Ah, Lockdown 2.0. It wasn’t entirely unexpected, and yet – and I don’t know about you, but – it hit me like a bolt from the blue. I had started to find an uneasy comfort in our new post-lockdown life. Things were not, in any sense of the word, ‘normal’, but they had started to at least feel enjoyable again. I’ve never had too much of a problem with wearing masks. I was back at work and in the office in Birmingham once a week, meaning I saw actual, real, live people and had the luxury of the odd ‘proper’ coffee and a trip to the shops on my lunchbreak. We were able to eat out again – and I have to say I always felt so safe doing so, far safer than in my local supermarket – and spend long, lazy afternoons in beer gardens, where it was perfectly legal to meet up with friends and catch up on the months we’d all just lost. The weather was kind to us, and it was all BBQs in the garden and day long dog walks that just happened to start or end at a pub. I was even getting to see my parents once a week again, even though it was only for a brief moment dropping off and picking up Bailey around work. Some days Covid almost felt like a distant memory, until you realised you were accidentally encroching on some poor unsuspecting stranger’s personal space while queuing up for the hand sanitizer! We felt so comfortable, in fact, with this new ‘normal’ that we decided to book a holiday. Nothing crazy – we were late to the party really, as it seems the world and thier wife ran out to buy tickets to Lanzarote the second they could do so, but we decided to err on the side of caution, wait a few months and book a cosy cottage getaway with friends in Wales at the start of November. ‘What could go wrong?’ we thought! Yes, the most famous last words of all.
Things started to go down hill not long after we’d booked. First came ‘the rule of 6’, though we were safe with that one – or so we thought – despite being a party of 7 as children under school age were not included in Wales. Then came the Tier system, but as the cities around us slowly crept into High Risk status, we managed to escape harsher restrictions thanks to our countryside dwelling. But then came the news we were half anticipating, half in denial about – just a week before we were due to set off, Wales announced they would be completely locking down for 2 weeks, and our holiday plans bit the dust. Pants. ‘Never mind!’ we cried, full of foolish optimism. ‘We will still have a holiday! A holiday at home!’ and we set about booking all kinds of fun trips out and about. Then came the Tier Two announcement – we were being moved up a level, not because of our own infection rates, but because of our proximity to areas not coping so well. But most of those plans could still happen, they just became more complicated. So we perservered. Then, finally, on the very first day of that holiday from home, we watched Boris announce that once again, we would be heading into a lockdown situation. All household mixing would be banned and most of the locations of those fun plans would have to close. Double pants. We managed to squeeze a few days of fun in before our stint indoors began, but determined to see our holiday through to the bitter end, we had to get really creative about how we would now have fun together, and that’s how we came to find ourselves partaking in Pinkster Gin’s Home Tasting Experience!
I’d floated the idea of a virtual gin tasting early doors when the Tier Two announcement came and everyone was on board, so it was more a matter of who we’d go with that whether or not we’d give it a go. There were an awful lot of virtual tasting experiences popping up almost as soon as the second lockdown was announced, but with a teething toddler in our household, and a 3 year old and a 10 month old in the other, the start times almost always seemed to clash with bedtimes and even when they didn’t we both worried that a bad sleep night for the little ones might mean some of us would have to abandon ship and miss out. Luckily I came across Pinkster’s offering – a kit delivered to your home along with a link to a pre-recorded tasting session to enjoy at your leisure! Not only that, but compared to others on the market we thought it was fantastic value at £30 per couple. It was perfect! So without further ado, we ordered our kits and planned a very flexible gin tasting!
What You Get
For your £30 (plus £6.95 delivery, though this is free for orders over £40 so if you’re ordering more than one kit as we did it won’t apply) you get plenty of delicious treats for you and your chosen gin buddy to sample. The kit contains the following:
5cl Pinkster Gin
5cl Pinkster Royale
5cl Pinkster Gimlet (pre-mixed cocktail)
5cl Hedgepig Wild Bullace and Quince
5cl Triple Distilled Gin (the base gin for Pinkster)
200ml Fever-Tree Indian Tonic
200ml Fever-Tree Ginger Ale
200ml Fever-Tree Aromatic Tonic
A few sachets of our Gin Jam Cocktail Mix and a jar of our mini Gin Jam.
All you need to provide is glassware, ice and garnishes, all of which is helpfully liste on the tasting sheets you get in your pack.
How it Works
After your kit has arrived (it states it may take up to 5 days for delivery, but ours arrived within 3) the rest is up to you! The link to the tutorial, hosted by Pinkster’s founder Stephen, is available whenever you want to take part and we chose to host via Teams and share the screen so both households could watch at the same time. Over the course of the 50 minute video, Stephen talked us through a bit of the history of Pinkster and how it came to be before taking us through each of the gins and how best to enjoy them. Couldn’t be easier! We found it helped to be set up in advance with your ice and garnishes, though as it could be paused as and when needed this doesn’t really matter.
Top marks from this gin fan! Let’s start with the gin – while it’s infused with fresh raspberries, Pinkster is not an overly sweet gin. The fruity flavour is there for sure, but it’s a lovely subtle taste and I’d challenge even the most old school of gin drinkers not to enjoy it. The other offerings we tried were equally dellcious, and we loved the pairings Stephen suggested. We also learnt a lot about the Brand and how their gin is produced. My favourite fact of the night was that nothing is wasted in the making of Pinkster – the berries used to infuse the gin go on to become Boozy Berries and Gin Jam, and even the liquid left from making those is used to produce Pinkster Royale, a delicious liqueur that is perfect for adding to Prosecco! The tutorial itself was fantastic, really casual and relaxed, almost like being treated to a one to one session in his own home, and we loved that we were able to pause and chat with our friends as we went along. There was plenty of gin to last us the evening, in fact we even had a little left over to enjoy on another night, as well as the extra treats like the Gin Jam Cocktail Mix sachets, so we really felt like we got our moneys worth. Best of all, it was a really fun evening with friends that was much needed. I’m not the biggest fan of Zoom calls, as necessary as they are right now if you want to see the faces of those you miss, but this really heped it to feel like an occasion and I enjoyed it ALMOST as much as much as if we’d left the house! Dan and I are real food and drink lovers and it’s been really tough not being able to partake in our usual social activities so if felt really good to be able to share our passion with friends again and do something a little different to the normal quizzes and catch ups of 2020! I enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I’ve been feverishly investigating every other virtual tasting I come across, which is just as well as we’ve since been upgraded to Tier 3… Bring on more gin sampling, I say, it may just make those nights in that little bit more bearable!
If you fancy partaking yourself, or maybe think it would make a great Christmas gift for a gin lover in your life, you can order your kits and many other delicious treats here.