No Need to Hide the Gin

16 Mar, 2015

We have our very own Mother’s Ruin in Bree Street

The table said reserved but we settled in anyway, thinking that this sign either preceded or was for post our arrival. Happily perched with amber Inverroche gin and fever tree tonic in hand, there was a sudden tapping of glasses, clearing of throats and a quick whistle to indicate that the speeches were about to begin. Ooops, it appeared we had crashed someone’s party. The best strategy seemed to be to lie low, blend in and clap enthusiastically when everyone else did. Good call! It was the launch of Pieter Sock Oosthuizen’s amazing Light Craft Tonic called Socks (Pieter’s nickname after his inability to ever wear a matching pair). We had the decency and manners not to indulge in the free drinks. However we made a mental note promising to return and buy some of this handcrafted low sugar tonic made with cinchona bark, lemon and orange peel.

Mother’s Ruin opened in December 2014 to celebrate Gin. The drink previously reserved for safaris and grandparents; now enjoying a renewed youthful and contemporary following due to the growth of artisanal gin distilleries. New crafters such as Inverroche in Stilbaai are making interesting use of fynbos, herbs and spices. The 60 plus gins in Mother’s Ruin celebrate this trend in distilling coupled with fascinating new developments in tonic as we experienced.


The name originates from 18th century England with the opening of gin joints which allowed women to drink alongside men for the first time. This was supposed to have led to binge drinking, child neglect, alcoholism and prostitution. And very possibly so considering the poverty, desperation and cheapness of gin at the time.


Now we have our very own gin joint in Bree Street. A stylish space with a classic bar vibe upstairs, lounge and courtyard downstairs and small street side seating. Mother’s Ruin definitely dabbles in menu anxiety with the more than 60 gins, 7 or more tonics, innumerable cocktails; all we could think about was how soon could we return to sample more.


I called the owner at 9.59 a.m. sharp the next morning to ask about opening times for our Socks purchases. I think I could tell by his gentle tone that he reckoned he was dealing with a ruined mother.


The perfect bar for gin-lovers to kick off an evening of exploring your way through the ups and downs of Bree Street. Don’t miss it on First Thursdays.


Mother’s Ruin

219 Bree Street

Open from 4pm to late

082 455 2223


Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine. – Humphrey Bogart as Rick in Casablanca

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