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Mon, 05 Mar 2018
How the strongest gin in the world is saving water in Cape Town...

You might want a mixer with this gin – it is 80% alcohol. Image: Pienaar & Son Distilling Co. via Facebook

Tipplers in the drought-stricken city of Cape Town will now have an opportunity to play a role in helping to conserve water with the introduction of what is being hailed as the world’s strongest gin.

Pienaar & Son Distilling Company is launching a Drought Edition of their gin which contains 80% alcohol – and saves about 500ml of water per bottle.

“Next Monday (26th Feb) we get to launch something we have been thinking about and working on for quite some time. – Gin…”

Posted by Pienaar & Son Distilling Co. on Tuesday, February 20, 2018

A Scottish distillery earlier this month claimed it had created the strongest gin in the world with 77% alcohol. Twin River Distillery created only 101 bottles of this limited edition gin. A small Swedish distillery created what was previously believed to be strongest gin in the world with 76% alcohol.

André Pienaar is adding 200 litres of water to a new batch of gin to dilute it down to 43% alcohol. He says it is common practice to dilute gin with water to bring the alcohol level down.

“Everyone has their different things‚ but generally speaking it comes out of the still definitely well above 70% [alcohol]. Then you basically just chuck in a whole lot of water to get it down to 43%‚” Pienaar said.

“If you don’t dilute it with water‚ then single shots have got double the strength and double the flavour. If you’re drinking it as a gin and tonic‚ then a single [of the Drought Edition] has the same effect as a double [of most gins].”

Pienaar said the taste is the same as any other gin.

“If you put the two of them (Drought Edition and diluted gin) as a blind test in front of a world expert‚ I am sure they might be able to tell the difference here or there‚ but it should taste to most people basically identical.”

According to the regulations of the Liquor Products Act 60 of 1989‚ there is no limit on how much alcohol gin may have. It only says gin must have at least 43% alcohol.

The Drought Edition will be launched on Monday online at Pienaar & Son’s online shop ( and some liquor stores. A bottle will cost you R599 and is available in Eastern spices and fresh citrus or fresh citrus and cucumber.

Jeremy Crowder commented on the announcement on Facebook: “Now we can pour our gin in half the time.”

David Cope remarked on Instagram: “Also‚ can still have a double of Drought Gin if you’ve had a rough day.”



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Mon, 05 Feb 2018
Panic and blame as Cape Town braces for water shut-off

For some residents of drought-stricken Cape Town, the prospect of the taps running dry is almost too much to bear.

For others, the thought of queueing under the scorching summer sun for a meagre daily water ration will be a necessary evil to keep their businesses solvent.

But the day, currently forecast for April 12, has been creeping closer – brought forward by the city’s excessive consumption despite repeated public warnings from increasingly panicked officials.

On “Day Zero”, as it is called, the ordinary water supply will be shut down and taps will run dry.

Residents of the city of four million will then be forced to collect a daily water ration of just 25-litres from 200 water collection points – not even enough for a two-minute shower in normal times.

With about 5 000 families for each water collection point, the police and army are ready to be deployed to prevent unrest in the lines.

Farrel Cohen, manager of the Metropolitan Golf Club in Mouille Point close to the city’s World Cup stadium, said he was “too afraid to even think about” what “Day Zero” would mean for Cape Town.

“Nobody knows what to expect – people are running to supermarkets to buy water,” he told AFP.

The central business district will likely be spared a total shut-off to protect the economy.

But the full impact of a major global city losing its piped potable water supply is unknown.

Reservoirs around Cape Town, in the grip of its worst drought for a century, have gone largely unreplenished for more than three years in the absence of significant rainfall and are about to run dry.

Residents are now ordered to use just 87 litres daily – falling to 50-litres on February 1 – to conserve supply.

A typical shower uses 15-litres per minute while a standard toilet consumes up to 15 litres per flush, according to WaterWise, a South African water usage awareness campaign.

‘Cancelled trips’

Cohen, whose fairways have suffered from the water restrictions, said that the realities of life after “Day Zero” were hard to understand.

“We haven’t been notified, it’s a bit of an unknown,” he said.

Businesses are feeling the pinch too.

As well as having to contend with costly limits on their water use, tourists from home and abroad have been deterred from visiting South Africa’s “Mother City”.

“I know many overseas visitors who cancelled their trips because of the conditions,” said Cohen.

The city has nearly halved its consumption from an estimated 1.1-billion litres a day in 2016 to 586-million litres daily now.

But every day that Capetonians use more than 500-million litres brings “Day Zero” forward.

And the fall in consumption is hurting the city in other ways with lost revenues from water bills putting pressure on Cape Town’s coffers.

Nikita Elliott, the manager of the “Cape to Cuba” waterfront restaurant in Kalk Bay – a tourist hotspot outside the city centre – is plotting how to keep the business going using only water from standpipes.

“It will be a major extra task and I also think it will be very costly – but business is [...]

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Mon, 05 Feb 2018
Miss Universe back on home soil after victory

THE first thing Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters did after she won the Miss South Africa title was to present the pageant with a power-point presentation of everything she wanted to do to get to Miss Universe.

Fast forward to November last year and she finally had the chance to wear that crown.

Werner Wessels, style and etiquette mentor to various reigning queens, told Nel-Peters to make sure that her hands were on top of her rival just before they made the announcement for Miss Universe, because the one who wins always has her hands on top.

“Initially my hands were underneath her and then I remembered what Werner said and I put them on top,” she laughed as she relayed the story to the media gathered at The Maslow Hotel in Sandton for a press conference ahead of her week-long visit in the country.

“This victory was a country effort. People I haven’t even met supported me.

“I get goosebumps from knowing what a supportive country we are and hope this inspires every boy and girl.

“I had to go to the other side of the world to reach my dreams; it is possible,” she said.

Esther Swan, director for Talent Development at Miss Universe, said she was excited to be bringing Nel-Peters back home and to experience South Africa herself.

“We got such an amazing delegate who came to a competition and instantly brought home the crown to you all.

“This is an incredible moment for me to be here and witness and see Demi shine throughout the year. The sky is the limit.”

This week, Nel-Peters will travel across the country to do workshops for her Unbreakable women empowerment initiative and meet delegates.

She will also attend the Sun Met in Cape Town and visit her hometown Sedgefield.

Living in New York has been a bit of an adjustment for the 22-year-old who is used to lots of sunshine.

“Have you seen how the weather is there?

“My wardrobe has been the biggest adjustment,” she joked, adding that her role as Miss South Africa definitely set her up well for taking on the Miss Universe title.

“We have so many cultures here, it was already like being a mini Miss Universe.

“This title now applies on a bigger scale. New York is also such a concrete jungle, you miss the open spaces we have here in our country. We are so lucky to have that,” she said.

Nel-Peters arrived in the country yesterday morning to much fanfare at OR Tambo International Airport.

She was recently named one of the most influential young South Africans by Avance Media.

“It is such an honour. I look up to some of the people on that list and to be named among them; that’s what this platform stands for. If we stand together and build each other up we can do whatever we want to do.”

She said her definition of success was happiness.

“You have to do what truly makes you happy.

“I realised at Miss SA and more so at Miss Universe that it’s important to focus on your strengths and work on your [...]

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