This might sound as though I’m casting shade, but since my husband stopped drinking – and my best friend got pregnant – I’ve all but stopped drinking at home.
You see, when you’re a spirits drinker it’s not as simple as having a few beers in the fridge, or a bottle of wine waiting on the rack. You need the right mixers, and the right garnishes… if you want to do it right, anyway. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve opened a bottle of tonic and prepared the perfect G&T, only for the rest of the bottle to go to waste because it’s a Wednesday night and one is enough.
ILoveGin might just have changed all that.
Now, you don’t need me to tell you that we are increasingly becoming a nation of gin drinkers here in the UK, with sales of the spirit more than tripling in the past 10 years. You probably don’t even need me to introduce you to the concept of a gin subscription box, as if your Facebook behaviour is anything like mine the algorithm has probably tried to sell you more than a few in your time. But what sets ILoveGin apart is their expertise (working with some of the best lesser-known gin producers); and the sense of community (connecting UK-based gin lovers and offering discounts off your favourites from their monthly discovery box).
Every month, ILoveGin sends subscribers two new gins with perfectly-paired mixers, tasting notes and a £5 voucher to put towards a full-sized bottle from their online bottle shop packed with recent finds. The contents are enough to make four delicious gin and tonics – or, if you’re like my mum and I, a double each (whoops).
The box I received contained two English gins, both completely new to me: Silent Pool, and Slingsby Rhubarb Gin. Silent Pool is named for a spring-fed lake at the foot of the North Downs in Surrey, on the banks of which is the distillers from which the gin is made with spring water drawn from the lake itself. Inspired by local rural landscape, Silent Pool uses a total of 24 botanicals, many of which are collected locally: elderflower, chamomile, pear, lavender and honey all feature. The strikingly gorgeous full-sized bottle includes illustrations of the botanicals, as well as two characters from the legend of the Silent Pool: an evil knight, and the woodcutter’s daughter he drove into the water to her death.
Harrogate-based Slingsby Gin has been producing gin since 2015, with a London Dry and Navy Strength varieties in their stable. Originally planned as an experimental limited edition, their rhubarb gin proved so popular that it has now become a permanent part of the range. The rhubarb is sourced from Oldroyd’s Farm in Wakefield, Yorkshire (apparently Yorkshire is famed for its “rhubarb triangle”) and distilled in its own still, before being added to the Slingsby London Dry to create a deliciously tart, properly unique spirit.
Each ILoveGin box showcases a premium mixer brand, with the likes of Bottlegreen, Lixir and Fever Tree all featuring in past boxes. This box contained two bottles of Fentiman’s: the Connoisseurs’ Tonic, intended for mixing with the Silent Pool; and the Rose Lemonade, which added a delightful fizzy sweetness to the Slingsby.
I may not be able to tell the difference between different red wines, or beers, but as I’ve become more of a connoisseur of gin I’ve loved learning how it becomes a whole different drink when mixed with a tonic or a garnish that properly compliments the botanicals. That said, ILoveGin encourages experimentation – so hopefully I won’t be judged for sticking with the traditional lemon in my mum’s Silent Pool and tonic, instead of the recommended orange peel, or for forgetting to pick up some raspberries for mine.
My favourite thing about ILoveGin’s subscription model? Regardless of when you sign up in any given month, you won’t have to wait long for your first box to arrive: they’ll send you a past box immediately, and then you’ll get your next box with everybody else at the end of the month. There’s also an option to double up, so you can share your discoveries with a friend, for an additional £10 a month.
And yes, since it’s getting to be that time of year, I should probably point out that ILoveGin has gift memberships available too – along with a well-stocked online shop packed with gifts for curious gin lovers, including mugs, bags, gift sets and chocolates.
ILoveGin boxes cost just £14 a month, including postage, but if you fancy £5 off your first box – that’s four G&Ts for just £9 – use code 4for9 at checkout.
What’s your favourite twist on a G&T?
This post contains PR samples, but all views are my own and unbiased.