As a kid, I can remember hearing cuckoos from our garden. They were rare, but every so often, you’d heard the distinctive call across the fields, signalling spring.
Then we moved to Manchester and that soft call switched over to the gentle cackle of the Magpie.
Cuckoo Gin is named not just after the bird, but after a legend local to it’s distillery. The villagers of Brindle knew the cuckoo’s call heralded the coming of spring. Being a superstitious lot a plan was hatched to keep the spring and coming summer all year round. If the cuckoo heralded spring, just keep the cuckoo in the village all year round.
On hearing it’s call one spring morning, the villagers built a wall around the site the cuckoo was nesting in.
Sadly, their plan failed. The wall wasn’t quite tall enough and it’s said the bird flew away, and villagers are sometimes still called ‘Brindle Cuckoos’.
The distillery (and indeed the gin) is the latest project from the Singleton family of Holmes Farm who, along with their still Maggie produce the gin in small batches, using ingredients either found on the farm, sourced locally or in the case of some botanicals (such as citrus) is from sustainable sources.
Nothing goes to waste. The water used in distillation is from their own natural aquifer, the waste products go to feed the animals on the farm, straw from the barley used to create the spirit is used in animal bedding and Maggie is heated using biomass.
Anyone else curious to know if the botanicals have an effect on the flavour of the meat. Anyone?
Sustainable, ethical, and it has a pretty background story. But what’s the gin like?
There are 16 botanicals used to create Cuckoo Gin – including juniper, coriander, grapefruit peel, orange peel, oats, almonds, cardamom, chamomile and cinnamon.
I went in neat first. On the nose, there’s citrus, angelica, juniper – lots of coriander and the softer notes of citrus, then follows a waft of grassiness.
On the palate, it’s more a citrus heavy gin for me – but for that, not distinctly one citrus. It’s more layered, with the elements of lemon, coriander and green notes wafting in and out. Despite others describing it at juniper heavy, I would say it’s lighter on the juniper than most.
It’s also incredibly smooth. It’s nice in a G&T – very light, refreshing, but it loses a certain something. Tonic, even a light one, means you lose some of the more interesting layers.
Cuckoo is perfect as an introductory gin, and for a light, summery G&T. But I’d be far, far more likely to sip this neat, or enjoy it in a Martini.
I can’t wait to see what they create next.