For a gin and tonic lover, there is nothing quite as wonderful as that first sip from a freshly-made cocktail; that initial hit of bitterness, the dance of bubbles across the tongue and the clink of ice blocks against the glass. And those who have experienced it on the edge of a waterhole in the gathering dusk will tell you that the most delicious gin and tonic is one served off the back of a game vehicle.
These days, gin is gaining in popularity as a “trendy” spirit, spawning a variety of artisanal producers who distill the liquor using traditional methods and creating interesting new flavour profiles. The bars at Singita are stocked with a variety of well-known brands as well as a few bottles of handcrafted gin, like the Amber variety from Inverroche, a small batch distiller in Still Bay, South Africa. The well balanced and full bodied flavour combines the fresh floral botanicals of Africa with spices and berries from India and Europe.
A classic gin and tonic can be spiced up with all sorts of interesting ingredients, like lavender flowers, grapefruit zest, slices of cucumber, a twist of black pepper or a sprig of rosemary. Purists would no doubt prefer the simplicity of the original, so here is the recipe for a traditional gin and tonic, best enjoyed with a view and preferably a Big 5 sighting!
How to make the perfect gin and tonic:
Ingredients – what you’ll need:
2 oz. (60ml) of gin
3 oz. (90ml) tonic water
A handful of ice cubes
2 lime wedges
Method – what to do:
1. Squeeze one of the lime wedges into the bottom of a highball glass then drop in the wedge
2. Pour in the gin
3. Fill the glass most of the way with ice then stir for a few seconds
4. Top with tonic water and the second lime wedge (not squeezed)
These photographs were taken on a recent game drive in Singita Kruger National Park, a 33,000-acre concession on the South African border with Mozambique. The lodges in this reserve, Singita Lebombo Lodge and Singita Sweni Lodge, were built to “touch the earth lightly”, as part of Singita’s mission is to create and maintain a balance between conservation, community development and ecotourism. You can find out more about this philosophy on our website.
Perched atop a gently sloping hill in northern Tanzania, with a breathtaking view across the Serengeti plains, lies a turn-of-the-century stone manor house with a sweeping veranda that leads down to a lush, rolling lawn. This is Singita Sasakwa Lodge; an elegant property that harks back to the safari splendour of yesteryear.
From Sasakwa Hill, the eye is irresistibly drawn over the endless grasslands and acacia forests below, to the blue mountains in the distant horizon. Year-round, the area boasts an abundance of game and it is a very special experience to watch the animals scattered across the wide plains, or witness the spectacle of a rainbow after a welcome shower of rain.
Singita Sasakwa Lodge holds special appeal for those with a passion for refined luxury, ensconcing its guests in comfort, charm and old-world sophistication. The food and beverage menu at the lodge reflects this, and traditional cooking methods are approached with a classic but experimental attitude. One such example is the Blueberry Gin Royale – a fruity, refreshing twist on the more typical Sloe Royale. This cocktail epitomises the regal opulence of the classically beautiful Singita Sasakwa Lodge.
BLUEBERRY GIN ROYALE
Ingredients – what you will need:
1 cup blueberries + extra for garnish
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 bottle of sparkling wine
½ cup gin
4 long sprigs of thyme
1 cup ice
Method – what to do:
1. In a small saucepan, bring the blueberries, water and sugar to a boil
2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the blueberries are soft and the simple syrup has turned to a bright pink colour
3. Remove from the heat then drain the blueberries and allow to cool
4. In a cocktail shaker, add the ice and gin and shake until the gin is ice cold
5. Divide the gin between the four Champagne flutes and add 1 tablespoon of blueberry syrup to each glass
6. Slowly pour the sparkling wine down the side of the glass until it is ¾ full
7. Garnish with fresh blueberries and a sprig of thyme
Makes 4 servings
Singita Sasakwa Lodge is one of five lodges and camps in Singita Grumeti, situated adjacent to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. The region forms an integral part of the Serengeti-Mara Ecosystem, the home of the Great Migration and excellent year-round game viewing. Learn more about the area on our website or watch this video to see its incredible beauty for yourself.
A tall, refreshing drink on a hot summer’s afternoon as you overlook the Malilangwe Dam is just the ticket after a long journey. Luckily for guests arriving at Singita Pamushana Lodge in Zimbabwe, that’s exactly what they get served when they first step onto the magnificent pool deck. The Wild Hibiscus Spritzer is a non-alcoholic cocktail that contains an exotic flower grown exclusively in Australia, whose petals slowly unfurl in the bottom of the glass as you drink it. It’s an unusual and beautiful detail that perfectly complements the stunning location of the lodge, set amongst 130 000 acres of wilderness.
To recreate this drink at home, simply place one flower along with a dash of the syrup in the bottom of a glass and top with equal quantities of soda water and sparkling apple juice. The syrup gives the drink a delicate blush that creeps up the glass – it’s almost too beautiful to drink!
It makes an especially eye-catching Christmas cocktail and would look beautiful served at any festive function. Simply replace the soda water and apple juice with champagne and you have the perfect party tipple.
You can buy Wild Hibiscus flowers in syrup from their website for delivery worldwide or visit one of their stockists.
Singita Pamushana Lodge is the ecotourism arm of the Malilangwe Trust in Gonarezhou National Park in southeastern Zimbabwe. Its role is to help foster the sustainability of the wildlife and broader ecology, while enabling guests to share the magic of the lodge and the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. Learn more about the Trust and our conservation efforts in the area on our website.
It’s often the simple things in life that are the most rewarding; a good book, soft, fluffy towels and a quiet afternoon by the pool. At Singita Sabora Tented Camp in Tanzania, moments like these are easy to come by, as guests unwind in the peaceful seclusion of 350,000 acres of untouched wilderness. Simple pleasures also come in the form of the camp’s signature non-alcoholic cocktail, the recipe for which is shared with us by Lodge Manager, Wilson Owino:
Ingredients – what you’ll need:
* Fresh passionfruit juice
* Fresh mango juice
* Fresh lime juice
* A drizzle of honey
* A splash of grenadine syrup
Method – how it is made:
The fresh juices are all shaken together with ice, with a small drizzle of honey for sweetness. The concoction is then poured into a hurricane glass in front of the guest at check-in along with a splash of grenadine to give a feeling of a sunrise in the glass.
You can spike the Sabora Special with vodka or rum for some extra zing, or add pomegranate seeds for a fruity twist. Share your version with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and check out our other delicious recipes here.
A poolside aperitif is the perfect way to end a sweltering summer’s day in the bush. Returning from an evening game drive, you are met by the glow of the hurricane lamps dotting the wooden deck, as their reflection glistens on the water. The gentle clink of ice in your glass is accompanied by the singing of crickets and the distant grunting of a lion rising from his daytime slumber.
One of our most popular cocktails is the Singita Sunrise, a rebranded version of the classic tequila-based drink.
Ingredients – what you need:
45ml (3 parts) tequila
90ml (6 parts) orange juice
15ml (1 part) Grenadine syrup
Orange slice and a cherry to garnish
Method – what to do:
Pour the tequila and orange juice into glass over ice.
Add the grenadine, which will sink to the bottom.
Do not stir. Garnish and serve.
Why not make your own Singita Sunrise this weekend? Share your photos with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and tag them with #singitasunrise.