Jan Braai’s countdown calendar adds spirit to National Braai Day

Albany Xtra

BECAUSE braaing is thirsty work, Jan Braai has partnered with Sugarbird to create a Sugarbird and Friends craft spirits showcase, counting down to the celebration of National Braai Day. This will be  South Africa’s first craft spirits showcase to contain multiple types of spirits.

Celebrating the South African culinary tradition of uniting around fires and holding braais on Heritage Day, this countdown calendar aims to build excitement throughout September by offering heritage spirits from some of South Africa’s best craft brands for enjoyment every day of “braai month”.

From aged potstill heritage brandies, to fynbos and London Dry gins, a range of rums, Karoo agave, sipping vodka, a unique African whisky, and even a piquant chilli sauce and limited edition brandy from Jan Braai himself, you get to sample and enjoy a different brand and spirit every day, culminating in National Braai Day on September 24.

“This year, National Braai Day falls on a Friday, which means we actually have three days over that weekend on which to light a fire and make dishes from fish to steak and chicken, definitely a potjie and maybe even some vegetables over the coals,” says Jan.

The 24x40ml pack includes Sugarbird’s fynbos gins, 14-year-old potstill brandy, plus its long-awaited rum, launched in this pack. Sample the fresh cucumber notes of Pienaar and Son Empire gin, multi-award winning Die Warm Rasta Rum from De Vry (as well as its farm-grown vodka), Hope’s Rhum Agricole made from squeezed sugarcane, exciting and irreverent new-comer Ja Nee Fok brandy, and Boplaas single grain bourbon cask whisky. Kindred Spirits launches its Howler Dark Spiced Rum and its Lean on Me Cape Dry Gin, to celebrate the better times ahead.

There are three “surprise” slots for gins and three for brandy where you will be delighted with names like Inverroche, Monks, Ginologist, Wilderer, Mirari, and heritage potstill brandies like Sydney Back’s 15-year-old, Oude Molen’s 14-year-old XO – and even a Groot Constantia single barrel VSOP usually only available at the cellar door.  Tasting notes and perfect serves are included inside each door (numbered for the date in September from 1 to 24), which opens to reveal your spirit mini.

Follow live on Instagram each day from September 1 to September 24, when @JanBraai will talk you through the nuances of the liquid of that countdown day and suggest pairings around the braai.

“We enjoy encouraging exploration of new and exciting tastes – life should be about discovery,” says Sugarbird’s MD Matt Bresler. “As we’ve shown with our gin and brandy Sugarbird and Friends showcases, South Africa is producing a myriad of interesting and well-made spirits. Sugarbird hopes that with collaborations like the Jan Braai spirits countdown, we are helping customers to celebrate these in an accessible way.”

The Sugarbird and Friends/Jan Braai Spirit calendar is available online at Takealot and Smous Online from R629.

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