The fruits of a baobab tree in the village of Thiawe, Senegal, where the baobab is called the Tree of Life. The fruit is nutritious, possibly having more vitamin C than oranges and exceeding the calcium content of cow's milk and is also known as "sour gourd" or "monkey's bread". The dry pulp of the fruit, after separation from the seeds and fibers, is eaten directly or mixed into porridge or milk. AFP PHOTO / GEORGES GOBET (Photo credit should read GEORGES GOBET/AFP via Getty Images)
Food - Drink
The Citrusy Fruit That Makes South Africa's Bayab Gin Unique
Gin is often associated with buttoned-up Englishmen or bearded Brooklyn bartenders, but this versatile spirit is made all over the world. At its simplest, gin is an alcohol made from grain and flavored with juniper berries, but from there, distillers add all kinds of flavorings and botanicals, such as South African Bayab gin made with a special fruit.
Bayab is a gin brand from Spearhead, an African spirits group created by co-founders Chris Frederick and Damola Timeyin. Since winning gold at the 2022 San Francisco Wine and Spirits competition, Bayab has drawn attention to South African gin and their unique flavors owed to botanicals sourced from the Cape Floral Kingdom region.
This region offers an array of botanicals that can't be found anywhere else, including rooibos, licorice, African wormwood, confetti bush, and salvia, but Bayab's defining flavor comes from the fruit of the baobab tree. Found throughout Africa, this "tree of life" produces large, oblong fruits that taste sweet and citrusy, almost like sherbet.
While Bayab's gins do carry that signature juniper flavor, it's the citric flavor from the baobab that comes to the forefront of the palate. Baobab fruit makes these gins truly special, and if you get your hands on a bottle, they should be enjoyed in simple preparations where their flavors will shine through, such as a gin and tonic or martini.