Elephants and Gorillaz

By Olivia Newby

You may not particularly know what the marula fruit tastes like when ripe but elephants do. As the February month approaches, Marula trees start to produce fruit. During this period, herds of elephants start to move from one Marula tree to the next. Elephants have evolved a strong affiliation with these fruits and pick them up off the ground or from the trees and feed on them with fondness. While this fruit might not be well known the culture, purpose, and heritage pack a punch to create an utterly unique gin, Amarula African Gin. Read Elephants and Gorillaz to find out more.

Amarula African Gin X Chef William Chilila 

Trees of all kinds are the motherland of the world. Vegetation that provides oxygen, stores carbon, stabilises the soil, a home for wildlife, as well as gives materials for tools and shelter. It’s not often one would comment on the beauty of a tree, but here’s where things change. It is the specialty of countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe that lies the species of tree, the Marula tree.

This tree provides a unique and exotic fruit for a spectacular purpose. Among the Zulu people, the marula tree symbolizes women’s fertility, softness, and tenderness, and newborn girls are welcomed into the world with traditional marula ceremonies. The Marula tree itself produces a kind of exotic marula fruit, this fruit contributes to Amarula African Gin.

Each Marula produces hundreds of sweet and highly nutritious fruits, which turn yellow when ripe and are often found on the ground. It is here where elephants have evolved a strong affiliation with these fruits and pick and eat them. Now it is time to harvest the fruit for one of its purposes, Amarula African Gin.

Amarula African Gin

To find out how the marula fruit contributes to creating the utterly unique gin. It is important to learn about the history behind the curious fruit and the tree it is grown from. The Marula tree is known as “The Marriage Tree’ in Zulu culture as it is believed those who marry beneath its branches will enjoy vigour and fertility all their days.

Required to make a unique gin like the Amarula African Gin, is solely the product from the pulp of a fruit. The marula fruit has such a distinctive and unique taste giving the gin such an exotic taste, offering a sweet orange flourish with a spicy backbone.

The trees can’t be farmed so the wild fruits are only picked by the local community who harvest Marula trees in a conservation way so as to allow regeneration of the tree. In doing so most harvested fruits at the ripe stage are hand-picked from the fallen fruit from the ground. Any fruit that is picked off the tree will be rejected to ensure the sustainability of the product.

Amarula African Gin X Chef William Chilila

In celebration of the launch- Amarula African Gin partnered with previous Masterchef contestant Chef William Chilila to craft recipes that showcase the distinctive flavour of the marula fruit, and the unique ways that the gin can be used.

Chef William Chilila created the canapes to celebrate the African nations and his mixed heritage that are the source of the marula trees.

Amarula African Gin Chef William Chilila Bobotie Braised Beef Croquette and Yellow Rice

Here are some of the cocktail recipes that you can recreate at home using Amarula African Gin.

Amarula Gin Martini

The Gin Martini has been around forever, and for good reason. It features just three ingredients – vermouth, gin, and a choice of garnish, in this case, a basil leaf. The basil leaf compliments the marula fruit. Due to the initial flavor of the basil leaf having pronounced tones of black pepper, this aromatic herb ultimately adds a hint of sweetness to any dish.

Amarula African Gin, Amarula Gin Martinti

Amarula Gin Martini Recipe


  • 50ml Amarula African Gin
  • 10ml White Vermouth
  • 5ml Aperol
  • Basil Leaf to garnish


  1. Add ingredients to mixing glass.
  2. Add a handful of ice to the mixing glass.
  3. Stir for approximately 60 seconds.
  4. Taste on the back of your hand to test dilution.
  5. Serve in a chilled martini glass.
  6. Garnish with a basil leaf.

Amarula African Gin Pineapple Fizz

Ripening all the fruits with the Amarula African Gin Pineapple Fizz. The Marula fruit is often compared to complement fruits in a cocktail such as guava, lychee, apple, and pineapple. With this Gin Pineapple Fizz, the alcohol will enrich a mature note to spark the flavours of pineapple and lemon.

Amarula African Gin, The Pineapple Fizz

Amarula African Gin Pineapple Fizz Recipe


  • 50ml Amarula African Gin
  • 25ml Pineapple Juice
  • 25ml Lemon Juice
  • 15ml Gomme 
  • ½ Teaspoon Orange Marmalade
  • Splash of Prosecco or Soda
  • Pineapple Slice to garnish


  1. Coupe
  2. Shake all ingredients (except prosecco or soda) with ice.
  3. Double strain to chill coupe.
  4. Splash of prosecco or soda to awaken.
  5. Garnish with pineapple.

Amarula African Gin G&T

Does a G&T need an explanation as to why it is such a classic cocktail? The exotic Amarula African Gin just gives a sharp buzz to the cocktail known without any introduction.

Amarula African Gin, Amarula Gin G&T

Amarula African Gin G&T Recipe


  • 50ml Amarula African Gin
  • 200ml Indian Tonic Water
  • Slice of grapefruit


  1. Pour Amarula African Gin with Indian tonic served over ice and garnished with a slice of grapefruit.

Amarula is a purpose-driven brand with a strong commitment to supporting the wider ecosystem of the marula fruit. The Amarula Trust was originally set up to safeguard the African elephant which is vital to the marula fruit harvest. As well as to preserve the legacy of its local communities. With every litre of Amarula African Gin sold, £1 goes to the Amarula Trust – supporting elephant conservation and local communities which harvest this special fruit once a year.

While gin has been back in fashion now for a while, vodka is also making a return. To celebrate that, Smirnoff has recently released a collaborative bottle design with a major band.

Embracing the power of the distinctive flavour, Smirnoff presents an exclusive limited edition partnered with the band Gorillaz. Smirnoff Vodka has partnered with Gorillaz to release four new twists on their classic cocktails along with a limited-edition bottle, designed by band members for Gorillaz.

Smirnoff x Gorillaz Limited Edition Bottle

The widely-known vodka joins in collaboration with the world’s most successful virtual act. The collaboration is to celebrate Smirnoff’s history in distinctive cocktail culture with the personal incorporation of each member of the band’s personality. The collaboration with Gorillaz also released four new twists on their classic cocktails recipes making up ‘True Originals’.

Band members Murdoc, Noodle, Russel, and 2D each created their own spin on cocktails from Smirnoff’s classic cocktail portfolio. Murdoc created the Vodka Murdini (based on the classic vodka martini) while Russel’s Smirnoff Brooklyn, from Russel himself, is said to pay homage to the vodka Manhattan and his love for chilli.

2D has turned the Smirnoff Vodka highball into the Vodka Eyeball, inspired by his pair of eyes which go from back to white. Lastly, Noodle has created Sayonara Martini Cocktail, based on the Smirnoff Passionfruit martini.

Smirnoff x Gorillaz Cocktail Range

Smirnoff Vodka martini rebranded as the Vodka Murdini

Until smooth Smirnoff Vodka came along, nobody had tried using vodka in a martini. In the 1950s, Smirnoff switched the ideas up completely by replacing gin in the classic cocktail. With huge success now millions of martini fans mix with Smirnoff Vodka instead of gin.

Murdoc Niccals is affectionately regarded by the Gorillaz fandom community as Pickle. Owing to his green skin thought it would be the perfect touch to also replace the olive with a pickle. Smirnoff is a ‘spirit’ of originality, so why not switch things up once again?

Smirnoff x Gorillaz, Vodka Murdini

Vodka Murdini Recipe


  • 50ml Smirnoff No.21 Vodka
  • 15ml Belsazar Dry Vermouth
  • 10ml Olive brine
  • Dash of saline optional
  • Pickles (to garnish)


  1. Fill the cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Measure Smirnoff Vodka, Vermouth, and brine in a jigger and pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker.
  3. Shake until cold.
  4. Double strain into a cold martini glass.
  5. Garnish with pickles.

The Smirnoff Vodka Manhattan rebranded as the Smirnoff Brooklyn

Named after a New York City Borough and dating back to 1864, Manhattan was originally enjoyed with whiskey. Fast forward seven decades, once again in the 1930s, Smirnoff opened up a new venture of flavours for those who thought they knew how a Manhattan should be served. Vodka is a clear alcohol winning in appearance and taste. Lovers and enthusiasts of Manhattan haven’t questioned the refurbished recipe since.

A drink originated by Manhatten, however, Russel Hobbs himself is from Brooklyn. With the company of endless possibilities, Russel Hobbs rebrands the drink in dedication to his hometown with a kicking twist.

Smirnoff x Gorillaz, Brooklyn

Smirnoff Brooklyn Recipe


  • 50ml Smirnoff No.21 Vodka
  • 25ml Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Chilli slices
  • Whole large red chilli


  1. Measure both Smirnoff Vodka and Vermouth in a jigger and pour cocktail ingredients into a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add 2 dashes of Angostura Bitters and 2-3 slices of chilli.
  3. Stir down until cold.
  4. Strain into a cold martini glass.
  5. Garnish with the whole chilli.

The Smirnoff Vodka highball rebranded as the Vodka Eyeball

Like the other iconic cocktails made famous by Smirnoff, the highball has a long history dating back to the 1890s but it wasn’t until the 1950s that Smirnoff mixologists swapped out the usual brandy or whiskey for their iconic ultra-smooth blend.

2D famously has a pair of eyes that (for reasons unknown) go from black to white, and he keeps a pet satsuma. Meet: the Eyeball. He still doesn’t know it’s actually called highball, hence the addition of a gummy eye garnish.

Vodka Eyeball Recipe

Smirnoff x Gorillaz, Vodka Eyeball Cocktail


  • 50ml Smirnoff No.21 Vodka
  • Soda Water
  • Fresh lemon juice – squeezed from a large wedge
  • Eyeball gummies (optional)


  1. Fill a long glass with ice.
  2. Measure Smirnoff Vodka in a jigger and add to the glass.
  3. Top with soda water.
  4. Squeeze in the lemon juice and stir.
  5. Garnish with eyeball gummies.

The Smirnoff Passionfruit martini cocktail rebranded as the Sayonara Martini Cocktail

This modern classic passionfruit martini cocktail has become a UK favourite in the last several years with Smirnoff being part of its revolution since 2008. The delicious combination of passion fruit, vanilla, and lime flavours burst through the smoothness of Smirnoff Vodka – a cocktail that was truly made for flavour first.

With the interpretation for Sayonara’s passionfruit martini cocktail. Introducing passionfruit and with echoes of Sayonara’s childhood in Japan with yuzu sake. Yuzu is a citrus fruit and plant in the family Rutaceae of East Asian origin. Yuzu has been cultivated mainly in East Asia. Adding a delicate touch of vanilla completes Noodle’s, Sayonara Martini, a dedication to flavour and heritage.

Smirnoff x Gorillaz, Sayonara Martini

Sayonara Martini Cocktail Recipe


  • 50ml Smirnoff No.21 Vodka
  • 25ml Yuzu Sake
  • 15ml Vanilla syrup
  • 35ml passion fruit puree
  • Half passion fruit to garnish


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Measure Smirnoff Vodka and other cocktail ingredients in a jigger.
  3. Pour into a cocktail shaker and shake until cold.
  4. Double strain into a cold martini glass.
  5. Garnish with half passion fruit.

Uniting through heritage and culture to music. A drink of choice connects everyone if something with a kick or a twist picks one fancy.

To purchase a bottle of the limited edition Smirnoff x Gorillaz bottle, and find out more please visit amazon.co.uk here.

To find out more about the Amarula Gin please visit www.amazon.co.uk here.

If you enjoyed reading Elephants and Gorillaz Here why not try reading Spice of the Season here.

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