Ugandan Waragi’s Brand Statement:
“Uganda Waragi is the invigoratingly pure drink that enhances the moments that you share with your friends.”
Ugandan Waragi has been produced since 1965 and until about 1995 it’s quality varied as the base spirit came from a variety of local producers whose crude Enguli was redistilled into Ugandan Waragi. The name “Ugandan Waragi” is a derivation of “War Gin”
The East African Disitilers’ website details it’s Uganda Waragi’s main markets as: Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Southern Sudan and the UK. An suggests mixing Uganda Waragi with Coke, Lime, Juice or Tonic.
Juniper and angelica on the nose. There’s an initial softness with some juniper, a bit of spice and some rooty earthiness. I was surprised by some of the sweet notes in the gin and there is a slight tongue tingle. There is a slight cloying bitterness on the finish, a bit like tonic water. When I added a bit of water the juniper cam through a lot more.
#2) Gin & Tonic
I used Fentiman’s tonic, which created a drink that was fresh and light with citrus and spice (there was also some subtle juniper). This was very refreshing and is a good standard of Gin & Tonic, on the downside if you like a really punch of juniper flavour in your G&T , this might not be for you.
This didn’t stand up to the vermouth very well (only a 5:1 ratio) so to get a dry Martini you need to use even less vermouth than usual. This wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either.
Quite a fresh drink and the Maraschino & Violette can easily be tasted. I like the drink but the Gin is rather underwhelming when mixed in this cocktail.
#5) Gin Sour
An interesting reaction between the sugar syrup and the spice of the gin. Juniper was really only present on the finish. Refreshing with the lime juice and the spirit reacting nicely. It’s a very tasty drink and I fancy another.
#6) Gin Bump (Buck)
You can still taste the gin in this drink but the Waragi flavours are not overpowering. The spice from the gins botanicals are extenuated by the ginger ale and the lemon juice tries the drink together. The sugar from the mixer stops the Buck from being too tart. A very neat drink, simple & tasty.
This was pretty flavourful, more complex than most Alexanders. Unusual but tasty with the chocolate coming through and the drink have a fine balance of flavours.
Superb, just the right cloudiness and a great balance between the Rose’s and the Gin, neither over powers the other. Has the chilled crispness every good Gimlet should have. Superb.
#9) Tom Collins
I found this drink rather dull; even with upped proportions of the gin the Waragi was lost.
#10) Gin & Coke
OK so maybe this actually does work, as in this combination makes a palatable, refreshing drink. I can imagine if you had lots of this Gin knocking about this could be quite a nice drink, defiantly my choice over a vodka coke/orange/tonic. You can still taste the gin but it is rather subdued (2:1 ratio). Thinking about the market the product is designed for, this make sense as a recommended serve because it’s simple and the ingredients (Coca cola) are easy to come by.
Ugandan Waragi is a drink I’ve wanted to try for a very long time and, I think, it was well worth the wait. It’s market and back story are like no other Gin (I have tried) and I’m always amused at the reaction folks have to the little packets the small portions of gin come in.
Cocktail highlights include the Gin Sour, Gin & Tonic and Gin Bump. This Gin works well in simple cocktails and when there is a bit of citrus present too.
*For details of Gin definitions and categorization please this article.