It’s time for the first Craft Gin Club review of 2022! I’ve now been a member of Craft Gin Club for two years, and while I’ve enjoyed some gins more than others, I have zero regrets. In all honesty, there hasn’t been a single gin that I’ve disliked, and I’ve also discovered some new favourites, so all in all, I’d say it’s been money well spent. Anyway, January’s gin comes all the way from the Sóng Cái Distillery in Hanoi, Vietnam, combining a selection of unique botanicals that capture the essence and culture of the country, and I’ll be honest, it’s an absolute delight.
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?
Sóng Cái Vietnam Dry Gin
Artisan Yuzu Tokyo Tonic
Artisan Fiery Ginger Beer
Aqua Libra Sparkling Water
Native Sweet Chilli Prawn Crackers
Woolf Bites Crafty Cocoa
The Coconut Collaborative Chocolate Little Pots
Olly’s Pretzel Thins Sweet Chilli
New Moon Cocktail Syrup
Sóng Cái Vietnam Dry Gin
Craft Gin Club promises a truly unique gin for their first box of 2022, and that comes in the form of Sóng Cái Vietnam Dry Gin, distilled with botanicals foraged from the mountains of Vietnam. What’s first recognisable about the gin is the beautiful bottle it comes in, with a vibrant and colourful label that instantly means the bottle will become a fixture in my collection. Distilled in Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi, it combines unique botanicals to truly capture the city’s culture. Alongside an array of refreshing citrus notes from pomelo peel, there’s also a sweet blend of Mác Mát berries, combined with subtle notes of ginger, black peppercorn, and turmeric for an extra dash of spice.
I really enjoyed this month’s gin – it had just the right amount of citrus and spice, and I loved the warming finish it leaves. It’s certainly got a unique flavour to it, but it’s one of those things you can’t quite put your finger on. I’ve tried it with a few different kinds of tonic and each time, it’s been really lovely. I’ve found it works especially well with Fever Tree Mediterranean!
Artisan Yuzu Tokyo Tonic
Artisan Tonic is something that’s featured quite a few times in Craft Gin Club’s offerings, and it’s been one that I’ve enjoyed each time, although their Yuzu tonic wasn’t one I’ve tried before. Turns out it was actually a limited edition launched in conjunction with Sóng Cái Distillery to pair with this month’s gin. Combining fresh citrus notes of yuzu with punchy cracked back pepper, it works so well with the Sóng Cái Gin and really brings out the flavours. It’s something different from your usual flavoured tonics, and I would definitely be up for buying more of it in the future.
There was an interesting selection of snacks in this month’s box, and I have to start with the Native sweet chilli prawn crackers which were bloody AMAZING. I love prawn crackers at the best of times and didn’t really think the sweet chilli was necessary, but actually, it made them so much better. It gave them an extra kick, but at the same time, they were so light that I literally could have polished off the whole bag. Unfortunately, things weren’t all that great after that – while I didn’t mind the Aqua Libra sparkling water, the raspberry and blackcurrant flavour was quite bitter, and I was getting more of the nasty taste you get with sparkling water rather than the fruit flavours it promised. Maybe it would have been better if I paired it with the gin. I intend to try the pretzels at some point, but they’re not exactly a flavour I’d choose so it may very well end up being a drunk snack or going in the bag of snacks for guests we hardly ever have.
The Cocktail: New Moon
This month’s cocktail combined the Sóng Cái Vietnam gin with the Artisan ginger beer and New Moon syrup, and the end result was a light and fragrant cocktail that certainly had a bit of a kick. The citrus notes of the gin paired really well with the ginger beer, and the cocktail syrup also had a hint of lime which added a touch of freshness. I found the ginger bear was pretty spicy, so it added a fair bit of warmth to the cocktail. While I didn’t mind the cocktail, it wasn’t my favourite and I feel as though the ginger beer was a little overpowering. Still, I think it was a really good combination and brought out the gin flavours really well.
January’s gin was an excellent start to 2022, and it certainly had an array of unique flavours to it. It paired beautifully with the yuzu tonic and had a delicate balance of citrus and spiced flavours, and I always judge how good the gin is by how quickly I get through it – I’m currently writing this on the 24th January, and it’s nearly all gone. On the snacks front, I wasn’t overly impressed with the offerings but I’m willing to forgive and forget given that the prawn crackers were bloody amazing. Cocktail wise, again, not my favourite, but I appreciated the mix of flavours and how they paired with the gin – it just wasn’t for me unfortunately.