The rise and rise of the gin subscription service has continued unabated in 2017 (as I predicted last year); Flavourly, better known as a craft beer club, are among the latest converts to the many and varied delights of gin. And, following in the footsteps of Craft Gin Club and The Juniper Club, we’ve also seen more companies take on the full-sized gin subscription market with the launch of One Time Gin, The Spirits Society and GIN GIN.
With the market becoming more crowded by the month, every brand is looking for a certain something to make them stand out, and to fulfil that particular need, the folk at GIN GIN have turned to the services of Mr Gintastic! Rather like The Stig from Top Gear, the identity of Mr Gintastic is intended to remain a well-kept secret but, having spent over 20 years travelling the globe in search of the perfect cocktail, he is well placed to live up to the honour, privilege and responsibility of sourcing the finest small batch, craft gins for GIN GIN members. Little more can be said about Mr Gintastic at the time of writing but it’s clear that GIN GIN plan to have rather a lot of fun with this character.
“Some say he has junipers for eyes and elderflower for hair. Some say he is a retired accountant from Slough.”
Fun certainly seems to be at the heart of this venture – alongside excellent gin, of course – so you can leave any stuffy pretensions at the door. Offering a similar package to that of Craft Gin Club, GIN GIN members will receive one full-sized bottle of gin (generally 70cl) plus a selection of snacks and other goodies. I received the January box which included a boxed bottle of Gold Medal award-winning Anno Kent Dry Gin, a tempting packet of gin sweets, a bizarre packet of Beef and Mustard Brannigan’s Crisps, and a specially blended, jolly intriguing, ‘Ginfusion’.
Mr Gintastic certainly earned his keep, as far as I was concerned, by sourcing a bottle I didn’t already own in my ever-expending collection. And, by accident or design, it arrived chilled to perfection too. But why the Brannigan’s?! “Well, why not?” is the answer. And “fair enough”, I say. Tom at GIN GIN loves them, as does my husband, so who am I to argue?
“For us, it’s all about the fun and enjoyment and randomness fits snugly into this category.”
Equally fun was the Ginfusion; a small sachet containing a seasonal special of dried orange, winter berries and a cinnamon stick to be placed in the enclosed filter straining bag and left to infuse the gin for five minutes before serving with tonic. Technically, I think the Ginfusion was meant to be removed before serving but I returned it to the glass as a garnish and enjoyed nibbling on the berries when I’d finished my drink! I really love the Ginfusion; it’s light-hearted and experimental and it encourages you to approach your new gin in a different way. I found the orange, berries and cinnamon added a lovely little warming spiciness and subtle sweetness to the Anno Gin.
GIN GIN also, wisely, provide some product information and more traditional serving suggestions for their gin of the month to help you get to grips with it. I’m not one to drink neat gin terribly often, as suggested with Anno, but I must say that this Kent Gin, made with local elderflower, rose hips and sweet aromatic hops, makes a most excellent gin and tonic. I look forward to trying it with the recommended samphire too.
Rather cleverly and, I think, unlike its rivals, GIN GIN members pay a fixed amount every month and then receive their gin delivery every one, two or three months. Platinum members receive 12 boxes a year for £37 a month, which works out at better value than Craft Gin Club and is only marginally more expensive than The Juniper Club, who offer “just gin” with no extra goodies. Gold members pay £21 a month for a box every two months and silver members pay £15 a month for a box every quarter. Obviously the fewer boxes you sign up for, the more you pay, with a silver membership equating to £45 a delivery. This may, understandably, sound a lot but it is worth bearing in mind that the miniature gin subscription services usually cost about £5 per 5cl which equates to £70 for a full-sized bottle. Suddenly this doesn’t look like bad value at all, and it is also possible to make a one-off purchase for just £40 if you don’t want, or need, to split your payments up over a longer period.
GIN GIN are offering a great, fun product at a competitive price for those who can afford it, while also offering decent value for money to those who want to join in the fun on a lesser budget. Ginclusion is really what it’s all about for me, so I’ll certainly drink to that! Gin Gin!
With thanks to GIN GIN for their complimentary box.