, which is so distinct in itself. However, the cumin flavour was subtle and seemed to amplify the flavour of the Marula.


Last up – and my favourite of the night – was the exclusive, limited-edition Flowstone Snuffbox Gin paired with a chocolate brownie. This is a perfect dessert Gin with notes of cacao, burnt caramel and dessert wine. Delicious and diverse! I left with the impression that Gin and Tonic can be reinvented into wonderful combinations, for a variety of interesting drinks – localised and special to our country – definitely a journey worth exploring.


The miniature distilling process to create your own artisan bottle of Gin. Image: Makaira Govender

Choose from a variety of different Gin School experiences:

Curated 45-minute Gin Tasting of the award winning Flowstone Wild African Botanical Gin: Bushwillow, Marula and Wild Cucumber.
Next Date: 23 June 2022
Time: 6pm
Cost: R150 per person


Educational and exciting 2-hour experiential journey through the intriguing world of Gin in a “No Frills” Masterclass and take-home a 500ml bottle of hand crafted Botanical Gin.
Next Dates: 29 June 2022
Time: 6pm
Cost: R495 per person


To book with The Indaba Hotel, call: +27-11-840-6600 or send the Gin School an email. For more on Flowstone Gin, visit their website.


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