Cocktail Corner – No 1… Gin and Bear It

Safrean Carla McMahon is compiling a book of gin recipes to combine her love of photography and her passion for craft gin. This first episode features The Ugly Negroni

For the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of photographing (and tasting) various Gin Cocktails.

As a product photographer, I love photographing beverages and bottles and with that in mind and the fact that I have always wanted to create a book, my next personal photography project is a recipe book of Gin cocktails. Okay, maybe my love of gin, especially small-batch crafted gin, has something to do with my choice too. Each recipe has been  submitted by a different South African craft gin distillery, and showcases,  a different South African small batch gin. At the moment there are 33 gin brands that have joined the project and most have already delivered their gin to my door. I think my neighbours may be starting to wonder about my drinking habits.

The recipes are too good and too delicious not to share. So in the next few months, I will be sharing the various recipes, showcasing each locally-made South African small-batch crafted gin.

The first gin cocktail recipe is one of my favourites so far, the UGLY NEGRONI from Ugly Gin



1/8 Grapefruit 

25 ml UGLY Gin

25 ml Campari

25 ml Martini Rosso


Squeeze the grapefruit into a cocktail shaker. 

Add the gin, Campari and Martini Rosso.

Add ice and shake vigorously.

Then pop in the squashed grapefruit and serve. 

Personally, I top it up with Indian tonic water because I am a bit of a nerd and because I love the fizz. 

What makes this Negroni Ugly?

It uses a grapefruit as opposed to an orange. 

It is shaken and not stirred (James Bond would approve) so it is a bit cloudy and according to Andre from Pienaar & Son Distilling Company, “it is not as snooty and refined”

What makes the gin UGLY?

Every expense has been minimalised, to the consumer and to the planet too. There are no bells and whistles with regards to the bottle or packaging, the labels are cut offs, the bottles are hand stamped, no budget is allocated to marketing. All efforts are put into the quality of the liquid, which means that this small batch crafted gin is both high quality and affordable. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.


4 Responses

  1. Craft gin. The newest craze – albeit already several years old. The Dutch surely started something with that little juniper berry.
    Nice to get many different ways to mix and have fun. Thanks Carla.

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