I was thrilled that my May Craft Gin Club box arrived before April was even over. As a result, I’ve pretty much finished this month’s bottle at the time of writing. May’s box was probably one of my favourites so far – admittedly, I wasn’t a huge fan of the cocktail or the snack offerings, but the reason I loved this month’s offerings was because it featured such a delicious gin paired with a wonderfully light and refreshing tonic. This month’s gin was a bespoke creation made for Craft Gin Club members, made with homegrown botanicals and having community and charity at its heart, created at the award-winning Brindle Distillery in Lancashire.
Disclaimer: I am not an affiliate for Craft Gin Club, and have not been compensated in any way for this post. My gin subscription is ordered and paid for out of my own money and all opinions are my own.
What’s in the Box?
Cuckoo Solace Craft Gin Club Special Edition
Marlish English Tonic Water
Purely Plantain Chips – Sea Salt
Pedrino Ruby & Tonic Spritz
Mallow & Marsh Double Chocolate Marshmallow Bar
Thatchers Haze Cider
Sunbites Roasted Onion & Turmeric
Cuckoo Bird Cocktail Syrup
Juniper and Lemon Garnish
Cuckoo Solace Craft Gin Club Special Edition
The first thing I noticed about this gin was the gorgeous colour of the bottle – which, I later found out, has a special meaning behind it – it’s a beautiful shade of blue and as soon as I’m finished with it, it will be added to my collection. The Cuckoo Solace Gin is created especially for Craft Gin Club members, and comes from the Brindle Distillery in Lancashire. The gin is largely juniper based and is made by three different types of olive, as well as combining fragrant herbs such as basil and rosemary, and punchy citrus flavours of lemon, lime and grapefruit. The result is this delicious light and savoury gin with a refreshing Mediterranean flavour. I loved it! The Ginned! Magazine that comes with each month’s box also goes into the background of the gin and the story behind the distilleries that create them, and this is where I discovered the meaning behind the gorgeous bottle. The Brindle Distillery was manned by Gerard and Cath Singleton, along with their son-in-law, Mark, who also serves as director and master distiller. In 2018, Mark’s wife, Liz, was diagnosed with cervical cancer following a routine cervical screening. Thankfully, life saving surgery meant that she made a full recovery, and the couple wanted to give something back to everyone that supported them during such a tough period. It was from there, they created the Cuckoo Solace Gin, the definition of solace being “comfort in the time of distress.” They launched the gin in 2019 at a charity event, which raised a whopping £26,000 for Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust. They chose the Solace Gin for this month’s Craft Gin Club box in order to highlight the important work that Jo’s Trust do, highlighting the importance of early detection, ultimately saving lives in the process. In addition, to support the cause and raise awareness, Craft Gin Club stated they would be donating £10k to Jo’s Trust. So, not only does the Cuckoo Solace Gin taste and smell AMAZING, it also supports an incredibly important cause. I think that’s a win in my book.
For more information on Jo’s Trust and their work, you can visit their website https://www.jostrust.org.uk/.
Marlish English Tonic Water
I’d never heard of Marlish Tonic Water before, but it was definitely one I’ll be keeping an eye out for. This sugar free mixer is made by a small business based on a farm in Northumberland, and they’re passionate about sustainability and working with the local community. The water they use is sourced from spring water found in the hills that surround the farm, taking over 150 years to filter, and the result is this wonderfully clean and refreshing mixer that pairs perfectly with the Cuckoo Solace Gin. I sometimes find that certain types of tonic water can be a bit too sweet, but with this one that wasn’t the case – it was really light which meant that the flavours of the gin really came out. I was a bit gutted they only sent me two bottles to be honest!
We all know by now that I have a love-hate relationship with the snacks that come in each month’s box. This month, again, was no different. The Sunbites would have been something I’d have eaten if they were more of a basic flavour – onion and turmeric just sounded like it’d be something that would repeat on me for days afterwards. In addition, while the sound of the Mallow & Marsh chocolate bar would probably be something quite nice for people with a sweet tooth (chocolate and marshmallow is a dream, right?), I have very vivid memories of eating a Wagon Wheel as a child while staying at my Dad’s and his poor carpet enduring the consequences later that evening. I genuinely haven’t eaten one since. I know there’s probably a difference in quality here, but even so, marshmallow and chocolate is a combination I have never gone near since that fateful night. However, one pleasant surprise was the Purely Plantain Chips. I haven’t really eaten plantain all that much, and I wasn’t particularly keen on eating these, but as per usual, I was pissed and wanted a snack. They were actually pretty good! I was sent the lightly salted flavour (and of course, when you’re hammered, you just want ALL the salt), and I really enjoyed them – you had the hint of sweetness from the plantain, but the salt really balanced the flavour and they felt like a thicker, more substantial version of crisps. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed one of the other flavours, but the lighted salted variety was definitely something I’d have a go on in the future. As for the can of Thatchers Haze…it was a bit disappointing. I haven’t drank “normal” cider since 2009 following an unfortunate incident involving six cans of Strongbow and my friend Shirley’s staircase – something which is still brought up to this day. My point is, I’m not touching a can of Thatchers. It’s in the fridge should any guest like to consume it in the future.
The Cocktail: The Cuckoo Bird
This month’s cocktail combined the gin, syrup and Pedrino Ruby & Tonic Spritz to create a refreshing summer drink. Initially, I wasn’t sure about the Pedrino Spritz because it combines port and tonic water (do I look like someone that drinks port?), however, when combined with the syrup and the gin, it wasn’t too bad. The cocktail overall was drinkable, and it had a light fruity flavour, but I don’t think the Perdrino Spritz was for me, so overall, it wasn’t my favourite.
While I wasn’t especially keen on the cocktail recipe or the snacks for this month, the gin and tonic pairing is what sold me on this month’s box. The Cuckoo Solace Gin was gorgeous and I really loved the tonic they’d selected to go with it. I especially love the story behind the gin and how the distillers created it to raise awareness of cervical cancer, the teal blue of the bottle reflecting the colour of the awareness ribbon. I’ve mentioned on my blog before the importance of attending your cervical screening, and I’m always more than happy to endorse something that helps to raise awareness of cervical cancer – so a GIN that does it is right up my street. As I said to Liam, it’s not every day you can drink gin AND support a good cause, so this is something I’m totally on board with.