New rooibos aperitif’s journey from a geyser to spirit gravitas
Despite its experimental beginnings in a geyser, Larry Berger's Spirit of Rooibos is not cheap and cheerful plonks, writes Lesley Stones
A new, award-winning alcoholic drink, Spirit of Rooibos, was first distilled at home in a steel water geyser by its inventor, Larry Berger — a plumber by trade. Berger was tired of domestically made geysers that spring leaks within a few years, so he imported stainless steel versions from Norway. When the rand took a dive, it was no longer viable to import them, but a friend who is a fan of home-made moonshine asked if he could have the geysers to convert into small distilling kits. As chairman of the South African Institute of Plumbing, Berger attended a plumbing conference in Scotland and while there, visited his favourite distillery on the island of Islay. "I fell in love with the whole mystical thing of making whisky and I came back thinking that one day I’d love to distill." His idea converged with that of his friend’s, and Berger gave him the spare Norwegian geysers in return for getting one back after it had been converted into a mini still. "He sent one back with some basic ...