the finest fruits are used by Uncle Jack, who personally oversees the
fermentation and distillation never wavering from the secret recipe and
never compromising on the quality of his special brand of premium
subtle flavour embodies the pioneering spirit of the adventurer who heeds
the call of wildest Africa.
the Nyati jjj Distillery and taste the True Spirits of Africa. In the
glorious custom of the distilleries of old, Nyati is housed in a
traditional farm building. What’s different about Nyati, though, is that
it stands within the confines of a game reserve - Buffalo Hills Private
Camp and Game Reserve - where you can embrace the Big Six in the heart of
the Garden Route, on South Africa’s Southern Cape Coast.
Making Nyati jjj
Making our Nyati
jjj Mampoer begins when the citrus growers of the Garden Route deliver us
their oranges, naartjies (clementines) and grapefruit between May and
The juice is extracted in an automatic juicer which cuts each
fruit in half and squeezes it. Everything else, though, is done by hand to
ensure that our product is of the highest quality (in fact, the raw juice
is of such a high quality that it’s a firm favourite with our guests at
Buffalo Hills Private Camp).
Pith and pips are removed from the juice
to prevent any possibility of methyl alcohol appearing during the
After sifting, the juice is poured into huge drums where it
naturally begins to ferment within a day or so. We add brown sugar and a
natural, imported yeast to boost the alcohol content, and the mixture is
allowed to continue fermenting for four to eight weeks, depending on the
weather (fermentation slows in the cooler months).
Once the juice has reached the desired alcohol content, we
pour it into a 1000-litre copper kettle, bolt the head down firmly, and
bring it slowly to just below boiling point. We heat our kettles with gas
because it allows for accurate temperature control (pot stills were
traditionally heated with wood fires, but this leaves the distiller
without any control over the temperature: at 100° or more, the distillate
rushes through the kettle and produces an inferior product which contains
impurities - water, methanol, oils, etc.).
Pot stills produce two kinds
of alcohol - methanol and ethanol. Methanol, or wood alcohol, comes from
the pips and pith of the fruit, and has a much lower boiling point - 65° -
than ethanol - 78°. Although we take great care to remove as many
impurities as we can during the juicing process, some of this dangerous
methanol always appears in the distillation. But, because it has a lower
boiling point, it comes out of the still before the ethanol: this
‘voorloop’ is a cloudy liquid and is discarded.
At 86°, the distillate
clears and the pure, ethanol - drinkable alcohol - appears.
About 15 -
20% of the distillate that comes from the kettle is alcohol. At its peak,
immediately after the voorloop has run out, the distillate’s strength is
between 68 and 70% alcohol by volume, but this decreases as the process
When the temperature inside the kettle reaches 96°, alcohol
content reaches 46% by volume and the distillate turns cloudy again: this
is called the naloop. This highly prized products is separated from the
heart of the run and distilled a second time to remove cloudiness and
produce our traditional double-distilled Nyati jjj
traditional copper pot stills to produce our Nyati jjj Mampoer and Nyati
jjj Liqueurs because they are safe (unlike lead stills which can lead to
lead poisoning) and because the thermal qualities of the copper allow our
distiller to maintain the steady temperatures he needs to produce a pure,
quality alcohol. Like all great inventions, copper pot stills are highly
efficient and work on a simple principle: when alcohol reaches its boiling
point (methanol at 65° and ethanol at 78°) it turns to steam and rises.
The steam is trapped by the head of the kettle and runs down an escape
into a heat exchanger where it condenses and runs out into a collection