Little girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice. But statistics show that approximately 19.4 million women aged 15 years and older live at-risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
The Gin Box contributed to #breastcancerawarenessmonth with their limited edition bright pink gin goodie box, which I couldn’t wait to get my hands on! I’m just sad I only heard of it almost at the end of the month, but alas, rather late than never…
I support Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. And every other month, day and hour. Cancer hits when you least expect it; it hits hard and fierce, bringing those affected to their knees. It hits close to home and leaves many families devastated at the loss of loved ones. But there are survivors and feel-good stories, too, and, without forgetting the ones who we’ve lost to breast cancer, we also want to celebrate the survivors of this dreaded illness.
Who’s behind The Gin Box?
The Gin Box crossed my social media channels a while ago, probably because I spend a lot of time googling craft gins produced in the Western Cape. And when I say a lot of time, I mean exactly that – a large percentage of my free time! I love everything about gin; the timelessness of the combination, the exciting revival gin has recently undergone, the quiet, acquired taste it demands, the endless flavour combinations, the promises of summer you can taste in every sip.
I’m particularly supportive of locally crafted gins, who draw inspiration from our diverse South African landscape for their infusions, labelling and brand. Gin is no longer an “old man’s drink” – instead, it’s becoming trendy, exciting, classy and diverse in it’s own right.
Every month, The Gin Box select one of South Africa’s finest small-batch craft gins, often exclusive bottles not available elsewhere, and send it to their members along with a range of handpicked, quality products that complement the showcased gin of the month along with the accompanying tasting notes from the distiller. They have different pricing options too, which you can choose from on their website.
Needless to say, I was super excited coming across South Africa’s first craft gin club, and even more so when I saw that all proceeds for this limited-edition box goes to three charities offering age-appropriate support and resources for women with breast cancer to make their journey a little bit easier. These charities are The Pink Drive, Breast Health Foundation and Reach for Recovery. I will link all their social media handles at the end of the blog post.
So without further ado, let’s see what’s in the box….
I purchased my pink gin box from their website directly for R250 plus a courier fee. It was promptly delivered to my house within a couple of days. It came in the most beautifully candy-striped pink and white box with their signature labelling on the top of the lid. I just couldn’t wait to unbox it, but I was super careful not to tear anything, as it was all so pretty!
It was a sugar and spice moment when I lifted the lid. There, cradled in Barbie pink shredded tissue paper, was a selection of the most delicious goodies, most of them hand-picked and locally sourced.
The stars of the show, of course, was the 50ml Musgrave Pink Gin and the can of Fitch & Leedes Pink Tonic. The supporting acts included Sweet Temptations Turkish Delight Toffee, Ouhuis Rooibos Tea (vanilla and chamomile), Sperlari alla Frutta nougat, Gingerbon sweeties, yoghurt covered pretzel sticks and a beautiful booklet of comprehensive distillers’ notes.
The Musgrave pink gin is a flower garden in full bloom. It begs you to take a walk through the beds of aromatic rose bushes, inhaling the sweet scent of rosewater, with only a touch of spice as a sugar-coated afterthought. Musgrave’s pink gin is definitely softer, more feminine, than your traditional gin, without losing the signature scent and taste of this unique drink. The colour is a beautifully clear pastel pink which pays homage to the scented oils and rosewater that it has been infused with. It’s perfect to newcomers to the gin scene, and will very quickly break through all the stereotypes around the bitterness and dryness of gins of the past.
Fitch and Leedes also came to the party with their pink sparkling rose and cucumber tonic. Launched earlier this year, it’s a newcomer to the tonic scene and what a refreshing sight, indeed! I’m totally in love with the bold black and pink packaging. I can drink cans of this pink tonic on its own; it’s bubbly and pink and happy, with a subtle cucumber hint at the end. It’s gorgeously delicious and perfect for hot summer days.
Mixing it up
I was quite excited to introduce my Musgrave Pink Gin to its new partner in crime, the pink tonic. Pink and pink can only equal hedonistic indulgence, right?!
I make up my own cocktails. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. I know all the classic combinations, but I love experimenting with new flavour profiles. So, I call this invention the “Perky Pink,” in honour of breast cancer survivors and those who have walked the long road to recovery with them.
I started off with a brandy balloon glass (the bigger, the better, right?). You can use any glass you like; a red wine glass, whiskey tumbler or even a stemless wine glass. A beautifully textured highball glass would also look fabulous, although a gin glass is usually bulbous in shape. The small opening at the top of a gin glass traps the aromatics of the spirit in the glass for a sharper gin taste, but the round bottom allows for plenty of ice and other lovelies to be added to the drink. The round bowl-shape of the glass is also said to stop the ice from melting as quickly and thereby diluting your drink.
I then added a block of ice and a wedge of grapefruit, as I thought the slight bitterness of the fruit would complement the subtlety of the cucumber and rose flavours perfectly. I added a shot (and a bit!) of the beautifully aromatic Musgrave’s pink gin and topped it all off with the Fitch & Leedes pink tonic. For that extra bit of happy vibes, I completed the look with a spiral of cucumber and baby mint leaves from my garden for that little something-something.
It was beautiful. It spoke of floral femininity, of pink happiness and of gratefulness for this fragile adventure called life.
I took a moment to think back to my mom’s rocky road to recovery after her breast cancer diagnosis way back when I was only 12. I thought about how hard she fought, how difficult it was for us all to accept, how devastating the impact was, how scared she must’ve been. How grueling the treatments were and how many tears we cried together. But she is a survivor, and came out the other side a changed person; stronger; both mentally and physically.
So, I want to raise a glass to all the women we have lost to breast cancer. To all the families whose lives were completely up-heaved and destroyed by this terrifying illness. To remember. To celebrate.
And I want to raise a glass to all the women who managed to clamber over this difficult hurdle put in their paths. Because they are the true heroes that walk among us every day. The ones who had to stay strong for their families, the ones who smile even though they are falling apart inside, the ones who didn’t sleep at night, but watched their family sleep peacefully instead.
Cheers. To life and to living.
The charities supported by sales of this limited-edition box from The Gin Box:
Pink Drive: on Twitter at @ThePinkDrive or Facebook at ThePinkDrive.
Breast Health Foundation: Twitter at @BFLmagazine or Facebook at BreastHealthFoundation.
Reach for Recovery: Facebook at Reach4RecoverySA
You can buy yours here (currently out of stock on the date of publication).